D.C. United continued to rebuild its defense with the addition of Mohanad Jeahze, an Iraqi national team left back acquired on a transfer from Swedish club Hammarby.
“Mohanad has proven himself to be one of the best left backs in the Nordics over the last two years and we are delighted to have a player of his quality join D.C. United,” Sporting Director Dave Kasper said in a news release. “Our style of play requires our outside backs to have high energy levels, technical ability, and excellent service in the final third and Mohanad ticks all of these boxes. He will be an excellent complement to our core group as we look to continue building out our roster for 2023.”
After United finished last in 28-team MLS with a 7-21-6 record and conceded a league-high 71 goals, the D.C. front office — led by Kasper and Coach Wayne Rooney following the firing of general manager Lucy Rushton — already had revamped its defense with the acquisitions of American goalkeeper Tyler Miller, Irish center back Derrick Williams and Portuguese left back Pedro Santos before signing Jeahze.
Born and raised in the Swedish city of Linkoping, Jeahze represented Sweden at the youth level but remained eligible to play for Iraq through familial ties and debuted for its national team last year in World Cup qualifying. He has spent his entire professional career in Sweden and played the past three seasons for Hammarby, recording five goals and 19 assists in 89 appearances.
Jeahze will be the expected starter at left back for United. Santos, a 34-year-old signed as a free agent after six seasons with the Columbus Crew, figures to provide depth at the position and in attacking midfield, where he spent most of his career before transitioning to the back line last year.
United last month declined the contract options of left backs Brad Smith, an Australian who suffered a torn ACL in July, and Sami Guediri, a midseason signing from affiliate Loudoun United. Gaoussou Samaké, a 25-year-old left back who made three appearances in MLS play last season, remains under contract.
The club will gather for preseason training next month before traveling to Indio, Calif., to play exhibition matches at the Coachella Valley Invitational in early February. The MLS season is scheduled to begin Feb. 25.