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Rising D.C. United star Andy Najar; Get used to hearing about him

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D.C. United's Andy Najar (left) is eligible to play for Honduras now ... but may be able to play for the United States soon.
D.C. United's Andy Najar (left) is eligible to play for Honduras now ... but may be able to play for the United States soon.

If you haven’t seen Andy Najar play, do yourself a favor and check out a D.C. United match soon.

Then, lift your gaze to the sky, say a little prayer to your maker and hope against hope that things goes right, that mistakes of the past aren’t repeated and that this young, dynamic attacker lands in a U.S. shirt someday. Because that hasn’t always been the case in the past, and it’s far less than a slam dunk on this one.

I’m looking at you Giuseppe Rossi.

Quick Rossi primer before we go back to the evocative Najar: Rossi was born in the United States and grew up in the United States (New Jersey) until age 13. He then moved to Italy, soon joined Manchester United and now plays for Villareal in Spain. He debuted with Italy in 2008. (We can debate the opportunism of preferring to play for Italy over the United States later.)

Along the way U.S. Soccer did approach Rossi. Depending on whom you believe, mistakes may have been made by U.S. Soccer and / or Bruce Arena in the manner and tenor of the approach. Again, that’s a different debate better left for another time. At some point, it’s water under the bridge.

(Although I will say this: Rossi was left off the Italian World Cup team. Don’t you think he had some second thoughts as he watched the United States move into the second round? And there can be little doubt that Rossi would have not only been named to the 23-man squad, but probably would have started, too.)

Now back to Najar. (Click forth to hear about this kid ...)

 He was born in Honduras but he has lived here for four years. D.C. United officials told me last week that Najar is a U.S. resident as a green card holder, which means he can apply for citizenship at some point in the future. That, of course, would make him eligible to play for the United States.

Honduras will also want him. So, there’s a tussle ahead.

As sure as I sit here, Najar has something. I’ve seen him about 10 times now. He usually plays along the right side, and in some of those games Najar truly looked like the only player in a United uniform capable of scoring.

He’s fast, creative, confident and willing to work hard. He’s not afraid to chase down a lost cause, which isn’t always the case with dynamic young attackers. And despite being a small guy, he’s willing to throw his body around. Najar scored his third goal in 14 D.C. United appearances yesterday, and did so with his head off a corner kick.

Afterward (United lost at home to league-leading Los Angeles) coach Curt Onalfo declared that Najar may be the best player on the team at the moment. He also noted that such a declaration may not say great things about his team – and he hit the center of the target on that one. United is one bedraggled lot.

But it also says something about young Najar. Let’s hope U.S. Soccer has noticed and will start finding the best way to fold this guy into the system at the earliest possible date – because I’m sure Honduras is making plans for him, too.