D.C. United planned to make a splash this week with an introduction and welcome for each of its two latest international signings -- Argentinian forward Pablo Hernandez and Montenegrin playmaker Bronko Boskovic.
But the team's homegrown teenage star continues to hog the spotlight. Andy Najar tallied his second goal of the regular season last weekend with a stunning volley at San Jose. The goal added fuel to the speculation sparked by the World Cup over his international future -- be it with his native Honduras, or, as some would prefer it, the U.S. national team.
One quick point, of course: Najar isn't currently eligible for the U.S. because he is a green card holder, not a citizen. Nevertheless, it's become such a hot topic that United (3-9-2) have essentially instructed him not to talk about it.
"We've sat down with Andy on a number of occasions," United general manager Dave Kasper said, "and told him, 'Focus on D.C. United right now. You have time for that. You're only 17 years old. You have time to make decisions. Just focus on your pro career right now, and we'll go from there.'"
Najar has done just that, with a noticeable leap forward in his consistency in recent practices and games. Just as he avoids thinking about his next steps as a professional, he didn't have any idea that the player he edged out for his game-tying goal last weekend was another former United teenage prodigy, Bobby Convey.
"A lot of people are saying, you're going to the next World Cup," Najar said. "It would be an exciting opportunity, but for now I'm focusing on D.C. United."
All of which suits Major League Soccer just fine. Given Najar's rise through D.C.'s academy system, his youth and his appeal to the Latino soccer audience, he'd make a perfect commissioner's pick for the MLS All-Star Game on July 28 in Houston.
"He's a special player," Kasper said. "He's a guy that has grown tremendously in a short amount of time and has adapted and is now a dangerous player."
For now, that danger will benefit only D.C. United.
"I feel like we keep him grounded," United midfielder Clyde Simms said. "He amazes me. I couldn't imagine being his age and with success he's had. He's done a great job."