The D.C. United roster still lacks a few good forwards. It still lacks depth in defense. But midfield? Midfield we've got locked down. One of the best midfields in MLS just got better with the addition of Danny Cruz.
The 22-year old midfielder scored nine goals and seven assists in two seasons with the Houston Dynamo, playing in 31 total matches. In exchange for Cruz, United sent a partial allocation to Houston.
In the team press release announcing the move, United General Manager Dave Kasper referred to Cruz as "tenacious," but he's much more than that. His energy was very often the spark that made things happen for the Dynamo. He's a good ball winner, good at creating chances, and not a bad finisher. Not great either though. Cruz is MLS-starter quality at this point in his young career. He was good enough to start for a team that reached the MLS Cup Final in 2011. And yet he'll be second choice on the wings for a United team that already includes Andy Najar on one side and Chris Pontius on the other, and a bench that already includes top draft pick Nick DeLeon. Yeah, this midfield is stacked.
Cruz made $123,000 for the Dynamo in 2011, but failed to reach an agreement with the team this offseason after graduating from the Generation Adidas list. They retained his rights though, meaning that United had to give up something in return. Per MLS rules, the amount of money trading hands wasn't disclosed.
Perhaps the best thing we can take away from this deal is the reaction of the Houston fans over on Dynamo Theory. They're almost unanimously disappointed to see Cruz leaving, and worried sick that he'll someday reach the potential he showed on the youth national team level, and that the Dynamo will regret letting him leave. We can only hope.