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Gallardo, Gomez Update

Midfielder Marcelo Gallardo, the highest-paid player in D.C. United history, is "muy cerca" (very close) to returning to River Plate in Argentina, according to media reports in Buenos Aires. Watch the video here and read this story. (Spanish language skills required.)

A United source says Gallardo's departure after one injury-marred season is "a possibility." Another contact said "it could go either way, but clearly he doesn't want to be" in Washington.

Gallardo would have to reach a deal with United to terminate his contract. If that happens, it would free up $400,000 (paid by the league office) that applies toward the team's salary cap and save the club's investors $1.5 million in additional salary out of their own pockets.

Gallardo, 33, had four goals and three assists in 15 league games (14 starts). He appeared in only five of 16 nonleague matches. Sports hernia surgery sidelined him midway through the season and a knee injury left him unavailable late in the year. He also had adductor surgery last month.

Meantime, the latest buzz on 2006 MLS most valuable player Christian Gomez returning to United is that the 34-year-old Argentine midfielder "desperately wants to go back to D.C." after a miserable year with Colorado, one source said.

Gomez barely got off the bench late last season for Coach Gary Smith and is not in the Englishman's plans this year. I am told, however, that the Rapids' new technical director, Paul Bravo, does like Gomez and would like to patch up the relationship.

Stay tuned.....

By Steve Goff  |  January 28, 2009; 1:13 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United , MLS  
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Next: United Statement on Marcelo Gallardo


damn. I really hope we dont lose him, but at this point it seems almost done :(.

Posted by: BolivianDCFan | January 28, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

I'm not up to date on Gallardo's contract- will a transfer fee be involved? If not,does he have a termination clause, or is this a case of DC just being happy to get him off the books to save money?

Posted by: ricky_b | January 28, 2009 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Ahhh, Colorado using the good cop/bad cop negotiating ploy.

Posted by: EssEff | January 28, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

The article says everything has been settled. It also says that it would be a one year loan. It also says that River's coach would rather have Ortega than Gallardo.

Posted by: timoteo1 | January 28, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse


"the Rapids' new technical director, Paul Bravo, does like Gomez and would like to patch up the relationship."

I wonder how he expects to patch up the relationship? For whatever reason, the coach is not gonna play the guy, period, end of story. I don't know if Gomez is still the answer for us, maybe he is a piece of the puzzle, but wow if I were Gomez I would want to be on ther first plane out of Colorado no matter what Paul Bravo says.

Posted by: Ron16 | January 28, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Can anyone tell me what United is doing this off-season to rebound from a forgettable 2008 season?

So far, it sounds like DC United is:

1) Recovering from several (or in some cases, multiple) surgeries;
2) Re-signing a few players to new (and I'm assuming) larger contracts;
3) Releasing several players; and
4) Watching our marquee playmaker entertain offers from other clubs.

I understand that the club did not want to overhaul the team again this off-season, but at this point, all we're getting out of 2008 is a new goalkeeper, who unfortunately is going through a family matter at the moment.

It amazes me that we're 2 months away from the start of the season and we've done NOTHING.

Ok... we drafted some guys and a couple of them actually want to play for DC United.

Am I missing anything?

Posted by: TCompton | January 28, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

^^^ I agree. I wonder how long DC have known gallardo could be on his way out/ they were thinking of letting him.

Also how does that work with DC, if they wanted to could they put a stop to the talks? And make him honor his contract?

Posted by: BolivianDCFan | January 28, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

1. I'd prefer not to lose Gallardo. When he was healthy (which wasn't much), he was a big factor in matches. The primary question on his value is if he can stay healthy.

2. I see this as potentially being extremely messy for those who think it's just about ditching Gallardo (for a big transfer fee of course) and getting Gomez for a pittance:
--it may take a while for Gallardo to work out the details with River so he doesn't leave right away. Which leaves us in limbo. Until that deal happens, we can't afford to acquire a Gomez OR anyone else for that matter.
--nor does it make sense for us to insist on a transfer fee for Gallardo. We need to make it clear to foreign talent coming here who have other options that we're not going to "do a Twellman" on them. If they want to leave, we'll make that possible as much as we can. That doesn't mean giving away everyone but especially players like Gallardo (or Veron or someone else of that ilk). Gomez originally came here on loan--I'm sure in part because he was unsure about coming to MLS and then discovering he hated it here. So playing hardball with Gallardo or Plate is not a good thing.
--And no Bravo is making nice about Gomez (which is either true or prelude to demanding something in return.

