The Houston Dynamo have been active this summer transfer window, acquiring midfielders Eric Alexander and Yair Arboleda from the Montreal Impact and Independiente Santa Fe earlier this month. But no move will come close in importance to the one they made on Saturday night.
They have officially traded star Jamaican Giles Barnes to the Vancouver Whitecaps in exchange for General Allocation Money (GAM) and priority on the discovery rights for Costa Rican defender Keyner Brown. They also will retain a percentage of future transfer fees should Barnes be transferred or loaned elsewhere outside of MLS.
Some fans were happy with the deal, some weren't. Here's what I thought about it:
—From a Dynamo perspective, I have no problem with it. With the position Houston are in at the moment — which is a rebuilding stage, let's be honest here — trading the second-highest-paid player on the team to a contender for what is likely to be significant cash (we don't know the exact amount) and the rights to a promising 24-year old in a position of need is good business.
And, I think we can all agree, Barnes has under performed since receiving a new contract back in December. He has just four goals and two assists in 14 matches this season while accumulating just 2.07 xG (per American Soccer Analysis), which lags behind many top league attackers. He's missed significant minutes with injuries and international duty — the summer tournaments won't end any time soon, by the way — and when he is in the lineup, he has failed to provide the Dynamo with the attacking chops that they so desire.
Houston's goal for the rest of this season should be to get younger players minutes and develop tactical continuity with the players that Wade Barrett decides are important pieces in the future. As it turned out, Barnes was not part of those plans.
—Mauro Manotas and other young players will be getting more minutes. Given that the Dynamo didn't receive an attacker in return from the 'Caps, it was a likely repercussion that young players would be getting more playing time. Even Matt Jordan said this in his statement:
"We felt this move was in the best interest of our club moving forward, providing us with valuable roster and budget flexibility while bringing in valuable assets both in the short and long term. This move also provides a greater opportunity for our younger attacking players to make an impact this season."
That means Manotas and Cubo Torres and Arboleda and Rob Lovejoy will be getting into the lineup more frequently. We could even see 19-year old Christian Lucatero in a Dynamo uniform.
Dynamo Midfielder Christian Lucatero Recalled from Rio Grande Valley FC for Sunday’s Game— Dynamo Theory (@dynamotheory) July 30, 2016
We're in the midst of a lost season for the Dynamo, so this can only help matters going forward for Barrett and co.
—From a Whitecaps perspective, this was something they couldn't afford not to do. Vancouver tried to acquire a versatile attacking player in exchange for GAM earlier this month, when they picked up Fabian Espindola from D.C. United, but for whatever reason, Espindola decided he didn't want to go to Canada and ended up being sold to Mexico. Why someone not Mexican would prefer Mexico over Canada is beyond me, but that's beside the point: Vancouver were without a dynamic attacker going into the stretch run of an incredibly tight playoff race, and they needed to acquire someone, and fast.
The loss of Kekuta Manneh for most of the rest of the season forced some wheeling and dealing from the front office, and they ended up with what was presumably their second choice. They get someone with a long-term contract and plenty of talent up front without giving up a player, so I guess this can be called a good trade for the Whitecaps. We might see Barnes played as a second striker in a 4-4-2, as that's likely what they were going to do with Espindola.
—Overall, an even trade. I see no complaints from either side here. The Dynamo are the seller, out of the playoff race and into a rebuilding phase, and the Whitecaps are the buyer, needing to improve their roster before the deadline in order to keep hold of that final Western Conference playoff spot.
It works for both.