D.C. United were likely sitting on a fair bit of allocation money thanks to selling both Andy Najar and Alain Rochat to European clubs this season. They have used some of that money to complete a deal with Toronto FC that sees Luis Silva headed to the American club in exchange for allocation money, no players, no picks, just allocation money.
Many fans will be unhappy about this move since Silva was well liked around BMO Field and had shown flashes of talent to suggest that he had what it took to become a regular contributor in MLS. He was inconsistent early in his career but that is to be expected with almost any player who is making the jump up from the college game. The fact that he seemed to come back for the 2013 season seemed to be a good sign for his continued development but he has struggled to make an impact spending much of the year out of his natural position.
Toronto lands the two things they need the most in the deal which is cap space and allocation money. Both of those things will be needed during the next month as the club looks to rebuild the squad with a number of key additions now the the MLS transfer window is open.
On the surface the deal does not make a whole lot of sense as Toronto have traded away one of their top young talents and have nothing tangible to show for it. It really comes down to what they have in mind to replace Silva on the roster and what that allocation money is used for. If the club's next move is a big one, even Diego Forlan big, it would certainly soften the blow of this move.
Silva was the 4th overall pick in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft joining Toronto FC where he managed to make 44 first team appearances in basically a season and a half. He notched five goals and seven assists during his time with the club and his rookie season was good enough to see him in the running for Rookie of the Year.
Silva now moves to a DC United team where he will likely get the chance to play regular minutes in the midfield. Their attack has been even worse than Toronto FC's this season so they could use the boost. He will get the chance to play alongside fellow 2012 draft pick Nick DeLeon as well as Chris Pontius in what suddenly looks to be a fairly exciting midfield for the team sitting rock bottom of the Eastern Conference.
"Luis is an exciting and creative young player with tremendous technical ability," said D.C. United General Manager Dave Kasper. "He has shown the capacity to manufacture and score goals. We're excited to add a player of his caliber to a dynamic young core of players."
So DC gets a player that they wanted and makes them better both now and down the road while TFC get some more of that MLS funny-money that they spent draft day working so hard to hoard.
"Luis Silva is a fine player and an outstanding young man and this was a tough decision. But we are bringing in new attacking talent this window and Luis' playing time would likely suffer," said Toronto FC President and General Manager Kevin Payne. "This move helps give us more flexibility now and for the future. We wish Luis nothing but the best."
That for Payne is exactly where this deal needs to be judged. If this summer window does not see them make a noticeable upgrade on Silva and improve the quality in attack, then many fans will be left confused and angry that the player was traded away for what seems like nothing. The problem with allocation money is that fans never know amounts and are left wondering just what kind of value the club got for the player.
Silva was a bit of a favourite around this site and came in at number 4 on our player countdown last season with every voter including him in their top 10 for 2012. He will certainly be missed but in seven years TFC fans should have learned that it is a bad idea to get overly attached to players because they all leave eventually and very few last more than a season or two.