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Charlie Davies To DC United: An Innovative Approach To MLS Allocation

Charlie Davies will be joining DC United in Florida today to begin his evaluation. In Chest Rockwell's story yesterday reacting to the announcement, he called the move a master stroke. Once I quit giggling and realized that "master stroke" isn't a sex act, I decided that I totally agree.

You see, Davies isn't like any of the other U.S. National Team players who have returned to MLS via the Allocation System. Kasey Keller, Brian McBride, Bobby Convey, Troy Perkins, Jay DeMerit, Kenny Cooper - they all came to MLS because that was the next step they wanted to take in their careers. And the clubs that received their rights received them due to their place in the Allocation rankings. Not through much of any work of their own doing.

Davies is different. Because D.C. United is different. United found itself in a unique place this month. Top of the MLS Allocation order while still in preseason, and around the time that European clubs are considering moving players who aren't getting much field time. It was the perfect storm.

Davies coming to D.C. isn't luck or good fortune. If any other team were at the top of the Allocation list instead of D.C., Davies would probably be staying in France. United sought him out. The innovative approach was that they used Allocation as a tool for acquisition - not just something to keep in their pocket in hopes that some Yank Abroad would decide to return home later this summer.

One item that was largely overlooked in Goff's initial report about Davies yesterday was that United had also tried to procure Eddie Johnson. This wasn't Davies or bust. This was a specific strategy aimed at improving the forward position. Olsen hinted that they wouldn't necessarily only be looking at international players to fill that need. This has been in the works for quite a while.

Now about that week-long "evaluation". I might be one of the few who would be shocked if the team sent Davies back to France. Yeah, they're hedging with the press release. But a 60% healthy Charlie Davies will still sell tickets. Maybe that's just the cynic in me talking.

The rest of me is far more enthusiastic. I can't wait for around 7:45 PM on March 19th when every person in a packed RFK Stadium holds up a printed number "9" sign in the 9th minute of the home opener. I get goosebumps just thinking about it.