D.C. United Trade Targets - Possible defensive pick-ups within the league

USA TODAY Sports

Last week, the readers of B&RU voted on United's off-season priorities, and a lock-down center back was high on the list. Could that leader come from elsewhere within MLS?

As we work our way through the players on D.C. United's 2013 roster in our Cake or Death series, we're also launching a parallel track, trying to find players who would benefit United from elsewhere. One avenue for acquiring new players is the in-league trade, and that's where we'll start. (We'll be covering other avenues later.) Today, we'll look at some defensive help that could be available within the league, and in the coming days we'll take a look at some offensive targets.

Some of these names are ones I thought up, and others came from suggestions on Twitter. Without further ado, the names.

Futty Danso

This one comes by way of Josh Weber (@SalisburyUnited). Danso anchors the defense of the Best-in-the-West Portland Timbers, where he's been since 2009 - two years before PTFC came into MLS. The Gambian is on a relatively reasonable $82,500 salary, and he's started 50 games over the last three seasons, including 16 this year. After a rough start, Futty has become a stalwart for Portland, and he should be expected to start once their playoff campaign begins this weekend. With Caleb Porter's ambition, though, it's definitely a possibility that the Coach of the Year candidate looks to upgrade his side at the center back position, and Danso could be expendable.

Ryan Miller

Another Timber, but one who only joined the team this year, and a suggestion that also comes from Josh Weber. Miller actually spent a little bit of time with D.C. United back in the fall of 2008, but he was cut only two games into the 2009 season. He spent some time in Scandinavia before making seven appearances (four starts) for Portland this season. I honestly don't know much about Miller's game, so I'll leave this one to the commentariat to sort out.

Tony Beltran

The Real Salt Lake right fullback had an outstanding season replacing Robbie Russell. His name comes to us from Anthony Durski. (@AnthonyDurski). If United could get Beltran for anything short of a ransom, it could be worthwhile, but I'm not sure RSL would make him available at anything approaching a reasonable price.

Bobby Boswell

Boswell is, of course, a former United man, going to Houston in exchange for... Zach Wells. Eric Mann (@ericmann1278) thinks the time has come to bring him back to the District. As with Beltran, I'm not sure the 30-year-old would be available for a reasonable price, but if he is, he's definitely worth considering.

Ike Opara

He's third choice for Sporting Kansas City, but there's no shame in sitting behind guys like Matt Besler and Aurelien Collin. He was just acquired by SKC last off-season and appeared in half their games this season, earning an even $100,000. I doubt he'd be available, but it could be worth inquiring, just for giggles, especially if we end up moving on from Jakovic and add a more experienced organizer this winter.

Anybody the LA Galaxy are willing to part with

Seriously, have you seen the depth they have in defense? A.J. DeLaGarza, Omar Gonzalez, Todd Dunivant, Sean Franklin, Leonardo, Tommy Meyer - Crimeny. The rest of their defense are young guys - second-year Bradley product Bryan Gaul, rookie Kofi Opare and teenager Oscar Sorto. Of the "old" guys, only Dunivant is over 30 (at 32), and Franklin is the only other one older than 25 (at 28). Basically, Bruce Arena has a stacked corps, and our first call once LA is out of the playoffs should be to let him know we've got lots of allocation money he might be interested in helping us turn into a defender.

This is just the beginning, ladies 'n' gents. Take to the comments with your thoughts on who United might look at bringing in via trade this off-season, whether from this list or not.

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