In one of the biggest surprises of Expansion Draft day, D.C. United ended up with perhaps the first and perhaps most important piece in their rebuilding project by acquiring the former FC Dallas midfielder in a trade with Portland for defender/midfielder Rodney Wallace.
McCarty, an instrumental figure in Dallas reaching their first-ever MLS Cup, was selected No. 1 overall by the Timbers on Wednesday. But Portland chose to swing him to DC for the versatile Wallace in a deal that may bolster both teams.
Over five seasons in Dallas, McCarty scored five goals and bagged 17 assists through 93 regular-season games. Still just 23, he matured into an excellent linking midfielder in Schellas Hyndman’s up-tempo style. However, he was deemed expendable by FCD, who look to be banking their future at the position with rookie Eric Alexander.
In DC, McCarty may have more freedom as a playmaker and will be a huge boon for United, whose 21 goals in 2010 set a record for futility. The North Carolina alum will likely pair with Designated Player Branko Boskovic in DC’s midfield.
“Dax McCarty is one of our league’s top midfielders, and we are pleased to welcome him to D.C. United,” United General Manager Dave Kasper said in a statement. “Dax has proven his abilities within MLS and we look forward to having him here in Washington.”
Portland’s acquisition of Wallace, however, reunites the Costa Rican with his fellow University of Maryland alum Jeremy Hall, whom the Timbers acquired from New York on Monday. The duo was part of the Terrapins squad that won the 2008 College Cup.
“We feel that the established familiarity between Rodney and Jeremy will be a tremendous benefit to our organization,” Portland general manager and technical director Gavin Wilkinson said in a statement.
The sixth overall pick in the 2009 SuperDraft, the 22-year-old Wallace appeared in 39 games for DC (36 of them starts) during two seasons with the team, compiling three goals and five assists. He missed the second half of this past season after suffering a broken leg during a collision with Real Salt Lake’s Alvaro Saborio in June.
“Rodney is a young, yet proven MLS player who again gives us great versatility with his ability to play several positions,” Wilkinson said.
Portland also received a fourth-round pick in January’s SuperDraft as part of the deal, while DC received allocation money.