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Big decisions ahead for D.C. United and Branko Boskovic

New England Revolution v DC United

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 26: Branko Boskovic #8 of D.C. United and Ryan Guy #13 of the New England Revolution battle for the ball during the first half of a game at RFK Stadium on May 26, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

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This ongoing Branko Boskovic matter is a decision of significant impact for D.C. United, and it apparently will be made within the next week to 10 days.

So says Steven Goff of the Washington Post.

Boskovic is one of three allowable designated salary cap exceptions (DPs) for D.C. United, and his contract is currently up for renewal. “Currently” as in, he’ll either be on a new contract by mid-July or he won’t be with the Eastern Conference leaders.

United GM Dave Kasper told the Post the club hopes to keep Boskovic. But in the MLS world, a base salary that tops $400,000 and overall compensation of closer to $550,000 is a princely sum for a 32-year-old veteran who has started just 5 of 16 matches this year. He has a scant three assists (no goals) to show – numbers that aren’t anything to shout about for an attacking midfielder.

On the other hand, Boskovic has been very effective in spots. United must decide if “in spots” is worth the current contract number. And, as with all these deals, the number in question depends on a second number: the length of contract being request by the player for any new deal.

Complicating all this is an injury that kept Boskovic off the field for most of 2011; his slow bid for full fitness makes everyone wonder if he’ll keep improving, if those spells of effective midfield stewardship (like we saw last weekend in the win over Philadelphia) are still gradually lengthening? If so, he’s clearly worth retaining.

If not, could the money be used to scoop up a veteran defender, one that could push United even closer to potential post-season glory. (Although Ryan Nelsen is now off the RFK wish list.)

Finally, one other complication to the Boskovic calculus: RFK Stadium is a place of abundant, young talent these days. Distribution of minutes is a zero sum game, of course, meaning any time for Boskovic could be time that one of United’s quality young attackers (Nick DeLeon, Andy Najar, Chris Pontius and Danny Cruz) aren’t getting.