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D.C. United signs John Thorrington; looks like a worthwhile move

Jan 21, 2013, 10:27 AM EDT

MLS Whitecaps Real Salt Lake Soccer

John Thorrington has spent a career being so confounding close to greatness. Don’t forget, this was a guy signed by Manchester United at age 17 … about as close to the edge of greatness as a man can get.

When the two-way midfielder was not offered a professional contract at Old Trafford, he moved to Germany, and then to back to England (in the lower tiers) and eventually made his way to Chicago.

With the Fire, Thorrington was frequently a figure who could make a mark on a game, whether by his big effort, his soccer smarts or by a massive goal, like the one in 2007 on the final regular season day that famously kept David Beckham and the Galaxy out of the MLS playoffs.

I’ve always admired and enjoyed watching Thorrington (pictured, left) when he was healthy enough to be a difference-maker – and there’s the rub. This guy’s injury luck is just a little bit better than John O’Brien’s, and that’s not saying much.

Thorrington is 33 now, so even if he could get completely healthy, he may be past the time where he can be a full-time, game-after-game contributing element.

But D.C. United is betting that he can still contribute something, today announcing Thorrington’s signing.

United selected Thorrington during Stage-2 of the re-entry draft process back in December. It’s an interesting signing, especially as he started just 23 league matches over two seasons for Vancouver.

Still, if Ben Olsen can get some leadership, some key minutes here and there and a solid, stabilizing locker room presence, this sure smells like a worthwhile move.

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