As uncovered by Simon Borg of MLSsoccer.com this morning, Record.com is reporting that former Chicago Fire defender Wilman Conde will not be returning to Mexican Primera Divsion club Atlas after failing to recover from a leg injury and missing much of the season. The 29-year old Colombian scored two goals in just 13 appearances with Atlas in the last year.
Conde is rumored to want to return to MLS. One of the ideal possible destinations for him could be D.C. United.
When motivated, Conde was one of the best defenders in the league. He collected an MLS Best XI nod back in 2009, and has all the physical traits and abilities to be a force against opposing attackers. The downside to Conde is roughly similar to the downside to Dejan Jakovic – he’s been known to lose focus at times, leading to mental mistakes that can occasionally cost his team. Many Fire fans weren’t sad to see him go after the 2010 season, seeing him as the scapegoat for the team’s defensive misfortunes.
Still, Conde is the type of international player that I could see Ben Olsen pursuing. Olsen has been very cautious (perhaps overly cautious) in his player acquisitions the last year, preferring to sign or trade for players with a proven track record of MLS success, plus Charlie Davies an American who had proven his scoring prowess abroad. Clearly Olsen is familiar with Conde’s abilities and potential for MLS dominance, as the two played against each other in the MLS Eastern Conference for three years.
With Jakovic and Brandon McDonald returning as the incumbent starters at center back for next season, and with Ethan White quickly developing behind them, center back isn’t necessarily United’s top target this offseason. And at a 2010 salary of $200,000, Conde wouldn’t come cheaply. But as United has remained fairly quiet so far this offseason, this could be the kind of splash Olsen would make to get the ball rolling towards a better 2012.