Major League Soccer’s summer transfer window has been open for a couple of days now, and we’re starting to see signs that D.C. United plans to be active during the 28 days (the window closes August 3rd). First, there was Ben Olsen straight up saying that United is looking to spend at least some of their unknowable amount of Targeted Allocation Money and General Allocation Money in Steve Goff’s article for the Washington Post yesterday. That was followed by some more specific news on a potential addition:
Source: Max Tissot est présentement à Washington avec @dcunited. Il y aura évaluation mutuelle et possibilité de contrat ensuite. #IMFC #MLS— Nicolas A Martineau (@nikmartineauTVA) July 5, 2016
Roughly translated from French, Nicolas Martineau is saying that Maxim Tissot - a former Montreal Impact homegrown signing who was waived about a week ago - is on trial with the Black-and-Red while both sides consider whether he’d be a good fit here. Tissot is a 24 year old with 8 caps for the Canadian national team, and is comfortable playing left back or left midfield. After signing his homegrown deal with the Impact in 2013, Tissot played in 44 MLS league matches (including 22 starts) and scored 5 goals. Oddly enough, his last goal won Goal of the Week back in early May.
When reached for comment, D.C. United spokesperson Lindsay Simpson said "It is not unusual for us to bring in trialists throughout the season and we are actively in the market for a few key players during this transfer time."
For United, it’s a potentially interesting - but also potentially complicated - move. Tissot is more experienced and better going forward than Luke Mishu, which would mean the Black-and-Red get stronger in terms of finding depth behind Taylor Kemp at left back. Further up the field, Tissot would be battling with Rob Vincent and Miguel Aguilar to be an option off the bench at left midfield. With Patrick Nyarko apparently close to a return from a concussion and Fabian Espindola currently playing on the left in a 4141, there might not be too many minutes available in that spot. On the other hand, with Vincent still seeming to need time to adjust to MLS defenses and Aguilar not really progressing in his second season, there is room for Tissot to get himself into the matchday 18 on a regular basis.
However, Tissot would count as an international player for roster purposes. Following the departure of Markus Halsti, United has one free international roster spot. However, as you’ve surely picked up from earlier in this article, United is looking to add names further up the roster during this window. Adding Tissot makes sense in a vacuum, but even if the Black-and-Red stick only to trades within MLS, there’s a significant chance they’ll need to either release a player or trade for international roster spot(s) to make the kind of moves they appear to be looking at.
Who would be in danger at that point? Andrea Mancini jumps out immediately, as the Italian did little to dispel the perception that he is the last man on the roster in his one appearance. Aguilar also surprisingly comes to mind, as the acquisition of Tissot would leave him fighting to be better than fourth in line at right midfield and sixth on the left in the current 4141 formation (and those figures don’t count Chris Rolfe). Aguilar still has major potential, but he may be under some real pressure as he returns from a hamstring strain.
If the issue becomes roster spots, it’s worth keeping an eye on Mishu. The Notre Dame product has been an acceptable back-up fullback who can fill in as a wide midfielder in a pinch, but at this point Tissot is a) nearly a year younger and b) further along in his career as a professional. On a team that also has two center backs capable of filling in on the left (Steve Birnbaum and Jalen Robinson) as well as Chris Korb working his way back from a knee injury and Chris Durkin becoming eligible to play in 2017, it’s worth wondering how secure Mishu’s spot on the team would be.
That said, we shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves. As the team’s official statement indicates, trialists at this time of year are a common occurrence, and Martineau’s tweet indicates that Tissot is evaluating just how much he wants to be here too. It could also be that United doesn’t have room to add players to the bottom half of the roster because they’ve got plans in the works to add guys to the starting eleven.
Bottom line, it’s going to be an interesting month for the Black-and-Red.