D.C. United was a major player today on two fronts as Major League Soccer held their Expansion Draft this afternoon. The Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps alternated picking 10 players each to help fill their rosters for their debut seasons in MLS. With the first pick the Timbers selected FC Dallas midfielder Dax McCarty, a surprise omission from MLS Cup runners-up FC Dallas’ protected list. In a shock move McCarty was then shipped to the Nations Capitol for defender Rodney Wallace. United also received allocation money and a fourth-round pick in the upcoming SuperDraft in January.
United defender Jordan Graye was selected 19th overall by the Timbers in the draft and will join Wallace in the Northwest to start the 2011 MLS campaign. Graye made a number of starts in his rookie season with the Black-and-Red and showed good promise. Unfortunately for Graye devastating mistakes also followed the rookie throughout the season and resulted in a number of goals that turned United victories into losses. Wallace only played a handful of matches in his sophomore season with United due to injuries and was probably deemed a luxury item as Jed Zayner came on board with United late in the season and turned in a number of impressive performances.
With United holding the #3 pick in the upcoming SuperDraft and with a number of potentially effective defenders available for selection, United made the move to ship Wallace away. In return United gets a fantastic two-way midfielder in McCarty who was amongst the best players on the field for this past Sunday’s MLS Cup final won by Colorado 2-1 in extra time. McCarty is a very skilled and hard working midfielder who works equally well in both directions. McCarty is also a fantastic free-kick taker in terms of placement.
In recent years United hasn’t exactly been a shining light in terms of getting the best of trades within the league, but this one seems to be a winner for United from the outset. Player for player this would have been a fantastic trade for United, but they also obtained a fourth-round pick and allocation money as well.