Here is my fear (other than Gallardo wants to leave but it falls apart so we have expensive player who doesn't want to be here) is: Gallardo leaves but past the international transfer window. At that point, our options for A-mid then (which Colorado is content to let dangle until we jack up the price) We end up going into the season starting Jaime Moreno at A-mid.

Posted by: JoeW1 | January 28, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Well - Gallardo - good luck back home in Argentina. No hard feelings. Not even you being healthy would have overcome all of the issues the squad had last year.

And, also, thanks for saving us from hearing Christopher Sullivan pronounce your name again.

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | January 28, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Wonder if Cannavaro has had enough at Madrid and wants to anchor the back line at the Estadio RFK.

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | January 28, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Cannavaro in a DC kit... Why wasn't that mentioned with all our rumors earlier?

Get to work on that Arce guy, quick.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | January 28, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

People who keep saying that hate to see Gallardo leave. Get over it.! It was an awful signing. He clearly does not want to be here. For DCU its improvement over subtraction. Its a simple as that. Keeping a player who has no desire to play here is silly. It becomes a cancer for the team and unfair to everyone who is working hard (with or without talent).

Posted by: nyjer1 | January 28, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse


Again another 7 games that will be lost in the beginning of the season because they have to accustom themselves to Gomez play tactics.

We need to just move on..

Gallardo is a wuss...

Gomez is a baby...

Lets start the season already...

Posted by: TheWashDipsSince88 | January 28, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Moreno would most likely not play A-Mid unless we had no one else available. I know he's played there for us before, but he's more effective sitting behind Emilio. Quaranta and Fred are both likely options, especially now that we picked up Guerrero for the left wing.

I'm not all that concerned there. I'm worried about our defense.

Our top defenders are (assuming Martinez is gone):

Namoff (RB)
McTavish (CB)
Burch (CB/LB)
Janicki (CB/LB)
Guerrero (LB)

This team allowed A LOT of goals last year. Addition by subtraction in this matter is not what I'm looking for.

Can we play with three defenders and 2 defensive mids? Namoff, McTavish, Burch, // Simms, and Oslen (or Vide if Benny's hurt)?

We've done nothing to improve. Maybe one of our draftees will step up and become a Boswell-like defender right away. Who knows, but my hope levels are pretty low right now... I guess I used too many Hope Points up on Obama.

Posted by: TCompton | January 28, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

"Gomez is a baby..."

He's a former MVP and wants to be here. In my book he, along with Benny and Moreno always have a spot at DCU. I can still remember Gomez's idea of a red card suspension being joining the travelling fans at Giant stadium and beating the big a** drum. I may have facts wrong but the guy will always be a favorite of mine for that one act alone.

Posted by: mason16 | January 28, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Gallardo is a wuss with a losers mentality. He should just retire...he's no longer able to play soccer as far as I'm concerned. If River Plate want to sign him, then that's fine. They'll be getting a bad return on their investment though.

Posted by: bigwave | January 28, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Well, I saw this coming. He wants to be in Argentina, things didn't work out.

Now, what is DC going to do? We have not significantly upgraded our back line, we have probably lost our best player (when healthy and motivated), potentially lost our marquee off season signing of Martinez to Spain, and there is talk of bringing back Gomez who hasn't played much in a year and is 34.

And I should be excited about the upcoming season because?

Posted by: strago | January 28, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

curious,where we at on the countdown?

Posted by: OWNTF | January 28, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Let's get Christian!

Posted by: VirginiaFan | January 28, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

The good news is Christian's lack of playing time last year, means he'd be fresh coming in this year.

Although I'm in the camp that would like to see Burch at LM (with Guerrero at LB), Tino at CAM, and Fred at RM. Which would leave Gomez to play up top.

Posted by: alecw81 | January 28, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

I can still remember Gomez's idea of a red card suspension being joining the travelling fans at Giant stadium and beating the big a** drum. I may have facts wrong but the guy will always be a favorite of mine for that one act alone.

