D.C. United made three trades in MLS’ four-hour trade window this morning ahead of Wednesday afternoon’s MLS Expansion Draft.
While not as significant as the number or quality of trades made last offseason to bolster United’s roster (don’t worry folks, there are still three months to make moves before the season starts in late February 2015), three minor moves were made to help alleviate roster issues ahead of the Expansion Draft.
Up first was United trading an International Player spot to Orlando City FC for allocation money, followed by the Black-and-Red sending goalkeeper Joe Willis and Ghanaian International midfielder Samuel Inkoom to the Houston Dynamo for Scottish midfielder Andrew Driver and a fourth-round MLS SuperDraft pick in 2016 before closing the trade window with another International Player slot being sent to NYCFC for more allocation money.
The upshot of the deal with Houston is that with Driver, United gets a bona fide wing midfielder with the added bonus that he holds a green card. What is the significance of that? Well, with Inkoom moving on, United is down to only one International player on the roster (Kyle Porter) and thus United does not need to protect any International players for Wednesday’s Expansion Draft according to MLS rules. This means that United can add an additional player to protect to their list of eleven protected players.
A shrewd piece of business on United’s part for sure but it did cost them an intriguing prospect in Inkoom who did well in his limited minutes with United last season.
Additionally, the pair of trades of International Player spots to both expansion teams will rake in some allocation money that United will no doubt put to use paying down some of their expected higher salaries with Eddie Johnson, Bobby Boswell and Sean Franklin all making well above $200,000 dollars next season.
Since United made the bold move of not availing themselves of high-priced International talent last season, what is the harm of giving up two of their six allotted International Player slots when they most likely wouldn’t use them anyway? It certainly worked to help stabilize United and bring them back to prominence in 2014 but do they want to hang their collective hats on that strategy for the near future?
Given their recent history with International signings and subsequent flops, it would seem United are heading in that same direction in 2015 though they would be wary to heed their own historical advice when the club decided to stand pat at the end of 2012 (after their surprising run to the Eastern Conference final).
United is far from done dealing with their roster ahead of what hopefully will be an historic 2015 (stadium deal – fingers crossed!!), but it’s good to see the front office continue to tinker and keep up with the rest of MLS in spite of their apparent allergy to International players.