Be not fooled by these moves involving names you know in Seattle and at D.C. United. There is a lot more work to be done, and perhaps a shift in philosophies is even in order at both MLS addresses.
For Seattle, moving Mauro Rosales to Chivas USA was a swell stroke. Not a master stroke, but a good bit of business. The club was finished with Rosales, so getting anything from any club rings the bell of success. As it happens, they get Tristan Bowen, a forward who can help provide some depth once the club finds a home for Eddie Johnson.
(You don’t really think Johnson has another year at CenturyLink, do you?)
Plus, the Sounders are now No. 2 in the allocation process, a nice place to be.
All this happens a day after D.C. United added some midfield depth in Davy Arnaud.
Here’s the deal on both clubs: they have a history of favoring the splashy move over something less sexy. Less sexy usually means “spending money on quality defenders.”
Some of us have been hollering about D.C. United’s woeful defense for years. Yes, the attack at RFK was horrendous last year, and that had a lot of our poison pens jumping. But the Black and Red defense was something to hide from children, too. At 59 goals allowed, Ben Olsen’s group was second worst among 19 MLS teams.
Word to D.C. United: want to get better? Get better men to perform in front of your young, talented goalkeeper, who is too inexperienced to shepherd such a ramshackle bunch.
Seattle needs to bolster its back line, too. No, the Sounders defense wasn’t D.C. United-esque. But it wasn’t good enough for a team serious about contending for an MLS championship. It looked a little better due to protection from the league’s top holding midfielder, Osvaldo Alonso. Past that? Meh.
Seattle likes its chosen DPs to play nearer to the other goal. So does D.C. United. In fairness, most teams do, too. But the moves ahead for these two high-profile outfits need to acknowledge a basic truth of the biz: defense wins championships.
Oh, about your newly crowned MLS Cup winners, Sporting Kansas City: Peter Vermes’ club was tops this year in goals conceded at 30, or less than one per game.