Posted by: mason16 | January 28, 2009 2:07 PM


This has long been my suspicion of why people are so attached to Gomez and anti-Gallardo. One act which blinds them to why he left in the first place. Gomez wanted a max, DP-style contract for THREE guaranteed years, ending when he was 35. The FO was willing to give him that amount but would not expand past two years. Gomez got hissy and Colorado offered a very attractive offer.

He was outstanding in his last game here, particularly the last 30 minutes, but before that we could see his fitness and game-shape declining. Getting rid of him was uniformly railed against. In his place, the FO picked up a player who had been to two World Cups and was by all accounts an overall better player than Gomez, but with a well-documented list of injuries.

I guess not many people here remember how we played in early June when Gallardo and Fred were both healthy and we were steamrolling everyone. When he was healthy, Gallardo was a better 10 than anyone we have had since Etch. Unless people on here are talking to him daily (highly unlikely) how can you so assuredly prognosticate his mindset? For going back to rehab in Argentina, where there is no language barrier and the doctors would have worked with him before?

Gomez left us, now he regrets it. Too bad, in my opinion.

Posted by: Josh8 | January 28, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

I believe Christian Would be a great addition to the team, as opposed to Gallardo, Gomez wants to be here and will pour his heart out playing for DCU, yes he is 34 years old but lets face it he is still one of the better players in MLS eventhough he hasnt played much of last year.

Lets get him back !!!

Posted by: ThE-BaRRa-BrAvA-KiD | January 28, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Gallardo should man up and play the season with DC. The (few) fans that had faith in him expect him to repay the club back by playing well and not run away like a coward.

Posted by: Charisma_Man | January 28, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

I love Gomez and will be glad to see him back. We are a better team with him and he is not injury prone like Gallardo.

Posted by: mbyrd28 | January 28, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

I don't like this.

Posted by: sitruc | January 28, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

TCompton -

I couldn't agree with you more. The FO has done nothing so far to make this team any better. All we keep hearing are rumors that we might sign midfielders or forwards. Did they see how many goals that defense let in last year?! We need one maybe two more centerbacks. Janicki is great but the kid cannot man that backline by himself. The FO has some work to do before this season starts. I really hope they can do it.

Also, Gallardo just needs to go. The man does not want to be here, its obvious!

Posted by: dculuva | January 28, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

You people with the anti-Gallardo tirades seriously need to get back on your PMS medication. Yeesh. Its like Oxygen network in here.

Posted by: Ron16 | January 28, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Gallardo has constantly been "rehabing" in Argentina the way you can only do with $2 million bucks in your pocket and no jobsite to have to go to -- at least that is the perception. He is not with the team once again. How can we have any confidence that he is committed to DC United? If I knew all of the inside details of his arrangements with the team, maybe I would feel differently, but it appears time to let him go and move forward rather than waiting and wondering if he will be healthy enough to come back to DC some day. Granted, he has moments of brilliance on the field, but we need consistence and reliability to get through a full season successfully.

Posted by: UnitedFanInTX | January 28, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Gomito! Gomito! Gomito!

Posted by: TheJim1 | January 28, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

I very much wish Gallardo would be healthy and motivated to stay. But I recognize that neither is true, and so we must look elsewhere. Gomez is one good option, but I'd like to see the front office look for a different 'Designated Player' to take Gallardo's spot. Veron was our first choice, Gallardo was our second, who else is on our radar?

Either that, or they should get Gomez for as little as possible, and divide the rest of the money they were going to spend on Gallardo among the season ticket holders. :-).

Posted by: WorldCup | January 28, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

""It amazes me that we're 2 months away from the start of the season and we've done NOTHING.""

As opposed to last year when we did TOO MUCH.

I think if we get the Brazilian defender, Roger, get Gomez back, drop Gallardo, signed Janicki, Namoff, and our draft picks pan out we'll be more competitive.

And we still have a shot at the Honduran . . .

and if you saw the highlights of Juan Carlos Arce, the young Bolivian, I'd get a United Rep (I don't know, Marco and Jaime maybe?) on the next flight to La Paz.

Posted by: delantero | January 28, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for the information Don Goff!

Hope you had sweet dreams!

"it could go either way, but clearly he doesn't want to be" in Washington." - Good riddance!

Posted by: Barracudas | January 28, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

The good news is Christian's lack of playing time last year, means he'd be fresh coming in this year.

