Christian Gomez is back in Black. [link from Behind the Badge, DC United’s official Blog]
I’ve got mixed feelings on this.
The Argentine midfielder was officially acquired today from the Colorado Rapids, along with 23-year old goalkeeper Mike Graczyk, a international roster spot and salary cap considerations. In exchange, United sent Colorado Ivan Guerrero, its second Designated Player roster spot, and a 2010 SuperDraft second round pick.
In addition to Gomez we picked up a goalie we didn’t need, and we sent a very serviceable player in Guerrero, a DP slot, AND a draft pick in exchange. I think Colorado comes out ahead in this trade.
I haven’t read all the reactions yet over at BigSoccer (22 pages of posts and growing), but at a glance it seems the reaction is “Welcome back Christian, but DAMN we gave up a lot”.
Let me start by saying I think getting Christian back is apostive thing, overall. I think he adds some needed goal-scoring, some needed leadership, some needed desire and passion that this team missed last year. But, there are several holes in here too.
First of all, his fitness was never great to begin with. And now he is two years older and barely played at all last year. Will he be in shape? Can he play an effective 90 mins for us? “Just being on the field” isn’t good enough in my opinion. I strongly believe if he plays midfield for us, he is barely going to be able to play 70 mins before passing out. Why do I say that? Because that is where he was 2 years ago and I don’t think his fitness has gotten better in that time. That is part of the reason, I’m sure, why the DC United front office traded him last year. They saw him on the decline and decided to “uprgade” him with Gallardo (yes, I know that didn’t work out well, but that was the plan). Now if the plan is to put him at forward and split time with Moreno (also old) and Emelio, then I’m a very happy camper. However, I don’t think that’s the case. We’ll see.
Secondly, we gave up WAY to much to get him back. Guerrero is a solid player in this league and he gave us a lot of flexibility along the flank. He could play midfield or defense along the left, and play it very well. Now that pretty much means that Burch is our starting left back (downgrade) and Fred is back on the left side of midfield. Fred on the left, in and of itself isn’t too bad, but that means that he will continue to cheat into the middle of the field to his stronger right foot. Which is the same problem we’ve had for years in that opposing defense just funnel us into a congested middle of the field, making us very easy to defend if we have no width. That also doesn’t solve our right mid problem, which right now has Quaranta penciled in. His natural position is as a forward, in the same role that Jaime plays, and anything else is just shortchanging him and the team. With two square pegs in round holes on the flanks and a guy who is going to run out of gas shortly after halftime in the center, I’m not excited by our prospects at midfield.
And finally we gave up another draft pick. This just says to me that the Front Office KNOWS they draft poorly and figure to just give them away rather than use it themselves and have them turn out as busts. This is crazy. This is why we are in the hole we are in now. This is the Redskins effect. The Redskins also draft poorly, and choose instead to trade them away then use them, and look how that is turning out. United is missing out on opportunities to add cheap, young talent. Instead, they spend more money on “experienced” players who in reality may be no more or less able to play, which then leaves them with minimal room at the end of the bench. Which means those guys at the end of the bench really SUCK. United is better off having 10 guys earn $50k per year than one guy earning $250k and 9 guys making $25k (my math is bad, but you get the drift). They haven’t learned this lesson and I have no idea when they will.
I’m glad Gomez is back, but I’m not feeling good about the deal we made to get him.