United was telling us something with the acquisition of Mike Chabala and subsequent retirement of Kurt Morsink. This team wants to win. Now.
The concussion suffered by Daniel Woolard against the Columbus Crew on Saturday set a whole series of moves in place in short order. D.C. United now has a new left back in Mike Chabala, and a new scouting coordinator in Kurt Morsink. That's not all though. Today's moves told us a lot of other things about United.
Here are a few points to tell us why the Chabala acquisition and the subsequent Morsink retirement are important.
1. This is the first evidence of involvement of the new ownership group. We all know that Erick Thohir and Jason Levien have the funds set aside to build United a new stadium in D.C., and that's spectacular. We also know that they have pockets deep enough to bring us a big name designated player when necessary. I'm not sure though that we all realized that the ownership change would have other various impacts on the club as well. Thohir and Levien want to invest more in scouting, and the team needed a roster spot. Offering Morsink a position in the office rather than on the field is a unique solution to both issues.
2. This might signal a slight departure from our recent focus on the draft. Giving away a first round Supplemental pick isn't exactly giving up the world, but we've gotten value from picks in that range in the past. Value like Joe Willis. Like Devon McTavish. Expanding the scouting department at the same time as we're trading away draft picks could signal a shift away from using the draft as a major means for player acquisition to using international scouting instead.
3. The injury to Woolard could be significant. Concussions always are, really. But a concussion for a player with a previous history of dealing with concussions can be devastating. Its likely that United has no idea when Woolard will return to the field. But if Ben Olsen thought that Woolard would be back within just a few weeks, he probably wouldn't have made this trade.
4. We want to win. Now. This isn't a move that gets made by a team that's rebuilding. Chabala is a 28-year old role player. He's not a project, or someone with high potential that may or may not pan out. He's a competent MLS starter, which means that Olsen won't have to play Andy Najar or Dejan Jakovic or Lewis Neal out of position at outside back. Chabala was acquired because he can contribute right away. He can help us win right away.