The transfer window has swung open, accompanied by movement both between MLS and parts foreign and within the league itself. DC has busied itself by offloading Sudamericanos and importing Earthquakes. The latest to land on the VDub bulls-eye is Ivan Guerrero, the left-sided midfielder and defender who was one of Chicago's key players prior to Osorio's arrival in Fire-land and his subsequent departure to San Jose in the Expansion Draft.
So what's my take on the trade?
It's hard not to like this deal. We gave up very little (the nebulous "partial allocation") for a solid pro and versatile veteran player who is a proven commodity in MLS. The only possible negative is that he carries a fairly significant cap hit, though the Goffster says the Quakes will cover part of that salary. Of course, if I'm remembering the numbers right, we're paying Peralta more than what Guerrero makes, so if push came to shove, I know who I'd be shipping out if the off-season numbers don't jibe. The other potential niggle is that he'll be absent for international play with Honduras, and we all know that MLS doesn't brake for international dates.
Let's hit some of the upshots of this deal.
* Guerrero is a genuine wide threat in attack. He's good on the ball, can hit a cross, and has a bit of speed. While he can play as a left back, I think it's more likely that we'll play him as a left mid when everybody is healthy. That lets us move Fred to the right and push Quaranta up top to spell Moreno in the withdrawn forward role, which gives us not only a rested Jaime, but Tino playing where I think he plays best.
* While Guerrero can play left back, he doesn't really solve the defensive problems. We can play him on the left and move Martinez inside, but I think Martinez has been most effective for us as a wide back. We already had a decent left back to cover for Martinez in Burch, and moving Martinez to right back pushes Namoff inside, where he's not as effective as he is out wide. So we have some depth in wide midfield and at fullback, but the main defensive issues remain. Namely, I'd still like one more strong central defender, and, of course, there's the whole goalkeeping mess still to be addressed.
* Getting back to Guerrero as a wide midfielder, the other benefit is that he works really hard defensively and covers a lot of ground on the wing--something that neither Fred nor Tino really provide, and something we've been missing without Gros and Olsen. Guerrero can potentially help out Simms defensively, freeing Gallardo a bit. And just imagine the possibilities of Martinez overlapping with Guerrero. Potentially mouth-watering. Note the "potentially"--we've still got to see what Guerrero is going to bring to the party.
* And while we're on that point . . . could Guerrero's ability as a genuine wide player be the missing dimension in attack that many (myself included) have been harping on about? Both Fred and Tino are players that drift inside and aren't ever going to threaten with their crosses. We've seen faint signs of what semi-accurate crossing from wide areas can do with Thompson and Cordeiro. Expanding the attacking repertoire can only help.
Let's sum up with some of the boxes we can tick off with the acquisition of Guerrero. Tricky wide player with a bit of speed who can cross? BIG CHECK! Depth on the wings? Check. More steel in a midfield unbalanced in favor of attacking play? Check. Depth in defense? Check--but not in the areas that need it most. Depth at forward? Check--assuming Guerrero at left mid frees Fred/Tino to play as a withdrawn forward in relief of, or in place of, Moreno. That's a lot of boxes checked by one player--kudos to the FO.
So, with Martinez out suspended and Peralta still on the shelf, what does Tommy do this weekend against KC. It's probably too early to just dump Guerrero into a back line that he's not familiar with. Personally, I'd go with Burch-McTavish-Namoff-Carroll across the back. You might flip Namoff and Carroll, but at this point, I think you go with the more experienced head in the middle. In midfield, I'd go with Guerrero-Fred-Simms-Thompson. I'd have preferred Fred on the right with Jaime playmaking behind Doe and Emilio, but Doe's infected toe has put the kibosh on that. And having two kids on the right is a bit worrying now that I think about it.
Ah well, here's hoping for some more positive signs at RFK tomorrow night. It can't get any worse than the Houston debacles, right? Um, why am I hearing crickets?