a Mid-term evaluation of the big 2001 trades

Discussion in 'D.C. United' started by ursula, Aug 18, 2002.

  1. ursula

    ursula Member

    Feb 21, 1999
    Republic of Cascadia
    You know, the Payne and Rongen driven Goos and llamosa trades. Obviously in the short run Miami and SJ got the better of the deals- that's obvious. But one can't just sum up these trades after one year, especially when one team (DCU) is trading for draft picks mostly. Only when 5-10 years go by can these trades be fully evaluated. nevertheless, i think a quick mid-term look back right now is in order.

    The background

    DCU fell apart in the 2000 season. The defense in particular was awful. No one there played well. The very odd thing was that the team had three regulars on the Nats on defense- four if you count the d-mid (Williams). Remember reading on BS US boards all the talk about how Arena has his DCU pets like Goos and Llamosa and Williams and Pope? The fact was though that those guys played well for Arena; they just sucked for United.

    In addition, United was probably also facing big cap problems entering into the 2001 season, which contibuted to the trades as well.

    The trades

    There were a bunch of trades around the time of the superdraft but three of them were the major ones (and one of those was an adjunct of the others):

    - Llamosa to Miami for Kamler and the #4 pick (Nelsen)
    -Agoos to SJ for ATC, the #8 (Quaranta) and #10 picks
    -Presthus and the #10 pick to C-bus for the #3 pick (Lisi)

    Again, obviously Miami and SJ won big time in the short run. Afterall they got a Nats team caliber defender to anchor their defenses, something they both desperately needed. Lassiter and Goos contributed this year too: -

    -Imagine NE's defense without Llamosa (I know that the image I just conjured up in your minds was a violation of pornography laws and I fully expect, and deserve, to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.) My guess is that Chuck has probably 2 more productive years left and a year or two more as a useful sub.

    -Goos also played well for SJ. He was exactly what they needed to win the MLS Cup last year. (Wll, Goos and LD.) This year though injuries happened, leaving a hole in the SJ defense. But what can you expect with an aging defender? At the end of their careers, Kubik was usually hurt, Balboa is hurt all this year, Dayak is hurt much of this year: it's a normal thing to have old defenders get busted up and if a team is overly reliant on old defenders well, it's just asking for trouble. (Notice that even though Hudson has this rep of favoring old players how young DCU's backline is- all in their mid-20's with Pope the oldest at 28.) We'll see if SJ can pull out of it, but they are not the team that they were when the season started, in part because their older guys are either getting hurt (Agoos, Dayak) or are not playing as well as they have (Lagos, Ibsen, Eklund). In a way SJ last year took a similar tack that Hudson did with Miami: focused on winning now with the possibility that the team could fall apart in a couple of years due to not being able to replace their older vets they rely on. Back to Goos: he looks like he has less productive time less than Llamosa (as he isn't as strong)- 1-2 years, tops, maybe less. Tack on 1 year as an Ibsen-like sub.

    What about United?

    First the Llamosa trade.

    Kamler is your basic MLS journeyman. He was okay last year and then we traded him for Williams. Together, the two have been useful for us, if not a pillar of strength. Williams probably has 1-2 more years of diminishing ability, though his intensity probably meshes with Hudson's very well in getting the younger players to perform well.

    But in the long run this trade is all about Ryan Nelsen. If Nelsen doesn't go to Europe (a fair possibility in my mind) than United has their center back for the next 10 years, probably an MLS all-star for most of them. I can imagine him having Kubik's ability to impact games. So in the long run, United wins on this trade.

    But why didn't Nelsen perform well last year? I have it up to Rongen's inability to coach defense and we just had to wait a year to see Nelsen's true ability.

    Next the Agoos/Presthus trades.

    ATC was, like Kamler, a journeyman throw-in to sweeten the deal. Conteh gave us one average year than left under wierd circumstances, basically to be replaced by Rocket Roy who will be gone at the end of the season.

    But like the Llamosa trade, the Agoos trade was mostly about Quaranta. Like Nelsen, I think that Q1 will be a star for the Nats and DCU for a long, long, time after Agoos is gone. Unlike Nelsen, Tino is so young that we still have a couple of years before we see him at the top of his skills. Still this was very much a trade that needs to be projected well into the future to make any sense. SJ got what they wanted. In the long run, so did we.

    Then there's the other part of this trade: the one where we got Lisi for Presthus, basically. Presthus wasn't working out fopr us, so he was expendable. Since, he's done a decent job for C-bus- some good/great games, some poor games:all-in-all an average starting MLS keeper. Ammann last year was aboput thesame quality, then we lucked out and got Rimando for free. Nicky is the best GK United has ever had.

    Lisi showed promise last year under Rongen than soured under Hudson. He was then traded to the metros where he has not been able to help them although he was given the opportunity by Zambrano. I'm beginning to think he was overated in the Superdraft at #3.

    If Lisi was overated than who should we have taken? The obvious answer is Vaca, who went #5. At the time of the draft, it was rationalized that we didn't pick Vaca because we figured he'd be in Europe in a year or two. Looking back at that rationalization, it looks very weak. Sure Vaca has developed nicely but the MLS hierarchy looks like it has every intention to hold onto it's own and with the Euro leagues having financial problems, I seriously doubt that they'll sell Vaca anytime soon.

