28 January 2008

Degrees of Greatness

Lest I become a complete cheerleader for all things Kasper and Payne, let me suggest that the idea of Gallardo becoming a Designated Player selection, as hinted in this morning's writings from the Goffather, strikes me as a bit troubling.

... it is uncertain whether Gallardo will participate right away or wait until camp moves to Bradenton, Fla., on Wednesday. It also is unclear whether United is acquiring him through MLS's year-old designated player rule, which allows clubs to sign high-profile players, such as David Beckham, outside normal salary guidelines.

That we would let Christian Gomez go because we didn't want to use our Designated Player slot on Gomez is understandable, but only if you have a decent list of impact choices that you would want to use that slot on. But to turn around and use that option on Gomez's replacement, well, that strikes me as a misstep (and one that I hope to see soon isn't being taken.) Let me put it this way - Let's stipulate for a moment that Gallardo will be a better playmaker than Gomez. But Gomez was, I think we can all agree, one of the better playmakers compared to the rest of MLS. So in essence we're banking that Gallardo will give us more improvement as a playmaker than we could reasonable expect to see then if we brought in a playmaker in any other position (say, a winger, or wingback, or center back). Even certain neutrals agree that right now our defense is a bit suspect (even if I disagree with said neutrals on the efficacy of signing Mr. Vanney to fill that hole.) And that's an argument I don't buy, not for a moment, even stipulating that Gallardo is all we want. Is this really worth giving Gallardo what we could have given Christian Gomez (who's about the same age, and we don't have any questions as to whether Christian would be disinterested on the pitch), and not ruffled all these feathers as a result? I doubt it.

So, right now, I'm willing to welcome Gallardo to DC, but a Designated Player acquisition would be a price too high.

UPDATE: I forgot the reason I titled this post what I did in the first place. Yes, to talk about the incremental differences between Gallardo and Gomez, but also to discuss my statement that "Gomez is not a legend" at United. I stand by that statement (for now, though my thinking can change.) He certainly was a great player while he was here, but a Legend to me is someone who fundamentally shapes the entire franchise and its history, and I'm not quite sure he's at the iconic level of an Etcheverry or Moreno. One Anonymous commenter makes a case for Pope, which is good, especially since he scored the single most important goal in defining United for a decade to come, so I can see that. Dave Lifton makes the case for Gomez here.

Oh, and there's a ton to talk about right now, isn't there?

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At 28 January, 2008 10:58, Anonymous Mickey said...

For the sake of argument, I think the argument AGAINST using the DP on Gomez are stronger than the argument FOR using the DP on Gallardo. The DP is an odd asset that can be used for marketing the team or for on-field impact. How each team weighs the value of a given DP candidate through these sometimes competing agendas is a process that we outsiders can only speculate on. Through the snarky aside slipped to Goff last week about Gomez's emotionally invested negotiation position, I think the team may have felt that, with age and with attitude, Gomez was good but not great. I doubt K.S.P. are foolish enough to whole-heartedly believe the Gallardo is THE ANSWER; however, I like their willingness to take big risks and beef-up the roster in spite of sitting comfrotably with our existing players.

At 28 January, 2008 11:06, Blogger D said...

Mickey: Oh, I agree. There are many reasons not to use a DP on Gomez. The thing is, they also apply to Gallardo. It doesn't make sense to me to give the DP to Gallardo if the sticking point with Gomez was the DP money. Gallardo may be better than Christian, but is he really the best marginal improvement this team could make with the DP acquisition? My position is "no."

At 28 January, 2008 12:47, Anonymous Terp said...

If Gomez had displayed his 2006 form in 2007, I MIGHT think he was worthy of DP money/status. But he was good-not-great in 2007, IMO. I agree that given Gallardo's age and recent form he is also unworthy of that status.

I also happen to agree with you on Gomez's legacy. He's no United legend. He hasn't been here long enough for that.

All that said, I loved the ball at Christian's feet and I have very fond memories of him pounding the drum in the stands at (I think) the Meadowlands during his suspension.

At 28 January, 2008 13:54, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Disappointing that United and MLS weren't able to find a way to grandfather CG in at a price he and the team could agree to. Sure, he's not worth a CG slot, but MLS grants exemptions on everything else, so why not something like this. It's sort of apples and oranges, but I'd rather have CG + some random skillsy forward than Gallardo + Jaime.

At 28 January, 2008 13:55, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not worth a *DP* slot. But he is worth a CG slot.

At 28 January, 2008 20:43, Blogger Oscar M. said...

I think too that a reason not to use our DP on Gomez is that MLS nad/or DCU do not want to set a precedent of promoting from within to DP (hence the grandfathering of LD, Ruiz, EJ). The DP slot is as much about acquiring marketable, recognized players from outside MLS as it is about improving the on-the-field product. If exceptional players from within MLS could reasonably expect to get DP money, then I think the league would perceive a lot of money it'd freed up to bring in players to please the Eurosnobs wasted on known quantities. Getting Gallardo will bring in SA fans to RFK, probably Argentineans but others too, who have so far been cool to DC United.

At 29 January, 2008 11:17, Anonymous Rick in Ashburn said...

Respectfully, I think the only reason Gomezis not a "legend" in DC is that it is too soon to his great accomplishments.

We would not have won our 4th cup without him in 2004 (we were struggling around the .500 mark when he came aboard, I believe)and certainly would not have won either of the last two supporter shields as well.

There were large stretches of 2005 & 2006 years where he was quite simply our only legit scoring option (not including Moreno's PK acumen).

That said, I think it is better to get rid of player (even of Gomez's level) a year too soon than to do it a year (or two) too late. To draw a comparison, that is why the pointyball N.E. Patriots have been so successful.

At 29 January, 2008 11:43, Blogger The Manly Ferry said...

Hey. Just want to leap to my defense on the Vanney situation. With the arrival of both Peralta and Martinez, the apparent urgency of getting Vanney re-signed dries up. If DC can keep him for depth, swell. But, no, I wouldn't break the bank on the guy either, not now.

Interesting post above, by the way. It'll be interesting to watch Gallardo this year...and that's just about the only way you'll find out what you gained with him over Gomez.

At 11 March, 2008 04:21, Blogger Michael said...

Was CG as good in the 2007 campaign as he was in the 2006 campaign? I may be in the minority here, but I feel that in fact he was. The difference is that he took a back seat role to the two Brazilian signings which relegated him to a supporting role. But, should United be using a DP on a supporting role player?

In my mind CG was the soul of the team, both as a leader and a player.

With that said, soccer is a business. CG's monetary negotiations seemed as if they were a little tough. So, to be able to pull a player with Gallardo's credentials for what is apparently a more reasonable price may be a good decision. Especially in light of the other recent signings to help bolster the lackluster defense. Even is Gallardo's play doesn't match the quality of CG's, the money saved and reallocated may have helped the team more than the loss.

Was this a good decision? Ask us all again next year when hindsight is at our disposal. Until then, GO DC UNITED.


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