Dax McCarty's time as a member of the Portland Timbers proved to be brief Wednesday as the FC Dallas midfielder went first overall in the MLS expansion draft and was then flipped to D.C. United.
In exchange, the Timbers got defender-midfielder Rodney Wallace and a fourth-round draft pick in next year's MLS SuperDraft. Portland also sent an undisclosed amount of allocation money to United.
It was the first of several dominos falling as Portland and the Vancouver Whitecaps start assembling their roster for next season.
Toronto FC waives 5 players
Toronto FC on Wednesday waived Gabe Gala, Martin Saric, Maxim Usanov, Raivis Hscanovics and Mista.
"This is the next step as we continue to plan for the 2011 season," said Earl Cochrane, TFC interim GM.
"This was a collective decision after discussions between the team management and the coaching staff. We thank all five of the players for their contribution to Toronto FC during their time with the club."
The Timbers then sent defender Anthony Wallace back to the Colorado Rapids for allocation money and shipped midfielder Arturo Alvarez, plucked away from San Jose in the draft, to Real Salt Lake for a second-round draft pick.
Anthony Wallace went in the fourth round while Alvarez was taken in the 10th.
Vancouver's first pick wasn't a Whitecap for very long either.
They selected 21-year-old Seattle Sounders winger Sanna Nyassi before trading him to Colorado for an international player spot.
Vancouver selected FC Dallas midfielder-forward Atiba Harris with their next pick.
Whitecaps president Bob Lenarduzzi had suggested that his team was ready to deal, depending on interest in his picks from other clubs.
Portland GM Gavin Wilkinson said while McCarty was "a great player," he was surplus to requirements because the Timbers had found a quality central midfielder overseas.
"We think we've found the perfect person. We're trying to acquire that individual now and bring him into Portland. There's no need holding onto Dax when we've already identified another player in that position.
"Dax did have a value. We labelled and identified Rodney Wallace as a player that we think would do very very well in Portland and opened up the lines of communication several days ago headed into this, thinking that we knew who may and may not be protected."
McCarty was left unprotected by FC Dallas, who evidently saw Eric Alexander as a capable replacement. At US$40,000, the 22 year-old Alexander also made $125,000 less than the 23-year-old McCarty did this season.
"Dax McCarty is one of our league's top midfielders, and we are pleased to welcome him to D.C. United," United GM Dave Kasper said in a statement. "Dax has proven his abilities within MLS and we look forward to having him here in Washington."\
Toronto lost Canadian striker O'Brian White to Vancouver in the sixth round, who in turn shipped him to Seattle for allocation money. That allowed TFC to protect midfielder/designated player Julian de Guzman, who had been left exposed initially.
Lenarduzzi said his team was not ready to go the big-ticket designated player route.
"We feel it's too early for us to be looking at a DP (designated player) before we establish the core of our squad," he said.
Portland said they would sign a designated player if they found the right man.
"At this present moment in time, we've been scouting around the world and speaking to a lot of agents, we haven't found that player just yet," said Portland coach John Spencer.
"Today I think we put a lot of good pieces in place for this football club to have a good foundation for a number of years to come."
Vancouver picked up a veteran goalie in 35-year-old Joe Cannon of San Jose, but later dealt fifth-round pick Alan Gordon and seventh-round pick Alejandro Moreno to Chivas for an international spot and allocation money.
The 24-year-old White, slowed by a knee injury in his first season, played just nine games in 2009 but upped that to 24 this season. Just nine of those were 2010 starts, however. He scored four goals in his 33 Toronto games.
"He struggled with his consistency a little bit," said Earl Cochrane, Toronto's acting director of soccer. "We certainly hope a change of scenery is going to liven up the next couple of years in his career and we certainly wish him the best." The move to Portland reunites Rodney Wallace with former University of Maryland teammate Jeremy Hall (also a defender-midfielder), who arrived Monday in a trade from the New York Red Bulls.
"We feel that the established familiarity between Rodney and Jeremy will be a tremendous benefit to our organization," Wilkinson said.
Wallace, 22, played 39 regular-season games in his two years with United.
Each of the current 16 clubs was allowed to protect 11 players, with some young talent and designated players with a no-trade clauses also sheltered from the draft.
Teams could lose no more than two players.
Portland made a couple of surprise picks in Real Salt Lake striker Robbie Findley and Chivas defender Jonathan Bornstein.
Bornstein is headed to Mexico next season while Findley, who went to school at Oregon State, says he will try to find work in Europe.
"Contracts are only worth the paper they're written on," Spencer said when asked about Bornstein having signed a four-year deal with Tigres UANL, based in Monterrey.
"There were reasons behind those decisions. They weren't just thrown away," Wilkinson said of the two picks.
"We would love to bring those two into Portland. We understand it may not be in the immediate future but we have ambitious plans beyond next year and the year after."
Other Vancouver picks were Seattle defender Nathan Sturgis, Philadelphia midfielder Shea Salinas, Kansas City defender Jonathan Leathers and Chicago midfielder John Thorrington.
Portland also selected Columbus defender Eric Brunner and midfielder Adam Moffat, Real Salt Lake defender David Horst, Chicago midfielder Peter Lowry, and D.C. United defender Jordan Graye.
The two teams will also add to their rosters via the upcoming Re-Entry Draft in December and SuperDraft in January.