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Dissecting the Kellyn Acosta/Dominique Badji blockbuster trade from 2018

How the Acosta for Badji trade helped the Rapids land Andre Shinyashiki and Clint Irwin

MLS: Orlando City SC at Colorado Rapids Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

When thinking about blockbuster trades the Colorado Rapids have made over the last few seasons, one that’s sure to come to mind is the Rapids acquiring midfielder Kellyn Acosta for forward Dominique Badji, but there are more details involved in this trade than meets the eye. This trade led to many things of note for both Colorado and FC Dallas, with the most significant being the Rapids drafting 2019 MLS Rookie of the Year Andre Shinyashiki and re-acquiring Clint Irwin.

(And yes, this is pretty complicated and was painful to figure out.)

First, the Details

On July 23, 2018, the Rapids acquired Kellyn Acosta and a first- and second-round 2019 MLS Superdraft pick in exchange for an international roster slot, a 2019 first-round Superdraft pick, and, of course, then club-leading goal scorer, Dom Badji. The clubs also agreed to split the value of any transfer fee 50/50 if Acosta was sold before the 2020 Secondary Transfer Window (this summer). The obvious takeaway for both clubs is the players they acquired, but the draft picks involved in this deal all turned out to be important as well. The international roster slot Dallas acquired was never used and expired at the end of the 2019 season.

The Draft Picks

First, FC Dallas’ first-round pick acquired from the Rapids was the fourth overall selection. They used it to select Canadian defender Callum Montgomery, who is yet to make a league appearance for FC Dallas, but played 22 games for North Texas SC last season.

The Rapids sent their draft pick (which was 15th overall) with $100,000 of General Allocation Money to the Chicago Fire for the 5th overall pick, which Colorado used to select 2019 MLS Rookie of the Year Andre Shinyashiki from the University of Denver.

Minnesota United FC then acquired the 15th overall draft pick from Chicago for $50,000 of General Allocation Money. This 15th overall selection was fullback Chase Gaspar, who’s enjoyed somewhat consistent MLS appearances with the Loons, appearing in 17 regular season games through 2019 and 2020, as well as Minnesota’s lone playoff defeat last season.

But, if you’ll recall, the Rapids also got a second-round pick in the Acosta deal. Well, this second-round pick was traded to Toronto FC on December 14, 2018, for current starting goalkeeper Clint Irwin. This pick was the 39th overall and Toronto used it to draft Adam Wilson, who never signed for Toronto FC.

The Aftermath

Looking back on this trade with the benefit of hindsight, if you were to ask which team won, you’d have to say the Rapids, and maybe even Minnesota somehow…? Whichever way you look at this deal, FC Dallas definitely didn’t come out on top, as none of the assets they acquired are still with the team (though Montgomery is still in the organization).

The ‘Pids got a regular starter in Acosta, their contested starting goalkeeper, and the 2019 Rookie of the Year, while Dallas got Badji. He scored two goals in 2018 and six in 2019, and was sent to Nashville for $325,000 of assorted allocation money this past off-season.

With all this allocation money flying around, it would be interesting to see what it was used for. Unfortunately, that piece remains a mystery, so we’ll have to guess at the rest.