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Why Didn't D.C. United Keep Brandon Barklage?

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Brandon Barklage had the game of his life against D.C. United. How could we have seen this coming?
Brandon Barklage had the game of his life against D.C. United. How could we have seen this coming?

You always want what you can't have. It's true in relationships. It's true in life. And it's sure as hell true in soccer.

It's never more true than when a player you used to have but can't have anymore scores two goals against you. That's what happened to D.C. United on Sunday night. It leads to regret, to questioning, to anger. How did he get so good? Was there something in him that we didn't see? Why didn't we see it?

Why didn't D.C. United keep Brandon Barklage?

The answer is more simple than an outside observer might think. Because we didn't have a spot for him. Because we were ridding the locker room of those players who had been around for several years without accomplishing much of anything. Because he was always effing injured.

But a better answer might come in the form of another question.

Why didn't FC Dallas keep Maicon Santos?

The answer for Dallas was actually just as simple. Because he didn't produce consistently. Because he didn't fit the role on the team that they thought he would fit. Because they didn't admire the skills that he brought to the table.

You see, this happens all the time in MLS. It happens in every sports league. A player that has not yet lived up to his potential moves on to another club, and suddenly that potential is realized. It doesn't mean that the coaches on the previous team were doing anything wrong, or that the coaches on the new team are doing anything right.

Why didn't D.C. United keep Julius James?

Sometimes a change in scenery is required. Sometimes its a change in playing style, in teammates, in assistants, in apartments... anything.

Why didn't the Chicago Fire keep Daniel Woolard? Why didn't Real Salt Lake keep Robbie Russell?

There are financial pressures too, of course. And roster limits. If the decision to keep a player or to let him go was made purely based on the extreme possibility that that player would score a brace the next time you saw him, every team would have hundreds of players under contract.

Why didn't D.C. United keep Blake Brettschneider?

But no coach wants to keep around a player that doesn't ever seem likely to get a chance in his current locker room. It wouldn't be fair to the player, and wouldn't be fair to the team. It's in everyone's best interest to let him move on. If the player succeeds elsewhere, great. If he fails, then he's someone else's problem. On to the next one.

Why didn't the New York Red Bulls keep Dwayne De Rosario?

Okay, I got nothing there. Just a bunch of fools.