Earlier this month DC United let midfielder Fred leave for Australia as a free transfer, signaling to the league that they would be in the market for a creative, play-making midfielder. Today they got their man. In a shocking move, DC sent midfielder and former captain Dax McCarty to New York for five-time All Star Dwayne De Rosario. Straight up.
Weirdly enough this is the second time both players have been traded this season. McCarty was acquired for DC in the offseason during the Expansion Draft in a trade widely hailed as a steal for DC. McCarty, who had just finished a stint with “Team Cupcake”, was seen as a rising star in the league and was immediately given the captain’s armband by Ben Olsen. However, after solid start to the season, McCarty struggled in his center midfield role and was replaced first by Branko Boskovic, then Fred in the DC midfield. By moving to New York, McCarty has a chance to hit the restart button and thrive in a possession passing system with Hans Backe. The key for New York is the amount of money they save by trading DeRo now; depending on the terms of the deal they could save enough money to acquire a position of need (cough cough keeper).
DeRo, he of five MLS Best XI selections and four MLS Cups, moves to DC from New York after leaving Toronto on April 1 for New York. Since joining the Red Bulls, he has two goals and four assists. The trade suggests that DC United is going for broke and feels the Eastern Conference is weak enough that they can make a run in the second half of the season, when their schedule gets arguably easier. De Rosario plugs into their midfield nicely and gives the Black-and-Red a scoring threat they lacked in the middle. His presence will also help keep Chris Pontius wide and with Charlie Davies in front and Pontius and Najar on his side, this DC attack could take a major step forward. Another key though will be DeRo’s presence in the locker room; this is a young team being built with the hard-nosed attitude of coach Ben Olsen and the Canadian’s past attitude problems could be a bad fit here.
Ironically this may not have been the most important trade for DC United today. Earlier, DC acquired San Jose defender Brandon McDonald for allocation money. The 25 year-old defender had taken Ike Opara’s spot in the ‘Quakes XI this season and instantly adds depth and a more physical defender to DC’s much maligned back line. In one day, DC may have become, with Philadelphia and New York (and Columbus?) as favorites in the Eastern Conference.
But what do you think?