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FC Cincinnati selects D.C. United’s Darren Mattocks in 2018 MLS Expansion Draft

DCU loses a player they were already prepared to lose

FC Cincinnati’s first selection in the 2018 MLS Expansion draft is D.C. United striker Darren Mattocks. The 28-year-old Jamaican had a career season for United this year, but the arrival of Wayne Rooney relegated him to a back-up role that he was not satisfied with. A recent report from the Washington Post confirmed that he was going to part ways with United anyway, but today’s move sees him heading to the 2019 expansion side. Per MLS rules, United will receive $50,000 in General Allocation Money (GAM) as compensation.

Mattocks was a vital acquisition last winter for United, beating Patrick Mullins for the starting role up front in the preseason before justifying Ben Olsen’s public confidence in the former Portland Timbers man. Mattocks scored 8 goals in United’s 14 games before Rooney arrived, providing a crucial scoring punch while the Black-and-Red spent nearly the entire spring and early summer on the road.

However, his minutes dwindled immediately upon making way for Rooney in the 58th minute of the opening game at Audi Field. Mattocks played just 193 minutes in United’s final 19 games of the year, starting just once and playing fewer than 10 minutes five different times. He did play the final 19 minutes of United’s season-ending playoff loss to Columbus, but with Rooney sparking an attacking renaissance for D.C., the writing was clearly on the wall.

Losing a player they knew was already going to leave means today’s news has negligible impact on United’s roster. They came into the day knowing that they needed to find a player to fill this role in the squad, and they leave the day in the same position (but with some GAM). There had been some speculation that United could have lost a beloved veteran like Nick DeLeon, or a center back in the form of Kofi Opare or Frederic Brillant, so Cincy’s choice comes with the feeling that D.C. dodged a bullet.

On the other hand, his value was surely higher than $50,000 if traded within MLS, even with everyone knowing he was on the way out. A trade before the Re-Entry Draft, for example, could have netted more than what United got today.

The full list of players selected by Cincinnati is as follows:

2018 FC Cincinnati Expansion Draft

Player Team Position 2018 salary
Player Team Position 2018 salary
Darren Mattocks D.C. United Striker $416,667
Kei Kamara Vancouver Whitecaps Striker $1,000,000
Roland Lamah FC Dallas Left winger $818,500
Eric Alexander Houston Dynamo Defensive midfield $260,004
Hassan Ndam New York Red Bulls Center back $54,504