After beginning his career way back in the 90’s with D.C. United, Carey Talley has endured a journeyman-like career, moving from team to team within MLS. But after he recent release from Chivas USA, Talley is back at home, playing for the Black-and-Red once again.Tennessee native Carey Talley broke into MLS in 1998 after being drafted by D.C. United, and enjoyed a successful four year stint with the club from the nation’s capital. But before the 2002 season, he was traded to the Kansas City Wizards, which began a cycle in which he changed clubs every couple of years, playing with Dallas, Real Salt Lake, and lastly, Chivas USA.
Even though he started and played in 27 matches last year for Chivas USA under manager Preki, Talley got the feeling that his release from Chivas was impending with the new manager Martin Vasquez calling the shots.
“They [Coach Vasquez] kept bringing in centerbacks and a lot of defenders, and I could see that they were trying to test guys out,” Talley told Goal.com. “It shouldn’t have been too much of a surprise for me that maybe I wasn’t in their plans. But it ended up being a good move for both sides, I think.”
Talley indicated that Chivas might have been willing to make a trade with United so that Talley could end up back with D.C. this season. That trade did not materialize, however, and in the end, Chivas simply released Talley, making him eligible to sign for any club in MLS.
One of the biggest draws in returning to D.C. was the fact that Talley would be moving closer to his and his wife’s family.
“If it were to come down to having to be a trade, I think they [Chivas USA] would have probably worked something with D.C.,” Talley said. “I’ve got family there, and they knew that, and I was really excited when D.C. came to the table. We have family here, and my wife’s family is here in Northern Virginia.”
In addition to Talley being excited to return home, United likewise was excited to welcome back the veteran to the club.
“We are pleased to welcome Carey back to D.C. United,” General Manager Dave Kasper told dcunited.com. “He will make our back line stronger and better. Carey is in the prime of his career and now playing his best soccer, and we look forward to his addition to our team.”
Talley joined the club and immediately stepped into the starting lineup against Kansas City, despite missing most of the preseason with United while still with Chivas USA. With Curt Onalfo preferring the 4-4-2 formation over United’s usual 3-5-2, Talley partnered Dejan Jakovic at the heart of the defense in the first game of the season. However, a sense of chemistry was missing between the two, as United was pelted for four goals in Kansas City in a thoroughly embarrassing defeat.
Despite the set back against the Wizards, Talley should be an improvement to a backline that was one of the worst statistically last year in MLS. With the change in formation, the extra defender should inevitably help improve the defense that conceded 43 goals in just 30 matches last season, and Talley will play a pivotal role in that, whether he plays centrally or out wide.
In addition to the experience that Talley brings to the side, the 33 year old also believes he brings an extra element to the table that might have been missing the past couple of seasons in D.C., when the club missed out on the playoffs in both 2008 and 2009.
“I think what this team is missing is maybe a little bite,” stated Talley. “I think throughout my career, I’ve shown that I can bring that. And I feel that I bring a sense of organizing out on the field with some of the younger guys. In terms of organizing the guys in front of me, I feel that I can see that pretty quickly.”
United and it’s fans will hope that is the case come Saturday, when United welcomes perennial nemesis New England to RFK for their second match of the season. As for that game, Talley pinpointed one main area where United will need to better New England in order to win the match.
“The reason why they [New England] are always tough to play against is because they work, and they work, and they work,” Talley told Goal.com. “What we have to do, is we’ve got to match their work rate. But you've got to be able to outwork a team that’s going to pull up their sleeves and try to make the game ugly. And we’ve got to be able to do that in return."
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