In a surprising move that sent shockwaves through the D.C. sports community on a day that's seen its fair share of shockwaves, DC United has swapped goalkeepers with the Portland Timbers. United sent Troy Perkins to Portland in exchange for Steve Cronin and some allocation money. A portion of Perkins' large salary will reportedly remain on United's books in 2011.
Cronin was the USL goalkeeper of the year in 2009 and had a 0.79 goals against average with 12 shutouts in 2010 while playing for the Timbers in the USSF Division-2 Pro League. Cronin appeared with United for two games at the end of the 2009 MLS season on a loan basis, so the organization is quite familiar with him.
Perkins departs from D.C. after a terribly disappointing season that was far below expectations for the former MLS Goalkeeper of the Year. Perkins was left exposed by United in the expansion draft last month, a clear signal that he had fallen out of favor with the coaching staff. Perkins was not selected at that time, but is now on his way to play for one of the expansion teams. He will be reunited with his former head coach Tom Soehn in Portland, where Soehn is currently serving as the club's Technical Director.
Chest Rockwell of SB Nation's D.C. United blog Black And Red United believes this trade is good for D.C., mostly because it is just one of many moves that will occur this offseason.
From a salary cap perspective, this was a smart move. Even having to pay some unknown amount of Perkins' salary in 2011, we've freed up a significant amount of space under the cap. We all know DC isn't going to go out signing Designated Players, but there will be players coming in from abroad (as well as further trades). Looking at most of the successful teams in the league right now, stocking your team with quality players that don't come with the premium for being a "name" is the way to go. Real Salt Lake, FC Dallas, and of course the MLS Cup champion Colorado Rapids are all examples of teams comprised of eleven good starters but no superstars. I would imagine that the goal in clearing this cap space is an effort to find a striker that will be expensive, but not DP expensive.