X-Mas present for D.C. United fans? The Washington Post is reporting this afternoon that United has sold popular forward Alecko Eskandarian to the expansion Toronto FC. This comes on the heels of a flurry of deals, as United retools, and might be the biggest loss yet. Having traded Freddy Adu, Nick Rimando and Brandon Prideaux earlier this month, United has now dealt the MVP of the 2004 MLS Cup. The son of a former New York Cosmos fan favorite, Esky has become a fan favorite himself, in D.C. He missed most of 2005 with post-concussion syndrome, but he had a strong comeback this past season.
United's technical director, Kevin Payne, indicated that the money received for Esky will go to the signing of one or two Latin American players. According to Payne, United is "on the verge of signing major contributors." The Washington Post's Steven Goff writes that an announcement of at least one signing may come next week. It will have to a heckuva holiday gift to make up for losing Eskandarian.
Of course, United built its brand largely on the play of Latin American stars, including Marco Etcheverry, Raul Diaz Arce and Jaime Moreno. In recent years, United has had rather mixed results with Latin American signings. Christian Gomez has exceeded all expectations, and Facundo Erpen has found a regular starting job, but other signings have not been especially successful. The problem is that United has been trying to get lucky with castoffs. It sounds as if United will be aiming much higher with the upcoming signings, seeking proven talents. Post report on Eskandarian trade. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/22/AR2006122200833.html