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Rodney Wallace: Was He Worth It?

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As we all know, last week during the expansion draft the Portland Timbers FO acquired Dax McCarty, the cream of the crop, or so say the soccer pundits around the U.S. Media and fans alike were awash with wonderings of how the Timbers squad would shape up with Dax McCarty leading the midfield. He was a player you could build an entire team around, they said...

Of course, little did everybody know that in less than three hours Dax McCarty would be on a one way trip to Washington DC to play for DC United instead of the Portland Timbers. As fate would have it, everybody except for the Timbers FO had imagined Dax leading the squad next year. Instead we traded Expansion Draft #1 pick Dax McCarty for a relatively unknown player named Rodney Wallace.

Now, I don't know too much about the DCU squad or Rodney Wallace. To be honest, their team holds little interest to me seeing as they're on the other side of the nation. So, with that in mind, I asked fellow SBNation DC United blogger Martin Shatzer who handles Black and Red United. Here's his take on Rodney and the trade we made for him:
Rodney Wallace is an MLS-starter quality left back, with the potential to be even better. When he was healthy early in the season, Wallace at times looked like the best player on D.C. United's backline, despite it being his first season as a professional at that position. As a rookie in 2009, Wallace started immediately on the left wing, and tied for the team lead with 28 matches played. He was even starting ahead of more proven commodities like Fred.
Wallace is quick, physically strong, and aggressive. Those are all good qualities, but those also led to him being fourth in MLS in fouls committed in 2009. He could work on his crossing ability, and his soccer IQ will need to continue to improve if he'll be playing as a defender, but Wallace will be ready to start for you day one, and he deserves none of the blame for United's poor 2010 season.
I might also mention that Wallace won a Championship at the University of Maryland in 2008 while teaming with fellow Timber Jeremy Hall on the left flank. If I were you, I'd be hoping to see Wallace and Hall rekindle that Maryland magic in Portland, just like Omar Gonzalez and A.J. DeLaGarza have done in L.A.
You'll hear from most writers nationwide that Portland was silly to give up McCarty for Wallace. As a United fan though, I'd say this was a fairly even trade.
So, ultimately was the trade worth it? According to Martin it was a fair trade and, after settling down a bit I'm obliged to agree with him. I'll be the first to admit I was a bit irked at the thought of trading Dax so readily for an unknown quantity, but Martin brings up a good point concerning the DeLaGarza/Gonzalez situation; sometimes it really is helpful to have two young defenders play with each other once again. That kind of experience can be invaluable to an expansion side team.

Of course, this is all subjective. Dax McCarty could come alive for DCU and lead the team to an MLS Cup next season for all I know, which would probably change my opinion once again. For now, though, I'm fairly comfortable with the trade we made and believe Rodney Wallace will fit right in with the 2011 Timbers squad.

Special thanks to Martin Shatzer of SB Nation's DC United blog Black And Red United.