Monday, June 27, 2011

Stunner!: Red Bulls Trade De Rosario to DC for McCarty

McCarty: The Red Bulls' Latest Addition
This has to rank as the most shocking trade of the MLS season thus far. Late this afternoon the Red Bulls moved Dwayne De Rosario - who they had just acquired on April Fools Day - to hated rivals DC United in exchange for midfielder Dax McCarty. On the face of it, this would appear to be a very one-sided deal in DC's favor.

De Rosario, now 33, is a two time league MVP and MLS Cup champion, and one of the league's most accomplished players of the last decade. Since being acquired from Toronto FC for Tony Tchani, Daneligh Borman and a draft pick, De Rosario has been a mainstay in a Red Bulls attack that has been scoring goals in bunches. Though De Rosario hadn't scored a goal from open play for the Red Bulls, he did create an added dimension to the team's attack that freed up opportunities for players such as Thierry Henry and Dane Richards. He was also the only Red Bull who seemed capable of delivering from the spot, with both of his goals coming from penalty kicks.

McCarty, nine years De Rosario's junior, was brought into DC with high hopes that he would solidify the #10 position and provide badly needed leadership in the middle of the park. While not having a disastrous season by any means, he has proven that he's more of a two-way midfielder than an out-and-out attacker. In that respect, this is by no means a like for like trade. You may remember that FC Dallas surprised everyone when they left McCarty unprotected in the 2010 Expansion Draft, after a positive season down in Big D. He was then selected by the Portland Timbers, before being moved on to DC for Rodney Wallace and allocation money. Until recently, McCarty had been DC United's captain, and perhaps we should have expected him to be traded when Josh Wolff took the armband this past weekend.

It's difficult to analyze this trade as things stand now. In exchanging DeRo for McCarty, the Red Bulls have gotten younger opened up some cap space, though comments from DC GM Dave Kasper would seem to indicate that the Red Bulls and/or Toronto are still on the hook for at least some of De Rosario's salary. Clearly Erik Solér has another move up his sleeve, and after Sunday's debacle it would be safe to assume that a reliable goalkeeper might be at the top of his shopping list. If the Red Bulls fail to use that newly-found cap space to improve the team, you can count this as one of the most lopsided trades in MLS history.

This is a stunning move for RBNY to make so shortly after trumpeting the arrival of the Canadian international. The Red Bulls attack just got a little bit less dangerous, and a divisional rival has been strengthened considerably. There's also a big question about where McCarty fits into a midfield that already features a number of options in the center of the park, including Teemu Tainio and Joel Lindpere. McCarty didn't exactly light it up playing in an advanced position for DC, but we have seen him dominate there in the past, including last year's visit to Harrison by FC Dallas, when he ran the show and created all sorts of headaches for RBNY defenders.
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