It's so rare to have a trade that affects every single facet of the team: from goalkeeper to the attack to the draft. And you just get the feeling that this is one of those moments that we'll look back on and say whether it made or broke the season.
When Colorado and DC made a trade last offseason, you can't really say that either team won on that deal, because both missed the playoffs. Resetting back to 2007, and with all money and roster implications aside, the trades boil down to DC getting Chris Pontius and Mike Graczyk, and Colorado getting Ivan Guerrero and a 2009 2nd round draft pick. That in itself would not be a terrible trade when you consider Pontius's star potential. But when you look at how desperate the Rapids should be to get rid of Gomez, it sure looks like United gave up too much. But in the end, these back-and-forth trades may have played an instrumental role in keeping Emilio with the team.
Let's look now about how this affects the different parts of our team:
Goalkeeper: The most puzzling part of this whole situation is the involvement of Mike Graczyk. On the surface, it appears that he would be here to compete with James Thorpe for the third goalkeeper spot. But that's a position that so rarely sees any playing time, it shouldn't matter much to us, right? I have a bad feeling that there's more to this. The Graczyk vs. Thorpe competition becomes much more meaningful if the club knows something we don't. This makes me worry about that either Kocic or Crayton might not be in the team's plans through the entire 2009 season. Don't forget also that we've already cut our fourth-string goalkeeper Quavas Kirk!
Defense: Prior to this weekend, I was pretty content with our defensive situation for the first time in over a year. We actually had some depth! Our starting lineup could look like Namoff-Roger-Janicki-Burch one day, and Namoff-McTavish-Burch-Guerrero the next. But with the failure to sign Roger and the dealing of Guerrero, our only decent starting lineup is Namoff-McTavish-Janicki-Burch. And our only depth consists of two not-yet-ready-for-primetime left backs (Wallace, Zaher) and one utility guy (Mediate) who can play either centrally or on the right.
Midfield: I was just getting used to the idea of our potential starting lineup including a defensive midfielder (Simms) and a holding midfielder (Jacobson), which would allow our two wingers (Fred, Quaranta) to have a bit more freedom getting forward. But with a defensive midfielder and attacking midfielder (Gomez) instead, the wingers have more defensive responsibilities, which Fred and Quaranta aren't the best suited to handle. This would be ok if we could occassionally start some wingers that can play both sides of the ball, but we've gone and traded away Guerrero, and McTavish and Burch will be needed in defense full time.
Offense: Simply put, Gomez should score more goals than Gallardo, and is better for our team than Gallardo. Assuming Gomez is closer to his 2007 level than his 2008 level. His return should also put Emilio back in the chase for the Golden Boot. I would expect to see Moreno's production drop off a bit, but let's also not forget that it was this formation that earned Ben Olsen 7 goals and 7 assists in 2007.
Substitutes: Between Gomez, Moreno, and Olsen, United now has 3 potential starters who won't be able to play much more than 60 minutes a game. That really hampers our substitute situation. I've got much more to say about these three veterans and analysis of our offseason. Stay tuned for more later tonight or tomorrow.