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Rod's Wild Ride

So when the news broke that Rod Dyachenko had been reacquired by DCU, I figured I should try to get him on the phone. I called his cell and found him in his car somewhere in Pennsylvania, on the way back to Washington after an adventurous 24 hours on the U.S.-Canadian border.

Rod had spent about a week in Washington, staying at Bobby Boswell's place in the city, before he had to head north to report to Toronto FC training camp. He drove to Buffalo, fearful of the reaction at the border. You see, Rod is a man without a country -- sort of. He was born in Russia, grew up in Georgia, then moved to Ukraine before coming to the United States with his family and settling in Washington state, near Portland, Ore. Rod has no passport -- just a U.S. green card.

In these times of heightened security and tighter border crossings, Rod thought there might be a problem getting into Canada. There was.

He was taken to the Canadian immigration center, where he was asked a series of probing questions. Why are you coming to Canada? What's your business? Why don't you have a passport? You know you're going to need more documentation, right?

Rod told them he was a player for Toronto FC. They didn't really believe him at first, he said. So he asked them to call up the team's Web site on their computer. They did so. He showed them his name on the roster. Still, he didn't have the proper documents or work permit to be granted entry. So he went back to Buffalo and got a hotel room to try to figure out his next move. Then last night, he received word that Toronto was about to trade him back to D.C. Once the trade was finalized, he turned his car due south and began the long drive back.

So was his confusing international status the reason he got traded? "I think that was part of it," he said. "I think Toronto knew this might be a problem getting in and out on every road trip all year. ... It's been a roller-coaster ride, but I'm glad to be back. ... I knew D.C. wanted to get me back, but I didn't think it would happen."

Several times this winter United had inquired about trading for Dyachenko, most recently at the Jan. 12 draft, but each time it was turned down. On Wednesday night, however, technical director Dave Kasper got a call from Toronto Coach Mo Johnston, who was finally willing to discuss a trade.

Dyachenko's potential travel issues might have played a part in Johnston's decision, but roster considerations could have also prompted it. (Dyachenko counts as a foreign player for Toronto; for D.C., because of his U.S. green card, he is like the rest of the American players.)

Why did United want him so badly and be willing to give up next year's first-round pick to complete the deal? "He can do a lot of things for us," Kasper said. "We see him as an attacking midfielder, someone who can help up front, play out wide."

"He's a proven player in our eyes and we were willing to give up the pick to get it done," Kasper added. "He really came on last year."

Kasper said the trade had absolutely nothing to do with the club's pursuit of foreign help. "Not one bit," Kasper said.

Dyachenko said he plans to rejoin his old/new teammates Friday morning for workouts.

The next challenge: Getting his papers in order so he can travel to Honduras with the team in a few weeks.

By Steve Goff  |  February 1, 2007; 7:12 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Rod is Back
Next: USA-MEX roster update


CSKA Colorado

Posted by: The Mayor | February 1, 2007 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Goff good update. Interesting story

Posted by: Ian | February 1, 2007 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Awsome news, I really think the guy has potential, and if anything this answers one more question reguarding our rosters depth. Next up Nicky.... I mean come on. You know it'd better to just come back for a year and take a pay cut. RSL is sinking. Come on home Nick. Welcome back Rod.

Posted by: Chris | February 1, 2007 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Instead of Tom Hanks they should have used Rod in the movie Terminal!

Posted by: Keenan | February 1, 2007 8:19 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully, they get it settled before the first trip to Toronto, or Rod's going to be watching from home.....or worse, a Canadian detention center.

Posted by: Kim | February 1, 2007 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Goff!

Posted by: Izzy | February 1, 2007 8:50 PM | Report abuse

Why Didn't we just protect him in the expansion draft?

Posted by: gJP | February 1, 2007 9:22 PM | Report abuse

we didn't protect him because we still had Freddy at the time, and he was a rookie we hoped Mo hadn't seen :-)

Mo made out pretty good with his expansion picks, at least in terms of help for the future. Interesting way he went about the draft and subsequent trades.

Posted by: Lonnie | February 1, 2007 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Wow, with no passport and just a Green Card, one can only hope the team can get his documents in order when it comes time to travel internationally.

Posted by: entropy | February 1, 2007 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Good to have Rod back as he showed some promise. Hopefully, he can spell some relief for Christian at some point.

Does he count as a foreign player or since he's got a green card is he "one of us."

Posted by: delantero | February 2, 2007 12:48 AM | Report abuse

I'm glad that he's back. This does help us where we need it. We were lacking bench strength coming into this offseason (unless you see Walker actually playing well this year) and Dyanchenko gives us help in the midfield and even up front if we need it. Good move United and great story Goff.

Posted by: gomez4prez | February 2, 2007 6:38 AM | Report abuse

He counts as one of us because of his green card. For all intents and purposes, green card holders count as US Citizens for most but not all, jobs.

Posted by: @delantero | February 2, 2007 7:18 AM | Report abuse

Why would Dyachenko be considered a "foreign" player for Toronto? If having a US green card makes a player an American in MLS-World, why wouldn't he be considered "American" on the Toronto roster? Does the Toronto franchise have different rules than the other MLS teams? I do seem to recall that there might be a special rule for Canadians on the Toronto roster.

Posted by: Touchliner | February 2, 2007 7:37 AM | Report abuse

What are the chances his paperwork gets done before they travel to Honduras? Slim and none...

Posted by: Chico | February 2, 2007 7:49 AM | Report abuse

Americans are considered internationals on TFC's roster. That is why Mo has been working so hard to grab every decent Canadian for the bulk of his roster.

Posted by: jgildea8 | February 2, 2007 8:02 AM | Report abuse

Thank you Department of Homeland Security.



Posted by: JayRockers! | February 2, 2007 9:20 AM | Report abuse

What's interesting is that Toronto was stuck between a rock and a hard place with Rod and DCU front office still couldnt get a good deal out of this. I'm glad he's back but I think a first round pick is too much considering the potential depth of next years draft.

Posted by: the cheat | February 2, 2007 9:46 AM | Report abuse


The fact that he was born in one place and lived a few other places before coming to the U.S. doesn't really explain why he doesn't have a passport. If he was born in Russia, its likely he's eligible for Russian citizenship. There are a lot of restrictions on green card holders so it kind of surprises me that no one thought about this prior to the expansion draft.

On the soccer side of things, what we've done is essentially made him next year's first round pick. Is he worth that. Let's hope so. From what I saw of him last season, I thought he was pretty clever on the ball and his size doesn't hurt either.

Posted by: Dan | February 2, 2007 10:26 AM | Report abuse

From what I can tell, very few of our recent draft picks have any impact whatsoever. In that Rod has already proven competent, he's head and shoulders above another draft pick buried on the bench of our reserve team.

Welcome back Rod!

Posted by: vivzig | February 2, 2007 10:47 AM | Report abuse

RSL folds and Toronto's players can't corss the border. Looks like we're down to 11 teams in MLS.

DC should lay claim to the "Arsenal" name because they play next to the Armory; not change the name, mind you, just claim it.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Rod explained to me that, although he was born in Russia, he does not automatically qualify for a passport (you've got to live there to get one). He had been trying to get a Georgia passport, which is still possible, but is concentrating on U.S. citizenship.

Posted by: Goff | February 2, 2007 1:12 PM | Report abuse

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