Although I'm in the camp that would like to see Burch at LM (with Guerrero at LB), Tino at CAM, and Fred at RM. Which would leave Gomez to play up top.

Posted by: alecw81 | January 28, 2009 2:30 PM

Fresh? or out of shape? is Gomez even a 70 minute player for us at this point?

you bring back the legend to give some stability and experience, not to anchor the team. if we pick up the remaining two years of Gomez' $400K deal, we will regret it. it would not be unrealistic to look at the bench and see Gomez and Benny, both anchors, sitting in street clothes eating up a quarter of the cap (about $650K between the two of them) players don't actually get better after 30.

Posted by: joshuaostevens | January 28, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Not sure I read this right, by reading the blog on the Argentine site, it looks like River is near the bottom of the table and in danger of being relegated to the "B" league. So perhaps they're desperate to take on an old, sick, star.

Posted by: WorldCup | January 28, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Gallardo was what we thought he was! When on the field, pretty darn good...except that he couldn't get on the field enough.

Posted by: Reignking | January 28, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Becks will come to DC now too. I for one would love to see increased attendance by more fawning teens/ladies. The second coming to America tour - a rapture from the once named MLS soccer saviour. I can see the ads already . . .

Gomez should be banned to BB cheering section for the first few matches to serve pennance for leaving in the first place.

MR Caretaker

Posted by: postgolb | January 28, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Wow, you're right -- River Plate ended the Apertura in last.

Posted by: Reignking | January 28, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

The article says that the deal is done pending a physical. What are the chances he passes? Of course he had to pass a physical to play for us after having been injured for most of the year in France so maybe it will work out for River like it did for us...heh heh heh!

Posted by: LostinPotomac | January 28, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

I asked this in another thread, but haven't seen an answer: Will DCU get back the right to sign another DP? It's probably too late to do so in this transfer period, but perhaps in June?

Posted by: fischy | January 28, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Let's face it---- Gallardo was a BUST for the black and Red. His distribution was ineffective (gave the ball away 5 out of 6 passes), his goal scoring was overrated, his attendance was pathetic and his $$$ were astronomical. All of this is good work if you can get it, but I just don't think his heart was in it here.

Posted by: patrick18 | January 28, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

What frustrates me about the Gallardo/Gomez debate is that it's not a question about who's better. Both players are exceptionally skilled. Gomez has proved it in a United kit, while Gallardo has proved it over the course of his career at various clubs.

What bothers me is that both players are getting up there in age. Plus, we've got Jaime who just turned 35. Olsen and Guerrero are 31. Luci's 30.

This is a lot of key players who are at or past their peak. This wouldn't be a problem, except we have no replacement for them... especially Moreno.

Can we really place so much of our future success into Fortune's hand as we once again "hope" to sign an aging creative force?

Why don't we have someone in line to fill the shoes left by our older veterans.

Where is the succession planning?

What is our long-term plan?

Don't get me wrong, we do have some good young talent.

Quaranta (amazingly) is still only 24. So are McTavish, Janicki, Vide, and Burch. And Simms is only 26.

But they're all role players. Of this group, Quaranta seems like the only one skilled enough to fill the shoes of someone like Moreno, but his career has given me no indication of whether he's capable of doing so.

Posted by: TCompton | January 28, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

I don't think the question needs to be EITHER Gallardo OR Gomez. It's two separate questions. First, are we better off keeping Gallardo here or letting him go and saving $1.5 million? Second, assuming Gallardo is gone, are we better with Gomez or without him? If we are to let Gallardo go, then Gomez is the only available option to fill the attacking midfield role at this point.

Posted by: DCUMD | January 28, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Oh happy day! (regarding Gallardo)

Word of advice to DCU scouters... try to stay in the northern or eastern hemisphere this time.

Posted by: Dynaformer | January 28, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Couple things:

1. I don't give a hoot about saving the $1.5 million. I don't get to keep any of that, none counts against the cap, and I'm not in a position to know what the owners will or won't do if they don't have to spend it.

2. The 'we're too old' charge, while certainly true, is somewhat ameliorated by fewer games this year, as well as fewer mid week games. That said, it's still a worry.

I'd love to see an in-form Gallardo run the DCU attack, but if that's not to be, c'est la vie.

Gomez can come back. Jaime did. Ben did.

