What Do You Give Up?

The word from the Goffblog is that Troy Perkins is on his way back stateside. Seeing as how DC United are currently carrying a giant man-child, a wishful-thinking 2nd round draft pick, and an injured loonball as our competitors for goalkeeping spots, one would leap to the immediate conclusion that there has to be some interest from the FO (since confirmed by the tireless Goff), in a proven commodity. The question is: what are you willing to give up?

I should first get it out there that I wasn't a huge fan of Perkins... until he left. Given the disasters we've had since then, the seeming lack of viable alternatives, and the fact that Perkins is fighting for one of the three keeper spots in Bradley's 23 for South Africa, I'd be extremely interested in him now. But Perkins goes into the allocation mill, where we have a higher than usual pick, but we'll definitely need to trade up in order to grab him before some other desperate suitor does.

Once again: what are you willing to give up?

I'm just going to ignore the sort of dreaming that inspires the "we'll send them Gomez!" or "Wicks plus a third-rounder!" crowd. Not going to happen. Perkins is a hot property, and we're going to have to make a sacrifice to land him. And it won't be a Fred-shaped sacrifice either, unless his potential has suddenly blossomed in the eyes of other MLS FO's.

I think all eyes should be resting with vague curiosity on Danny Szetela. Was last year an abberation or the fault of a conflict with the coach? Does he have something more to give this team? If so, where does he slot in? Does he play in the middle next to Simms or wide on the right, freeing Quaranta to play up top with Pontius or between a lone striker and a holding pair? Szetela's age and demonstrated ability with the youth national teams would seem to indicate that his potential has yet to be reached, but do you bank on potential, or do you sacrifice that potential for what you really need now--a steady presence in the net?

Given the links between Szetela and Nowak, the fact that Nowak has two young keepers without much professional experience, and the relative lack of warm bodies on the playing roster in Philadelphia, I wonder if the Union would be interested in trading away that allocation spot for a Szetela + Wicks package deal. Is that even enough to tempt them, or does Nowak hold pat, waiting for a bigger prize to drop into his lap in the summer?



  1. Ironic as I was thinking today on the way into work how maybe we should have pocketed the allocation pick we used on Szetela, so we could have used it on Perkins now (hindsight 20-20). Maybe my MLS allocation history is messed up but I recall Szetela as being the last allocation option to come stateside.

    Whatever the case, I'd like to have my cake and eat it, too. Surely there is something else we could fork over besides a #7 draft pick.

  2. Dana- The allocation order gets reshuffled every year based on the end of season standings, plus Philadelphia would been slotted into the number 1 spot either way, so passing on Szetela would have had no impact on our standing with the current allocation listing.

    FF- I'm not sure I want to part with Szetela unless their is no clear spot for him in Onalfo's mind(and midfield). I'm all for bringing back perkins, but I think I have to list my 5 untouchables as Pontius, Quaranta, Wallace, Szetela, and Jakovic.(I've excluded Castillo because of his loan deal but he would be number 6). If we have to exchange the long term future of one of those 5 in order to acquire the 28 year old Perkins then I'm not sure we are really bettering ourselves that much during this minor rebuilding period. I know GK's tend to have a longer player career and 28 is young still for a GK, but still, is Perkins and the salary he will command, not to mention that we could lose him for 2 months to the World Cup in the middle of Summer, worth the sacrifice of part of our future?? That is for the DCU front office to decide, but I'm all for them finding a reasonable way to acquire Perkins with some spare parts or with Will Chang's money... :)

  3. The problem is that I didn't see enough from Szetela to convince me. Sure, maybe he'll flourish under a new coach, but that's not guaranteed. Perkins is a reliable starter, and, at 28, he's got at least 5-8 of his peak playing years ahead of him.

    I suppose it comes down to your risk-taking mentality. Do you gamble on a talented 22 year-old midfielder overcoming his behavior problems and panning out for you, or do you lock up your starting keeper for the next five years?

    Considering our weakness in net at the moment and the seeming lack of options, I'd chose the later. I wouldn't do it without having concerns about central midfield depth or wondering what might have been, but I'd pull the trigger on a deal if I could.

    That said, I won't be massively disappointed if we hang onto Szetela. He can slot in to a variety of roles and has the tools to be a really effective player if he keeps his head straight. I think he's good, just not indispensable. And if we want Perkins, we're going to need to give up something fairly valuable.

  4. I think I'm w/ Mr. Hund on this one. I've been hearing a lot of support for shipping Simms, too, which I'm less inclined to agree with, mostly because we just lost our other two D-Mids, and because Simms was voted team MVP by his teammates. If we can get Perkins for Szetela and nothing more, I'll consider it a steal.

  5. Why would Nowak want Szetela...because of his great playing at DCU? No. Because of his great play in Italy. No. Because of his great play at Cloumbus? No. Because he showed well in two games in an underage World Cup a few years back? Yeah, that must be it. Forget the four coaches who couldn't use him, go with his great play against 17 year olds.

    I want Perkins, but we'll have to give up an everyday player to get him and that will mean Pontius or Wallace or Simms and maybe even Santino. Are we willing to pay that price?

  6. I think you ignore, Anonymous, that Nowak might like Szetela more than you do. Beyond the Polish connection, he wanted to bring Szetela to United during his time here, and he included him in his squad for the Olympics a little over a year ago.

