The world of Major League Soccer player transaction is nothing if not a complicated web of backroom transactions and intrigue. When you take out the chaos of the transfer market, where money is king, you create a kind of shadow economy, where different resources are worth different things.
It occurred to me, "What is the Number One Allocation Spot worth?"
What would it be worth to a team like NYCFC?
It's no secret Major League Soccer handles the bulk of contract negotiations with players coming back to the league. So when Pablo Mastroeni or Paul Bravo says that he doesn't know anything about a Tim Howard deal, it may be because it's Major League Soccer who is at the table doing the negotiating.
We've exhausted the topic of the Howard move making no sense for Colorado Rapids. We have goalkeepers and the goalkeeper spot wasn't one of need. What Colorado needed, and has needed, is to bulk up their attack--to make it more versatile and to have players who can keep possession and move the ball from back to front, as opposed to players who boot the ball forward for a lone guy to make something happen while everyone else plays defense (see, 2015).
No matter how excited people get over the prospect of Tim Howard, the move makes absolutely zero sense from an on-field perspective. Sure there are intangibles, but look at it objectively: on the field, it makes no sense. Off the field? Sure. Ton of sense.
But then I thought to myself: what if Colorado really isn't that stupid at all?
What if this is all just a ruse, and they already have a deal in mind to bring Tim Howard to Major League Soccer, though not to Colorado? What if Colorado is going to make a deal with another team for Tim Howard?
And then it made sense.
The Rapids ::must:: be making a move for Mix Diskerud.
Hear me out on this one, because I thought it sounded crazy at first too.
And for the love of God please leave out my relentless fanboying over Mix Diskerud. This is for real.
"But Ben, NYCFC already HAVE three DPs!"
"Ah, my friend. If there's one thing I know, it's that MLS is nothing if not entirely flexible on its rules when it comes to teams that want to make big moves for big stars!"
More than likely, there will be some rule in there where Tim Howard doesn't quite count as a DP because he had to go through the Allocation Order and instead counts as a returning American player. I'm imagining something like that will be used as the justification for how this deal is even possible. It's not a great or air tight explanation, but it's how Major League Soccer does business. They act first and justify later. See also, Clint Dempsey.
I believe Diskerud is a good player. Technically skilled. Intelligent passer of the ball. That's Powers' skill set as well, but Diskerud goes even further forward than Powers would in his most comfortable position. Rather than competing with Dillon Powers for midfield playing time, I can see a world in which Diskerud and Powers can play off of one another as a midfield fulcrum. Sort of like the midfield with Powers and Sturgis, though with a significant upgrade through Diskerud.
If you think back to the Pareja days, the 3 in his midfield core were a gritty defensive mid (Hendry Thomas) a skilled attacking mid (Powers) and a utility box-to-box mid who kind of free floated to do intelligent off the ball movement and passing. Powers and Diskerud equally could fit into either role as box-to-box or attacking mid as part of a midfield "core" or "spine" regardless of whether you play a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1. If MLS teaches us nothing else, with the right midfield core combination you can tear up the league. You can surprise people.
If New York want to use Mix as trade bait, the fans are have called for him to be sold. They've called him "perfectly mediocre."
Ladies and Gentlemen, what do we want here at Colorado if not the perfectly mediocre. Nathan Sturgis was a perfectly mediocre player who turned into a very effective midfielder for Oscar Pareja. The entire 2010 Rapids team was full of perfectly mediocre players. And let's not forget, Diskerud played a complicated role for a team that was absolutely terrible last season. And if he's on the outs... the Rapids should be there to pick him up.
He's a National Team player, and a frequent call up by Jurgen Klinsmann. He was just in camp in February. No matter how maligned he may be, Klinsmann keeps giving him chances to prove himself. Not bad for mediocre.
Coaching problems aside (and of course the Rapids will be terrible this year if something doesn't improve in coaching and from watching pre-season line ups and play I have seen nothing to convince me that the Mastronaccio still isn't king in Colorado), this would be a good move to make, and would be a sign that the Rapids are turning themselves in a more attacking direction.
Everybody wins here. Rapids get an attacking player. NYCFC upgrade their goalkeeping. Howard goes to a marquee team close to home. And MLS gets to have another star added to its roster.