DC United acquires Martín Rodríguez, sells Edison Flores

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DC United began Wednesday accelerating badly needed roster adjustments, acquiring Chilean winger Martín Rodríguez and selling Peruvian attacker Edison Flores, a massive – and expensive – disappointment over three seasons.

Neither move was formally announced, but people close to the MLS organization said United will pay an unspecified transfer fee for Rodríguez, a 27-year-old left-sided player who last season started 25 matches and scored three times for Turkish club Altay.

Previously, he played five years in Mexico for Cruz Azul and Pumas, among others.

The MLS transfer and trade window will open July 7, meaning the earliest Rodríguez could play is July 8 at Philadelphia. United is expected to use targeted allocation money on the acquisition, leaving two designated player slots available for higher-priced moves.

One DP slot opened with the jettison of Flores, a Peruvian national team standout who never found his stride in MLS and will now head to the Mexican club Atlas. He finished with three goals and eight assists in 41 regular season appearances (33 starts), and beyond the paltry production, he rarely influenced matches and seemed hesitant to take initiative. With a move imminent, Flores did not accompany United to Chicago last weekend.

United spent a club-record $ 5 million to acquire him from Morelia in Mexico. The transfer to Atlas will yield “less than 10 percent” of its investment, one person familiar with the deal said. With a base salary of $ 1.6 million, Flores had also been the highest-paid player on the team since his arrival before the 2020 season.

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With Flores’s departure, Greek attacker Taxi Fountas is DC’s lone designated player – each club is permitted three. Dave Kasper, president of United’s soccer operations and sporting director, said he could not comment on the Flores situation. However, in the anticipation of roster moves, he said, “If we find the right players, we will fill both” DP slots.

One such candidate was Hamburg playmaker Sonny Kittel. Negotiations had moved so far along that United flew the 29-year-old German to Washington last week for a medical evaluation. However, people close to the team said the medical staff was concerned about physical issues.

Hamburg announced early Wednesday that Kittel would remain with the second-flight club.

Another DP target, French striker Thomas Henry, who scored nine goals for Venezia in Italy’s Serie A, does not appear to be in the picture anymore either.

Interim coach Chad Ashton said he couldn’t comment on potential signings, but with midseason moves likely, he is preparing to integrate new players and, if necessary, adjust tactics.

“Obviously it depends on who or what those pieces are,” Ashton said. “How do they fit into the puzzle? Do we need to change [the] formation? Do we need to change with regards to how we’re going about games, different tactics, things of that nature? ”

He added: “So you’re juggling within your mind: If this guy and this guy come in, what does it look like? There’s just a lot of moving pieces… that you continuously have to think about but also your main focus still has to be on the here and now. ”

The here and now hasn’t gone well. A 1-0 defeat in Chicago last weekend extended United’s winless rut ​​to five and dropped its record to 4-8-2 with 14 points, tied with the Fire (3-7-5) for the fewest in the 28-team league. Since firing coach Hernán Losada after six matches, United is 2-4-2 in league play and lost early in the US Open Cup.

Nashville SC (6-5-5, 23 points) will visit Audi Field on Saturday (5 pm, ESPN).

“We’ve done active scouting – we’ve been all over the world the last six months,” Kasper said. “We’re in discussions to bring in a number of players. Some deals are closer than others. We hope to get multiple players over the line for the July window. ”

He also said the team is active in trade talks.

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Newcomers might not be cleared by the July 8 match, but Kasper said, “pretty close thereafter.”

The search, he added, is to “get better everywhere, to be honest, in all parts of the field.”

“If there’s something that makes sense for the club, we will do it,” he continued. “It’s not going to all happen at once.”

Aside from Flores, 19-year-old homegrown attacker Griffin Yow might leave, too. United remains in negotiations with Belgian club Westerlo about selling the Clifton, Va., Native, who has failed to earn regular playing time. In three-plus seasons, he has made nine starts (32 appearances, three goals, two assists). This season he has logged just 268 minutes.

Notes: Goalkeeper Rafael Romo is expected to start in goal again Saturday as Bill Hamid continues to recover from illness, team officials said. …

Midfielder Moses Nyeman and defender Chris Odoi-Atsem are close to returning to full training participation after long-term injury recovery. Nyeman has battled hamstring issues since last season while Odoi-Atsem initially hurt an ankle, then suffered a quadriceps ailment.

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