    And I don't know about you, but I thought Soehn was insane not to play Szetela more than he did. Sure, maybe the kid didn't put in the effort he needed to, but he's got talent and Soehn needed bodies. Not getting him minutes was just think-headed and stubborn.

    Digging a little deeper on that "coaches who couldn't use him" bit, and ignoring the 30+ appearances for the Crew (not great, but not bad for a teenager who wasn't happy at the club and who the coach wasn't particularly fond of)... Santander loaned him out, true, but he made nearly 30 appearances for a Serie B side (Brescia) before a coaching change fixed his butt to the bench.

    For another perspective, let's look at how we think of Tino now at 25. Just a couple of years ago, you'd have been forgiven for thinking he was destined for the scrap heap of American soccer and doomed to USL ignominy, despite the obvious talent and youth success. Now?

    Kid cleans up nice, don't he?

    I don't think Szetela is anywhere near that sort of career nadir, and Nowak is precisely the type who thinks he can set troubled players straight.

    So to your case of "why would Nowak want him?", I think Szetela is probably a bigger prize for Nowak than either Wallace or Pontius.

  7. The key here is what will Philly or anybody else who decides to allocate Perkins want for him. Fred has had two dissapointing seasons and Szetela is still unproven. Not very enticing.
    If we are to give up an everyday player for Perkins, such as Pontuis, Wallace, Santino, Simms, or even Jakovic, I would have to go with Simms. The others are all younger and have the potential to be top players. Although Simms is a solid DM and is revered by his teammates, I believe his career has peaked. But would he be enough to secure the deal?

  8. Why give up a proven MLS goal-keeper and future regular on the USMNT for a project just because he happens to share a Polish heritage? I just don't see it. Nowak is smarter than that and he will want proven value for Perkins. LA got Santino very cheaply and we got him back even more cheaply and he did pan out so maybe Philly gives us a back-up goalie or a lower round pick for Szetela, but not Perkins unless we package him with some additional incentives.

  9. Fullback- I think you've actually convinced me. I'm a big Szetela fan, though only because of his potential really and versatility. However, I was ignoring the facts that Nowak really does have a liking for him. If given the opportunity, I would trade Szetela for Perkins. However, I'm not sure that the answer is going to be that simple. I wish it were though. As per Goff this morning, it sounds like troy wants to return to DCU and that his representatives are trying to force that issue. Perhaps the league will step in, as they've done many times in the past, and work something out for the best interest of all involved...

  10. When did I say that the sole reason Nowak would want Szetela would be Polish heritage? I thought I outlined a pretty solid set of reasons he might be interested.

    And I highly doubt that Perkins is a future USMNT regular. He's a good MLS keeper. That's valuable, but Nowak already has two MLS-capable young guys to push each other for playing time. I'm not so sure he'd be that interested in taking Perkins in the first place.

    And I didn't suggest Szetela in isolation. The post says Szetela + Wicks, but upon reflection, I don't think Nowak would be that interested in Wicks. Of more interest would probably be a decent utility guy like McTavish or a cheap veteran like Burch, neither of whom I would look on as a huge loss.

    In the grand scheme of things, I think Nowak might hold onto his pick, hoping for a piece of the puzzle that he needs more, leaving us negotiating with the Red Bulls. Tough to say how shrewd Soler will be at this point.

  11. That last comment was directed at the Anonymous fella above you, Josh, not you. I stepped away for a moment before coming back to finish my comment and didn't see yours.

    Pointing out the league's role is astute, given its tendency to throw its heft around. If Nowak isn't interested, I wonder if Garber, et al start remembering how much Szetela wanted to be in New York when he signed with the league..?

  12. "Beyond the Polsh connection" sort of implies you think there is one.

    Perkins is the bubble boy right now with Hahneman for the three spot; at his age, it' safe to assume he'll be competing with the young guns (Guzan, Seitz, Cervi) for a spot on future teams.

    Perkins to the Red Bulls makes some sense. They get a keeper who's played in Scandinavia (where they seem to be doing most of their shopping) and Nowak either gets to hang onto his allocation position or maybe trades it in for the Red Bulls #1 pick to score Opara or Tchani.

    One final thought....if Nowak liked Szetela so much, why go for Jacobsen in the expansion draft? Maybe Danny just wasn't worth the money.

  13. @ Anonymous:
    Szetela was on DCU's protected list. Nowak couldn't have gotten him in that forum.

  14. "Beyond the Polish connection" also implies that there are reasons... uh, "beyond" Polish-ness. I wasn't defending the original statement I made, I was refuting the claim made in a comment that claimed my reasoning as consisting of "just shared Polish heritage" or something to that effect.

    Jaywag is spot-on about the protected list. Thanks, jaywag.

  15. Y'know, on reflection, I think I'd send Fred, the first round pick tomorrow, and maybe some allocation cash to Philly for Perkins. But it would need to get done about five minutes ago...

  16. AMT= it just got done! check out dcunited.com or goffs twitter! that's exactly what we traded to get him!

    Moreno Pontius\
    Castillo Simms Szetela Quaranta
    Wallace James Jakovic Namoff

    the team needs a striker and some depth but i like the possibilities... would have liked to draft Okugo tomorrow... but oh well