Second thoughts on Perkins and DC United’s “dumb” trade

I may have been a little harsh in my assessment of the DC United – Philly Union trade. I called it “dumb.” Thinking about it a bit more that was kinda of a “dumb” reactionary assessment. There is clearly a logic to this deal for United.

One of the most frustrating things about the deal, is that Philly clearly made out like gangbusters and forced United to pay a hefty price for the right to sign Perkins. It does have to be taken into account when assessing this deal that United it significantly helped its arch-rival. This is why Arsenal and Spurs, Liverpool and Man United, don’t do deals. Still, while I think United paid too high a price, they did get their man.

From United’s perspective they just signed one of the top five American goalkeepers for the next decade. Perkins is 28, someone United knows, a player that left Europe not because he couldn’t cut it but for family reasons, and most importantly he will probably be with United for the next decade.

So lets assess again. United gets what is arguably the best goalie in MLS for the next decade, in exchange for a 30 yr. old Fred who has not been good the past two years and an unproven player in the draft that has a 50-50 shot at cutting at MLS and likely won’t contribute that much this year even if he comes good. Furthermore, United can now trade Wicks, who is an MLS quality keeper, so this may not be a 2 for 1 deal as most original perceived. It’s really a 2-2 deal with Union getting Fred and Jack McInerney in the draft (a highly touted 17 yr old prospect) and United gets Perkins and a player to be named later, assuming they trade Wicks. In that light the trade seems much more balanced.

I think in the end it really depends on how you value goalkeepers. In my view, good goalkeepers is what America produces. I think the quality of keepers in MLS is much higher on average than the field players and that there are a number of guys that could quite easily cut it in Europe’s top leagues. There are some really bad English keepers playing the premier league for instance. So with this view in mind I just don’t see that position as all that scarce and United’s goalkeeping woes were more about bad luck than a lack of goalkeepers.

I think my final take, is that this is a bad trade for United in 2010 – they could have got an MLS regular in the draft – but overall this is probably a smart low risk long term move.


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