D.C. United came to the 2018 MLS SuperDraft with one pick, the third overall. But, as first reported by the Washington Post’s Steve Goff, the pick was traded to LAFC before the draft actually began. United received $100,000 in Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) and $100,000 in General Allocation Money (GAM). LAFC used the pick to select Pacific right back Tristan Blackmon.
“It’s no disrespect to the college game or some the players that were here, [but] some other guys that can help us in in a bigger way, in a more immediate way, [will be here] in the next week or two,” head coach Ben Olsen told media at the draft. “Every dollar counts with those type of deals.”
The move kicked off a series of trades, with the Montreal Impact trading the #4 pick to FC Dallas for $200,000 in GAM. The Chicago Fire then traded up to grab the #5 pick, sending the #15 pick, $75,000 in GAM, $100,000 in TAM, and a player to be named later to Minnesota United for the privilege.
United’s deal initially seemed like a more or less sound valuation, if also lower than years past. However, with a draft pool lacking multiple standouts, the move seemed more or less reasonable at the time. In light of the trades that followed, though, United might have sold just a bit lower than market value. GAM is more versatile than TAM, meaning that the $200,000 total United got is a little less useful than the $200,000 in pure GAM that the Impact snagged for a lesser pick.
Unless they make another trade and get back into the draft, United will have no picks at the SuperDraft. They do hold picks in the 3rd and 4th rounds (picks 49, 71, 74, and 91 overall), but if they use those picks their selections would have to be considered longshots to make the roster. The final two rounds of the draft will be held via conference call on Sunday, January 21st.