Just hours into the official beginning of the MLS offseason, D.C. United has traded versatile winger Ulises Segura to expansion club Austin FC. In exchange, United has acquired $150,000 in General Allocation Money for the 27-year-old Costa Rican international.
Segura’s three-season United career ends with the former Deportivo Saprissa man having made 66 total regular season appearances, in which he scored 5 goals and added 3 assists. Steven Goff of the Washington Post first reported the trade on Friday, with today’s announcement during the half-day MLS trading window finalizing the details.
Known for being able to play multiple roles, Segura was initially given a shot as a box-to-box midfielder, but after just five games Ben Olsen moved him to his natural position on the wing. While Segura spent most of his time with United there, he also saw time as a wingback, as an emergency fullback, and back in the middle again. With United short on healthy, proven strikers for much of 2020, Segura spent several games playing as a makeshift center forward.
However, a calf injury in September sidelined Segura for the final 12 games of the year, and in the meantime, his place within the squad became less clear. Towards the top of the depth chart, Paul Arriola’s return from a torn ACL added to a crowded set of potential wide attacking players that also includes another DP (Edison Flores), a third player that United spent seven figures to acquire (Julian Gressel), and a more established option on the left (Yamil Asad). Meanwhile, homegrown attackers Kevin Paredes and Griffin Yow proved more than capable in their appearances this season, and will surely need a larger share of the minutes available to improve further.
Making the trade during today’s half-day window allows United to prepare for Tuesday’s expansion draft with more clarity. It is not, at this point, clear if United used this deal to acquire formal or informal guarantees that Austin will leave the rest of their roster untouched during that particular MLS roster mechanism.