DC United trade Julian Gressel for Vancouver Whitecaps

DC United trade Julian Gressel for Vancouver Whitecaps

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Wayne Rooney’s DC United roster overhaul began with a bang on Friday, when wing back Julian Gressel was traded to the Vancouver Whitecaps for up to $900,000 in financial considerations.

United will receive $400,000 in general allocation this year and $200,000 next year. If Gressel makes just three appearances for the Whitecaps in 2022-23, DC would rake in an additional $300,000. General allocation money can be applied to acquisitions and retention of current players.

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Gressel, 28, has led United in assists over the past two seasons with 20 in 51 games, and he ranked third in MLS in 2021 with 13. Under Rooney, however, his position is being phased out as United goes from one back line to three. with full-backs to a four-man formation.

“We plan to adjust our tactical form,” Dave Kasper, United’s chairman of football operations, said in a statement. “We are focused on bringing in players who fit into this new system of play and can help Wayne realize his vision on the pitch.”

Rooney could have pushed Gressel higher up the offense, where he excelled with Atlanta from 2017 to 2019. But the new boss has high hopes for Jackson Hopkins, an 18-year-old local midfielder from Fredericksburg who, in the first United game since training upset, received high ratings on Wednesday in his second career start.

Gressel was one of the few DC players with high trade value. With a base salary of over $900,000, he was third on the team’s payroll and in the final year of a guaranteed contract. (The team had an option in 2023.) His departure opens up space on the senior roster.

Rooney, the former England superstar who played for United in 2018 and 2019, was hired this week to revive a club which, with a 5-10-3 record, is bottom of the overall 28-team standings and is at risk of miss the playoffs. for the third consecutive year.

Although he can’t start working on the sidelines until he receives a work visa in a few weeks, Rooney is actively involved in match preparations and roster decisions.

United, who have not won a playoff game since 2015, plan to make several moves before the transfer and swap window closes on August 4.

With Rooney’s connections and influence increasing United’s international profile, DC has been linked with several overseas players. Attacking midfielder Ravel Morrison, who played for Rooney at Derby County in England’s second division, was due to arrive in Washington over the weekend for a possible deal, three people familiar with the matter have said.

United are waiting for a new player to be signed before Rooney is signed: Chilean striker Martín Rodríguez, who has yet to receive a work visa.

To acquire Morrison, United would use Targeted Allocation Money, a lower status level than the Designated Player. (Rodríguez is also a TAM player.)

Each team is entitled to three high-priced designated players. United’s only DP is Greek striker Taxi Fountas (10 goals in 12 games), but team officials say they are aiming to land one or two this summer. It is possible that the club will leave a slot open for an off-season upgrade.

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With the departure of Gressel, the two first-choice wingers are no longer available. Last week, left-hander Brad Smith tore his ACL and will miss the rest of the season.

Rooney’s plans began to reveal themselves in Wednesday’s 2-2 draw with the Columbus Crew at Audi Field. The team consisted of four defenders, two defensive midfielders, three attacking midfielders and a striker. Under interim manager Chad Ashton – and his predecessor Hernán Losada – United had played with three at the back and, lately, two up front.

Gressel missed Wednesday’s game with a gluteal injury.

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