The MLS offseason has barely even started and several talented players have already changed teams. D.C. United has been quiet so far, and maybe that's a good thing.
The MLS silly season has seemed just a bit sillier than usual this season.
With MLS Cup 2012 just two days behind us, the offseason has begun, and several teams have wasted no time with making moves. Surprisingly, it's been two playoff teams that have made the most moves so far, with Real Salt Lake abandoning huge parts of their roster, and the New York Red Bulls adding more players than they can fit on the field.
You can read all about the various different transactions in this SB Nation MLS Supergroup, but to summarize, the Red Bulls have made the most additions by picking up Fabian Espindola, Jamison Olave, and Kosuke Kimura, while the Portland Timbers have brought in Will Johnson and Michael Harrington. Meanwhile, Justin Braun is heading to Toronto, Aaron Maund to Utah, Atiba Harris to Colorado, and Michael Brunner to Houston.
Back home at RFK Stadium though, things have been much quieter. D.C. United is undergoing the usual process of electing whether or not to renew each player's option, with Emiliano Dudar, Maicon Santos, Stephen King, and Mike Chabala the apparent casualties so far. But United has yet to add any new players to the roster for the 2013 season.
And that's probably a good thing.
The teams that have been making the most moves so far are giving out a Shuffling Deck Chairs vibe. While RSL is in rebuilding mode, the Red Bulls are in OK Let's Just Freakin' Try To Win Something mode. It won't work. It never does. And while all the players that are changing teams do certainly have some skill, that doesn't mean we should want them on our team. If Braun, Espindola, and Olave weren't good enough for RSL anymore, they're not good enough for United.
These RSL castoffs are essentially on our roster already anyway. Espindola is a strong physical presence who has scored some big goals, but also happens to be fairly inconsistent. That sounds just like Santos. Braun isn't known for his work rate or speed, but is a clinical finisher when given time. That sounds like a taller less impressive version of Hamdi Salihi. Olave was once one of the best defenders in his league, but may have taken a step back this year while carrying a hefty salary. That reminds me of Dudar.
As a wide midfielder who can hit a good cross and knows the importance of contributing defensively, Johnson may have been a good fit in the Ben Olsen system at United, but he wouldn't have been a starter. And Olsen doesn't appear to be willing to part with any allocation money to get a reserve player at this point.
United has a solid core of players returning in 2013. The team has some very specific needs: a prolific all-around striker and a skillful but hard-working central midfielder. We weren't going to fill those needs today. Those needs probably can't be filled via the MLS scrap heap. The team also needs depth at several positions, but that depth can be added just as easily in the Re-Entry Draft or in free agency without giving up any valuable commodities.
United has been smart to remain quiet so far, but the team will need to begin to act soon in order to fill those spots.