Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Veron to DC United on Again?

Ives reported Monday that the earlier reports of Juan Sebastian Veron’s possible move to DC United next season is closer than ever. Veron would become United’s Designated Player Allocation signing if this comes through. Assuming that this happens, what does this do for the club next season? Does anyone have to get the boot if Veron makes his way to the Black & Red?

I am not so sure if he will join up, but if he does join the club in it’s current configuration, United’s depth at midfield will be a whole helluva lot deeper. I wrote about how I see Veron changing the midfield possibilities for Tom Soehn and giving more guys chances to get rest rather than get gassed, but considering just how Veron would fit into the club is a bit of a mystery.

Based on the current situation, United has the DPA slot open, so having to trade for one isn’t required. United also has their fourth Senior International Roster spot open, so there isn’t a need to trade away someone to free up that type of roster spot. The main question is if United has the money to sign Veron, without being forced to give up anyone from the roster.

So if United needs to make some space on the roster, who goes? Do we see the retirement of Jamie Moreno make way for Veron to move into the midfield and see Fred get moved up into the withdrawn forward slot? Considering his out put this season, his age and the chance to retire on top of the league both goal wise and with a 5th MLS Cup, I wouldn’t blame the guy for riding out into the sunset. However, considering that he has found a new lease on his international career with the Bolivian National Team and the form of United when he isn’t on the field, I would think that Jamie feels that he has some mileage left in his legs.

Do we see current MLS MVP Christian Gomez move on as his current contract is up at the end of the season? Half of a season removed from his MVP performance, Gomez is a popular target for internet pundits as an under performer as he isn’t “tearing” up the league as he did last season. As he rejected the rumored $325,000 a year contract extension that United offered because he wanted the DPA slot, will he even consider returning if Veron is to be signed?

I would like, in a perfect world, to see both Jamie and Christian remain with the club and for them to bring in Veron. I personally do not subscribe to those who suggest that both Jamie and Christian are shadows of their former selves from last season to this. Is their production down from last season? Yes, neither of them are scoring as many goals as they did last season. When they are off the field, does United still look like a strong club? Sometimes, but not really in my opinion. I honestly think that the reason why we are not seeing Gomez and Moreno tearing up MLS is because they no longer have to. When United brought in Emillio and Fred, damn near all the pressure to score and create chances was taken off of Jamie and Christian’s shoulders. The re-emergence of Ben Olsen as an offensive threat has further relived Go & Mo of having to do everything on their own. In fact, I honestly think that Gomez and Moreno are actually enjoying a better season this year, because they have better support around them and can play a looser game than they did last season.

So if they are playing better this season because of Fred & Emillio, why even bring in Veron? Why not just sign Gomez to a new, higher paying, DPA salary and get Moreno to stay on with the club? I think that United should still try to sign Veron simply because he is a great midfield playmaker and as we have seen with the inclusion of Fred & Emillio; bringing in creative players allows those creative players already in the club more freedom to play the game, instead of having to carry the games.

Bringing Veron in would allow for better midfield rotation and more offensive chances for United. Before Fred & Emillio were brought in, clubs simply had to hack Go & Mo and United floundered and became predictable and dead in the water. United brought in Emillio & Fred and now (when all on the field) clubs have got to focus on Gomez, Fred, Moreno, & Emillio. Hell, if they forget to watch Benny, he can drop in a few goals and still kill you. If Veron is included in that grouping, consider the possibilities. You cover both Gomez and Fred, Veron still gets the ball to Moreno or Emillio. You cover Emillio & Veron, Gomez runs the ball into the box and passes to Fred or Olsen.

I honestly think that the biggest reason why DC United should sign Veron, along with trying to retain Gomez & Moreno is Veron’s impact off the field, as in that United can keep guys off the field at times. As we are seeing right now, Tom Soehn is doing a helluva job rotating guys into the defense and midfield. McTavish, Vanney, & Bozilla are all getting their chances to start and get rest, which when we hit the Copa Nissan Sudamericana and the MLS Cup Playoffs, will be huge for our defensive posture. With Gros coming back, he gives Soehn a chance to give Olsen a breather, or Fred a rest, without truly having the midfield suffer.

If you toss Veron into this mix, we could see Veron start on a Thursday night match, then Gomez start a Sunday afternoon match, without the loss of any creativity and seeing both guys remain fresh for the entire season. Fred and Gomez would be able to be used to give Emillio a night off or Moreno or Olsen. Bringing Veron into the club would further the depth and stamina of the club.

Now it is rumored that because of the “success” of the Designated Player Allocation, MLS might jump their timetable and increase the minimum number of DPAs a club can have from 1 to 2 (without having to trade for a second). If that does happen, United would be able to sign Veron and maybe trade the second one for either allocation money for Gomez, or even use the second one on Gomez. It is also rumored that Garber & Co. will provide a significant increase in the Salary Cap for next season, which would either allow United to increase their offer for Gomez, or actually pay money to some of the lower paid players. If either of these rumors do come true, United should move on Veron.

Adding Veron to DC United would be a huge thing for the club and the league. A player who has seen success in Italy & Argentina as well as having been through the UEFA Champions League and the EPL with Manchester United & Chelsea can bring in a wealth of knowledge that the league saw when David Beckham was actually on the field for the Galaxy. When he was on the field, they were an entirely different side. When he was off…they were horrible. Not to say that United is horrible, but I have a feeling that with Veron on the field, we will all see a DC United that is a step faster and sharper, which doesn’t bode well for the rest of MLS.

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