Posted by: JkR- | January 28, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Not sure I read this right, by reading the blog on the Argentine site, it looks like River is near the bottom of the table and in danger of being relegated to the "B" league. So perhaps they're desperate to take on an old, sick, star.

Posted by: WorldCup | January 28, 2009 3:04 PM


Those sound like the correct standings. From last season.

Their Clausura season is about to begin. Their Apertura season ended in about November. I'm pretty certain relegation in Argentina is based on computing a 3-year average so one bad season tends not to be too dangerous for a big clubs' prospects in the top division.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | January 28, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

I guess this has been hashed and re-hashed in a couple of threads now.

If we can get rid of Gallardo and his big salary in a way that saves face for everyone, great. Even when he did play he never was able to adjust to the physicality he was subjected to by the hacks of MLS.

IF Gomez wants to come cheap...maybe $100K or so and IF he is FINALLY in shape why not take him? But he was only ever a 60 minute player here when he was at his best. That was always my biggest problem with him.

Posted by: fedssocr | January 28, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

About the defense:

Two seasons ago we had one of the league's best defenses. We still have 3 of the 4 players who were starting at that time on the backline: Namoff, McTavish, and Burch. Two major things happened: we lost Perkins and Soehn proved to be borderline incompetent when it came to handling the influx of new players.

It would be nice to bring in a stud centerback but it's not necessary to have a good defense next season. What we need is:

1) Continuity in the lineup, Soehn needs to get a grip on who is starting and where, then leave it the hell alone. Unfortunately, I'm skeptical he has the ability to manage game-to-game lineup selection in a way that makes sense.

2) Quality goalkeeping, it will be interesting to see if Crayton is the answer. He should be fully adjusted to his teammates now and vice-versa.

3) A more consistent ball-control attack. Too many times last season we lost possession and got burnt on the counter. It may sound simple, but one answer is to switch the field more often. The fullback to fullback cross, to create space and alleviate on-ball pressure during the buildup, has been a staple of DC's attack for years and was noticeably absent during Soehn's second season.

In my opinion this last point is just one of several indications, that Soehn is not a very good manager, and I'm not real confident going forward until he's replaced.

That said, maybe he's learned from his mistakes last season. We'll see, I hope he's on a very short leash.

Posted by: uranderson | January 28, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

River is in no danger of relegation. Relegation is based on a formula based on previous years performances and River is not even in the bottom half of those relegation standings.

Posted by: timoteo1 | January 28, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

good riddance! now, if only the owners would wise up and fire soehn and kasper today instead of waiting until after the upcoming losing season

Posted by: bestmick1 | January 28, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse


I really disagree about not asking for a transfer fee. Gallardo is under contract. He played half a season, and took home $1.9 million from DCU (not MLS) for it. At least some of that money needs to be recouped.

"Doing a Twellman" involves asking for a price well above what the realistic value of the player is and generally treating your players poorly and being irritating towards other clubs. Letting players go for free may make us seem cooperative when future big names are considering coming here, but "cooperative" should not mean "pushover". I think being willing to let Gallardo go for free would be just as foolish as demanding River give us $10 million.

The key here is to enter negotiations like a real club, and not like a gaggle of idiots. You don't act like the Revs and say "here's the price, take it now or shut your stupid mouth". We should have a realistic starting point, and be willing to be flexible about it. I would be incredibly disappointed if our only options are "hardest hardball ever" or "sure, take whatever you want".

TCompton (1st post):

I agree that our lack of addition in defense is far and away our #1 problem (though lack of options in attacking midfield is #2). The attempt at signing Roger is something, but who knows how that will work out? He's 34, had recent back problems, and has only converted to central defense in the past 2-3 years. Oh, and he's Parkhurst-sized, which makes the margin of error that much thinner.

One bit of nitpicking: Janicki is no left back.



TCompton (2nd post):

I fear you're dead on there. Maybe Wallace and Pontius blossom into the young, dominant players we need, but right now Fred and Quaranta are our only potential game-breaking players that are under 30. We might be the only team in MLS that can't point to one marquee player that isn't on the downside of his career.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | January 28, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Gallardo sucks!
Good riddance!
Time to bring in a real game changing player not
some chump!

Posted by: jimmydeanroundsausages | January 28, 2009 10:19 PM | Report abuse

Is Gazza available?

Posted by: mason16 | January 29, 2009 5:51 PM | Report abuse

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