We're spending the first month or so of the D.C. United offseason grading each player on the roster with an approval rating. A vote for APPROVE means you were satisfied with the player's performance and want to see him back in D.C. next season. A vote for DISAPPROVE means you want United to move on without him. There is no middle ground, so please leave salary and contract implications out of your decision.
D.C. United acquired midfielder Austin da Luz in a trade with the New York Red Bulls for an international roster spot that we weren't going to use anyway, and that our rivals used for either an injured goalkeeper, or a Latino groundskeeper. It was one of the more lopsided trades of the 2011 season.
Or was it? Da Luz played in 14 matches for United and notched only a single assist, without scoring any goals. He was at times a defensive liability for United on the left side of the formation, where his lack of chemistry with Daniel Woolard and Marc Burch was sometimes evident. These things happen sometimes with young quickly-assembled teams of course, but it seemed to happen more with da Luz than with Chris Pontius or Santino Quaranta when they occupied the same position.
Still, da Luz was the kind of high energy player that any team needs. He won't be a first choice starter anywhere in the league at this point in his career, but he's good enough to fill in on occasion for an injured star.