When it came time for D.C. United to make its first pick (3rd overall) in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft, General Manager and VP of Soccer Operations Dave Kasper could have easily chosen one of the many youth prospects available and given them a longer arc to develop their skills at a little more controlled cost, but unbeknownst to most, and reported by Paul Tenorio almost two months later, he already had his eyes on a young player who did well in his initial year in MLS.
So he took the $200,000 in allocation money (evenly split between TAM and GAM) from Los Angeles FC on the day of the draft, and acquired the same amount from the Portland Timbers for the rights to Black-and-Red homegrown player Eryk Williamson. He added another $100,000 of GAM and acquired the rights to midfielder Yamil Asad from Atlanta United. Kasper also had to take another $700,000 into consideration, with most of that going towards Asad’s salary.
The 23-year old Asad was coming off his first season in MLS where he had 7 goals and 13 assists for Atlanta, but his loan was up, and the option to buy due. And in between Asad’s salary demands and the transfer fee of nearly $2 million by his club Velez Sarsfield of Argentina, combined with Atlanta’s eight-figure acquisition of Ezequiel Barco, Asad suddenly became a hot commodity that the Black-and-Red were able to land. Kasper acquired Asad nearly tripling his base salary from 2017’s $150,000 to 2018’s $436,363.56 (Asad has guaranteed compensation of $520,522.65), using Targeted Allocation Money in the process to buy down his senior roster budget charge of $504,375.
Asad continued his 2017 into 2018, scoring 9 goals and 8 assists over 30 games (27 starts), with an ankle injury in an August match against the New York Red Bulls slowing down his campaign, tallying 3 assists in his last 7 regular season games, after missing the previous 4.
So in sum, he played 400 fewer minutes in 2018 and still had an outside chance to hit double figures in goals and assists in MLS. This would have put him in elite company, as there were six other players to accomplish this in 2018. You know Luciano Acosta is one. The others? Miguel Almiron, Diego Valeri, Ignacio Piatti, Carlos Vela and Darwin Quintero, all five are Designated Players, and two of whom are squaring off in this weekend’s MLS Cup.
In addition, Asad’s 78.5% pass accuracy was tops amongst attacking starters, and 1.5 dribbles per game was tied with Acosta for the lead. And for all the talk about Lucho getting hacked, Asad has seen a lot of boots go into him, finishing 4th in fouls suffered with 82, a healthy lead over Lucho’s 63. In fact, Asad has suffered 177 fouls in his two seasons in the league, second most over that time to Nicolas Lodeiro (204).
Oh, and there’s this:
When last week’s list of options was announced, Asad’s name was on it to some brief trepidation, though Sam Stejskal reports that Kasper is working on spreading out the fee over multiple years, which could cause him to miss the opening of preseason in January. Given that Asad didn’t arrive to the team until early February, I’d imagine the club will exercise some patience and fully expect Asad to return, the only question is how much TAM they will use to do so.
But hey, this isn’t my place to say, it’s yours:
Do you want Yamil Asad back for the 2019 season?
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