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Christian Gomez

Accepting a Mistake


You would never expect a club as proud as DC United or a leader as successful as Kevin Payne to admit that a year ago they made a horrible mistake. But yesterday’s actions prove they don’t have to. One year after being traded to Colorado, thus ripping the soul of a back to back Supporters Shield winning team right out of the team, Christian Gomez is back at RFK Stadium.

Last year the case was made that Gomez had failed to get the red and black over the top in the MLS Cup playoffs. In a move totally uncharacteristic of Kevin Payne’s steady leadership, United panicked and overturned significant portions of its squad.  The three most notable moves were dumping Christian Gomez, Bobby Boswell and Brian Carrol and replacing them with Marcello Gallardo, Gonzalo Peralta and Gonzalo Martinez. All three moves were in hindsight, terrible mistakes.

Gomez excelled with the Colorado Rapids before Fernando Clavijo was replaced as manager by Gary Smith from Arsenal, an English manager who employed English styled tactics. The Rapids surged but without Gomez who was left on the bench.

In the meantime, DC United was sputtering. Marcello Gallardo who scored an important PK in the shootout in Argentina’s win over England at France 98 and whom had a good career himself at the European club level was first slow in adopting to MLS and then once he got comfortable, was often injured. United’s backline was a mess and Luciano Emilio wasn’t getting the service he needed to score goals regularly. Tom Soehn had so many problems he even moved club legend Jaime Moreno into a central midfield position, a place where Moreno had never played in his long and storied career.

The deal gives the Rapids Ivan Guerrero, MLS vet and regular for Honduras one of the best national teams in CONCACAF. With Colin Clarke already on the left side it will be interesting to see where Guerrero plays in Gary Smith’s setup. Perhaps, he plays right behind the strikes and Terry Cooke moves to the right?

Kevin Payne, perhaps the greatest team builder in MLS history had for the first time in his career failed miserably with a project. But the mark of a genius, which Payne is when it comes to MLS is to quickly rectify the situation. In trading for Gomez and giving up a DP slot originally acquired from the Rapids for Gomez, Payne and United have demonstrated they understand starting over isn’t really starting over.

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  1. dude

    February 10, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    Getting rid of Gomez was Not a mistake. Going back will kill us. Everything else we were planning, in terms of the line up, goes out the window. This is by far the worst I have ever felt about a deal.

  2. Mike Martin

    February 10, 2009 at 2:42 am

    To me this is more a stop gap than anything else. At the end of the day for DC, you’re replacing Guerrero with Gomez with Colorado picking up half his salary. So, DC ends up with Gomez at 200K instead of Guerrero at 150K. That’s not a bad move when you consider Gomez was good for an average of 10 goals and 8 assists a year as well as being a league MVP, while Guerrero is a 1 goal 5 assist player per year over his MLS career.
    It sucks to lose a DP slot for a year, but then again if DC wasn’t going to use it anyway, so that’s a wash.
    Bottom line is that DC solved a problem for 50k. Did Colorado do the same? Or did they just save 50K to excorcise a problem they created. Time will tell, but both teams may well have profited from this deal.

  3. Oscar

    February 10, 2009 at 1:56 am

    A bit of a stretch to call those move panic moves. Boswell requested a trade at the end of 2007, since he wasn’t a regular starter. Between Carrol and Simms, the front office had to choose one to protect in the expansion draft for SJ Caroll was then traded to Columbus, Simms went on to play in nearly every game for DC this season. Granted, Gomez wouldn’t accept a deal with one less guaranteed year than he wanted, so there wasn’t much of a chance at keeping him.
    Yes, the team brought in a lot of players who didn’t deliver, for many reasons. The big mistake wasn’t in who they let go, it was in bringing in so many players who weren’t proven in MLS and would need time to adjust, and who couldn’t stay healthy for long.

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