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Instant Improvement: MLS Trade Targets

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I posed an idea Tuesday afternoon on Twitter that got people talking and Drew brought up the bright idea of taking a look at some potential players that would be available and could instantly help FC Dallas from day one.

When looking at players to trade for, you have to keep in mind that Dallas doesn't have a ton to offer in the way of tradeable players with value that you could stand to lose. What they do have is a potentially top 3-5 first round draft pick and Toronto FC's second round pick, then there's the always mysterious allocation money. Also, you have to take into account is a player's cap hit and international's a very inexact science and these are just a few players that Drew and I have identified. You never really know what's in the works and what could potentially keep one team from going after a player.

1. Justin Braun (USA) - F - Montreal Impact ($102,000/$104,500)

This was the original name I posed and you've got to be thinking that MLS teams are sniffing around after this guy. You can see why Jesse Marsch wanted to bring him in having played with him at Chivas USA. However, with Marco Di Vaio as well as Andrew Wenger and Sanna Nyassi at forward, Braun has found starts hard to come by with just 12 appearance and 5 starts to his name.

Braun is a guy I've wanted in Dallas for quite awhile and considering Montreal only gave up James Riley and some cash for him, you wonder if he's a guy you could pry away from Montreal. I could see him easily slotting in as the backup forward at a price that you can certainly fit into the salary cap. With 17 goals and 8 assists in 2010 and 2011 combined, he's a guy that knows how to score and could really make an impact(get it?) on this team.

Cost: Drew seems to think the 2nd round TFC pick could get him, I'm not convinced it would be that low, but maybe throw in some money and an international spot and you could work something out. It would even be tempting to give up the first round pick if it gets the job done. Right now you absolutely need someone at forward and Braun could change things from day one.

2. Wells Thompson (USA) - F/W - Colorado Rapids ($87,188, $95, 313)

I've actually always disliked Wells Thompson and the game he brings, but I think it could fit here in Dallas. He's a tirelessly hard worker out on the wing and while you can argue FCD doesn't need wing help, I think they could use a player with the engine of Thompson's to either come in as a substitute or as an off striker in a 4-4-2 system. He's fallen a bit out of favor in Colorado recent under Oscar Pareja and the window may be open to grab him.

Cost: I think the 2nd round pick may be overpaying a bit for him, maybe a 3rd rounder would do the trick.

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3. Amobi Okugo (USA) - D/M - Philadelphia Union ($90,000/$173,000)

This is my most ambitious of the three. Since seeing him with the USA U20's way back in Dallas Cup 2010, I've had a soccer crush on this guy. He never really blossomed under Peter Nowak, but it seems that the change of coaches may have ignited his game and made it too late to get this guy on the cheap. He's a physically dominant, rangy defensive midfielder/defender that you could slot in as a long term replacement at the position, or at least as competition for Bobby Warshaw, and at 21 years old he's still a learning player despite being in his third season. James Marcelin has done very well in a stopgap role, but I'm not sure he's a viable long term option.

As I mentioned earlier, the problem is Okugo has started the last five games for Philadelphia in their rebirth under John Hackworth and it may be too late.

Cost: This would possibly be the kind of guy you could fetch for George John and some money/draft pick, but it's probably too late.

Related: FCD at the Midway Point: Transaction Scorecard | Follow Daniel on Twitter | Follow Drew on Twitter

4. Ben Zemanski (USA) - M - Chivas USA ($57,690/ $60,190)

This would be one of those depth pieces that would make sense over time. View it as another Eric Alexander or something along those lines. Zemanski is a quality young player with decent enough MLS experience that would be a good fit under Schellas Hyndman. He can play multiple spots in the midfield but is fairly strong on the flank. We've said a lot this season how FCD has lacked some depth on the wings and he would be a solid addition to bring on late in games to hold the midfield together or even be a slight spark when needed.

Cost: Easily a draft pick, likely a second rounder - plus allocation would do the trick. FCD could also swap him straight up for a younger piece that is on the roster someone like Bruno Guarda.

5. Ryan Guy (USA) - M/F - New England Revolution ($44,100/$44,100)

Lack of depth up top has been an issue, that we know. If Braun doesn't work out, Guy could easily be a guy that could be work trading given his status with the Revs and his price tag. He's dirt cheap in terms of cap room and since New England has two capable forwards at the moment in Jerry Bengtson and Saer Sene, Guy's stock has fallen down the depth charts considerably.

Now he may not be the sexy name to trade for but I see him as an improvement over Scott Sealy at the moment. Guy can also play the wing and provide the depth and cover there. He could be that spark off the bench that Hyndman has also been searching for this season.

Cost: Draft pick - likely a supplemental one or even a conditional one at best. It all comes down in how much the Revs value the guy and how badly they are searching for defensive help. Dallas could throw in a big piece like John and hope to reel in some big allocation from the deal.

6. Joao Plata (Ecuador) - F - Toronto FC ($50,000/$50,000)

This one would be super tricky to make happen given his international status. Toronto paid a hefty sum of money to get his full rights from his old club in Ecuador this past off season. But saying all of that he has fallen out of favor in Toronto and doesn't seem to be in the mix with Paul Mariner and his staff now days (he hasn't played in a regular season game since May). He's stated he wants to go back to South America and if he can't get all the way there then Dallas has to be the next best stop.

Again this one would be super tricky but worth it given how well Plata scores in the right set up. He's a crafty, speedy player. He's small and would be a lot like Fabian Castillo but I'd argue he has a little better touch at the moment than Castillo.

Cost: Given Toronto's defensive issues, it would be something big like a George John. Dallas could dangle that second round draft pick that they have from Toronto back at the Reds as well or even dangle that first rounder.