    So for Agoos and Presthus we got one future superstar in Quaranta- a decent trade in the long run though not good in the sort term. We could have gotten Quaranta and Vaca (or possibly Tino and someone else), which in the long run would have amounted to a steal regardless of what Agoos did with the e-Quakes last year.

    However there is a complication to thinking we should have drafted Vaca- SI's. Too many of them. Not for last season though but for this season. Last winter we had too many SI's and so we had to trade Armstrong to KC. We got lucky as we got value in return (Prideaux) but KC fans are very thankful to us for given them a guy with an obviously bright future. Just imagine that if we were able to keep Armstrong he and Convey would have been our normal two starting wingers this season (until Olsen finally got back). We would have won at least two more games already this year I guess given our offensive woes of late. If we had gotten Vaca too we would have had to dump two SI's last winter and realizing that it's hard to predict what would have happened....

    So bottom line is that the 2001 trades are starting to turn in United's favor with Nelsen's development and Quaranta's promise and Agoos' injuries. In three years it will be all United. Quaranta and Nelsen should be perennial all-stars long after Llamosa and Agoos retire.
  2. Th4119

    Th4119 Member

    Jul 26, 2001
    Annandale, VA
    Great analysis all around, Skip. I couldn't agree more with what you posted here.
  3. DigitalTron

    DigitalTron New Member

    Apr 4, 2001
    Arlington, VA
    Great stuff Skip! I also agree with most of that analysis, but good luck getting people to realize that.

    I've been a big Santino fan since before he joined United, but I think now a lot more of us realize the value of that trade. Goos was and is great, but you gotta make the trade to get a player like Santino, too much upside, local and can be a finisher, creator, aerial player, fast player, forward or winger, and he even plays defense. Too good to pass up.

    I think Nelsen was thrown in at a position (Dmid) that is probably the most difficult on the pitch. It requires reading the game even better than being a Creative Central Playmaking Mid. With the speed difference between college and MLS, no college kids make that adjustment well. Martino has done a great job but he rarely had to make decisions quickly being in the midfield of a 433 lineup. Nelsen did OK when he was moved to center back under Rongen. This season he has improved, but part of that is probably because he was used to being a lot better than his college competition and simply wasn't prepared for MLS. After a year of preparation, he's a lot better prepared. And, he's playing center back where he sees everything in front of him and has to make many fewer decisions. It's basicly vision and marking with the ability to communicate that to your back line mates. I don't think Rongen did anything wrong in Nelsen's development ... except maybe not taking advantage of his aerial ability on set pieces.

    I said at the time and continue to say that Ryan Suarez or Eddie Johnson would have been my pick at #3, not Lisi.

    We didn't pick Vaca because it wouldn't have been prudent to have the Bolivian legend at odds with the next Bolivian #10 while they both compete for the attacking mid spot. I'm sure the front office saw that.

  4. ursula

    ursula Member

    Feb 21, 1999
    Republic of Cascadia
    I failed to mention who C-bus took with that #10 we traded with Presthus for the #3: Duncan Oughton.
    it's interesting to look back at the 2001 draft because right now it looks suprisingly thin. You've got four picks that look real solid in Nelsen, Vaca, Suarez, and Quaranta. Then you have Faria who I don't think will peak as well as the above three but should be in MLS for years. Then there's Johnson. also in round 2 (so was Faria) who most likely will be as good as any of the big four above, just that injuries slowed him down this year. After these six there's a drop to the #1 pick Carrieri, and another drop to Oughton then we get to journeymen like Mullen and Lisi, and then, quickly, A-league guys. To sum up, less than one round's worth of good picks although maybe there's a late bloomer. looking at the draft this way, that we came away with two of the best six or seven who are becoming stars is still a damn good draft.
  5. DigitalTron

    DigitalTron New Member

    Apr 4, 2001
    Arlington, VA

    Don't look now, but Chris Carrieri is the Rapids' leadign scorer ... he has 9 freaking goals and 5 assists. That's only one less goal and one MORE assist than Jeff Cunningham.

    I was surprised to see this.

  6. mcontento

    mcontento Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Catalina Wine Mixer
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Re: Carrieri

    Actually that would be Chris Henderson with 25 pts, but he is tied for second with Mark Chung at 23 pts. Still, he is top 10 in the league in scoring, not too shabby.

    Faria really gets underrated a lot in my book. He was ROY last year and has 21 pts (12th in league) thus far this year, again not too shabby. Pretty good for someone nobody had heard of before the draft (I recall the Jets, I mean Metros, fans booing the selection).
  7. DigitalTron

    DigitalTron New Member

    Apr 4, 2001
    Arlington, VA
    Re: Re: Carrieri

    Ahh, quite right, my bad. But, given the Rapids' forward situation, that's still very impressive. And, Carrieri is outscoring everyone else from the Rookie class of 2002, including Faria and the oft-injured Santino, which is quite surprising.

  8. Topo

    Topo Member

    Feb 15, 2001
    Unfortunately, Faria has pretty much been better than any 2 forwards on our team this year.

    But, really, we gave Presthus and Agoos for Quaranta, Nelsen, and Lisi (who we traded for Villegas). I'm not sure I want to call Presthus/Agoos for Quaranta/Nelsen/Villegas a success just yet.

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