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D.C. United adds international roster spot in trade with Nashville SC

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Today’s move may serve as a guide to future choices from the Black-and-Red

MLS: Inter Miami CF at D.C. United Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

Shortly after announcing that they had traded Paul Arriola away, D.C. United has acquired an international roster spot for 2022 from Nashville SC. Having just acquired $1.5 million in 2022 General Allocation Money from FC Dallas in the Arriola trade, United sent $250,000 of that GAM stockpile to Nashville to effectively rent one more international spot for a year.

United recently traded a spot to expansion club Charlotte FC for the exact same terms, but since then, things have changed. United has traded away one starter (Arriola) and has according to Pablo Maurer at The Athletic agreed to a deal transferring another, Kevin Paredes, to VfL Wolfsburg in the German Bundesliga. On top of that, per the Washington Post’s Steven Goff, they have signed Taxiarchis Fountas to a pre-contract deal (meaning that he would join the club in the summer), and may well be negotiating to bring him over from Rapid Vienna in the very near future.

Today’s trade with Nashville gives United, at least at this very moment, three open international spots to work with. The club has five international players under contract: Edison Flores, Ola Kamara, Nigel Robertha, Gaoussou Samaké, and Kimarni Smith. They also drafted two international players in Sofiane Djeffal and Skage Simonsen, though at this point expectations are that both will end up starting their pro careers with Loudoun United.

Signing Fountas, a native of Greece, immediately rather than relying on the pre-contract would take up one of those spots. United has also indicated that they want to add another DP now that Arriola is gone, and in all likelihood that player would also be an international. Rumors have linked the Black-and-Red to several players in that category, including Emelec winger Joao Rojas and Toluca forward Michael Estrada. Steven Goff tweeted this afternoon that a move for Estrada is “likely” to materialize.

United would have been able to incorporate Fountas and another international without today’s trade, though. That makes the move an indicator that the club either has a third move up their sleeve for the short-term, or figures that the cost of an international spot now is going to be lower than one would be in the summer, and would rather settle that future need now.

The trade also points to the club probably not getting US residency for any internationals within the next couple of months. Players who receive green cards only count as domestic players in a given season if they receive their residency before the opening of the summer transfer window (in 2022, that’s July 7). It also seems to lower the odds of United moving Kamara via trade or transfer, as has been rumored for the last month or so, as they’d open up an international spot with his departure.