Sunday night’s announcement that FC Dallas is looking to trade prized Homegrown midfielder Kellyn Acosta to the Colorado Rapids in exchange for forward Dominic Badji (and some other assets) sent shock waves through the fanbase and across MLS.
As we get into a new week and likely a new era with this team post-Kellyn, it is worth diving into this deal to see really what FC Dallas is getting out of this and why it actually makes sense to get rid of a player like Acosta.
Contract is over at the end of 2018
Last year was the Year of Kellyn in most of our eyes up until about July when the entire team began to crap the bed on the field. The struggle in play last summer has been talked about and documented enough on this site that I don’t feel like I have to go into it too much here.
The point is, it is possible FC Dallas missed their chance last year to sell Acosta and they are learning from that mistake this season. Just look at the recent transfers of Anton Nedyalkov and Mauro Diaz to know that this front office group has really learned the hard way that if you don’t sell at the right time, things can fall apart.
Acosta was a guy that was always sought after by foreign clubs but as the team’s performance dipped last year, so did those offers. Toss in the fact that he spent a third of this season on the mend with a sports hernia, and I am willing to bet the offers dried up entirely.
This trade is more of unloading a big asset before he could leave them on a free transfer. That may be the most important part of this deal. Sure, the Rapids may get a small transfer fee in the end for him if they play their cards right but more than likely, this coming winter he will be gone to Europe.
Center midfield depth is stacked
Another big reason for FC Dallas to make this move now is because of their depth. Center midfield has become easily the deepest spot on the roster. The emergence of Jacori Hayes this season when Acosta was on the mend is proof of that but also look further down the pipe and you’ll see Brandon Servania waiting in the wings and a slew of other potential Homegrown players in the Academy system.
I know there are folks out there that have not like the Victor Ulloa and Carlos Gruezo pairing in the midfield but lately it has been working. Dallas continues to get wins because of those two and how they are working in the midfield with one another.
Badji brings proven scoring
I’ll point this one out pretty quickly here. Badji has seven goals on the season, which isn’t a world beating number but it is something. Take that when you look at the fact that Maxi Urruti hasn’t scored in two months (boy when he goes cold, he goes very cold), Michael Barrios is a shell of his 2017 self, Santiago Mosquera just left last weekend’s game with a hamstring injury (again!) and the Cristian Colman experiment appears dead in the water (possibly more due to his ankle sprain these days).
New scenery for Kellyn
The last one may also be the most underrated of the bunch. Fernando Clavijo and Oscar Pareja have always wanted to do right by their guys and this may very well be one that they had to think long and hard about. Naturally you don’t just trade a player like Acosta without giving it some serious thought and consideration.
Look back at the way things ended last season for Dallas. I remember going into the locker room after the win over LA and talking to Kellyn. It wasn’t the words he said that day that made me think differently but his tone gave a pretty true sense that he felt his time was potentially up in Dallas. That could have easily been due to how the season unfolded in the end but he already looked like he had one foot out the door at the time.
This move gives him a (potentially brief) exit from Dallas. He’s still very young and right now he probably needs to see a different part of the country before he goes off on his European adventure. Colorado will give him an opportunity to play more minutes and be one of the main guys again. Something his confidence likely needs right now.
In the end it is tough but I think we can all be happy for Kellyn at this point in his career and hope he does go on to Europe to do the things we all believe he is capable of doing.