Ultimately the Outrage I Find Can Not Sustain Itself
I am not without pettiness. Part of me reads the story of the falling-out between Christian Gomez and D.C. United, and I want to be incensed at Christian for not showing enough loyalty to come back at the terms United offered. The terms offered were decent -- $300K to $350K per year in cap space. Gomez wanted $500K a year which meant $400K in cap space. You can look at that and say "Hey, that's a difference of only $100K under the cap at most, why not? He has earned it, and the money above the cap is fairly nominal for a Designated Player." But, of course, it would have meant abandoning the opportunity of pursuing another Designated Player, and United judged the opportunity cost as too high. In which case you're thinking "Hey, it's few hundred thousand to stay, why can't he come down, work with us here?"
I am sure there are those in their heart of hearts who will feel betrayed by this. Then they will point to Christian's performance, wonder if he ever really could handle the full MLS Season, wonder aloud about his willingness to learn English, and question if he was ever really part of the culture at D.C. United. These people should, of course, be hit in the head with a two-by-four. Christian Gomez is the player who is single-most responsible for bringing home three trophies: Two Supporter's Shields and one MLS Cup. He's the link among the three successful (as in silverware winning) campaigns between 2004 and 2007. He may not have communicated in the locker-room, but he communicated plenty on the field. As for the English thing, I offer you the following joke:
Q: What's the difference between Christan Gomez and Alexi Lalas speaking English?
A: You can at least translate Christian Gomez sensibly.
So ultimately there was a difference of opinion, and Christian wants to go. Fine. He will be missed. If there is a sadness, it is that Christian will not play enough in a United uniform to truly become one of the great legends of United, a Marco Etcheverry, a Jaime Moreno. Instead he'll be one tier down in that list of great players who spent some time here, but didn't define the organization by their presence (John Harkes, Raul Diaz Arce, Eddie Pope). A Great, not a Legend.
So, no, I can harbor no ill-will with Christian Gomez as for how things ended, no can I get outraged at the front office for not keeping him. There is such a thing as a no-fault divorce, and now both have grown in different directions, apart from each other. It is sad, but short of signing Right Back Hayley Mills and Left Back Hayley Mills, I think reconciliation is unlikely. That's the way it goes sometimes. It's sad, very sad, but it isn't worth outrage. We'll wait for the final word before saying good-bye, but we are waiting.