D.C. United has officially acquired Yamil Asad, an Argentine attacker who starred for Atlanta last season. He is likely to make his debut in Saturday’s preseason match against the Philadelphia Union in St. Petersburg, Fla.
The deal had multiple layers: D.C. needed to reach agreements with Atlanta (for his MLS rights), with Velez Sarsfield (the Argentine club that owns his contract and was willing to loan him for one year) and with the 23-year-old midfielder (regarding contract terms). Although Asad had arrived at training camp in Clearwater, Fla., last Wednesday, the final paperwork was not completed until this week.
In the trade with Atlanta, D.C. relinquished $200,000 in general allocation money (GAM) and $100,000 in targeted allocation money (TAM) this year and $100,000 (GAM) and $100,000 (TAM) in 2019. In addition, Atlanta would receive $100,000 in general allocation money, should Asad appear in any MLS matches in 2020.
TAM and GAM are financial benefits used by clubs to acquire new players or soften the impact of contracts on the salary cap.
“Yamil is a bright talent in MLS, who was a major contributor to Atlanta’s successful inaugural campaign,” Dave Kasper, United’s general manager, said in a written statement. “His pace, skill and creativity in wide areas will provide us with an additional attacking dimension. He’s a young player who plays with a big personality and a high work rate, and he will continue to develop and improve with more experience in this league. We’re thrilled to add him.”
Asad came to MLS on a one-year loan last year, but Atlanta was unable to strike an agreement with Velez on an extension or permanent transfer; Velez had wanted $1.8 million for an outright sale. D.C. officials, however, negotiated a deal in which they could buy Asad after the 2018 season for $700,000. In other words, if the club likes what it sees this season, D.C. will almost certainly acquire him for the long term.
To complete Asad’s move to Washington, United used targeted allocation money, which can be applied toward the acquisition of new players earning between $500,000 and $1.5 million or to offset the cost of transfer and loan fees. Other financial details, such as salary, were not disclosed.
Last year, Asad played primarily on the left wing for Atlanta’s high-scoring expansion team. He contributed seven goals and 13 assists in 32 regular season matches. His assists total was second on the team, one behind Miguel Almiron, and eighth on the league charts. D.C.’s high man in assists was Lloyd Sam (six), who is no longer with the team. United went scoreless in 17 of 34 matches, finished tied with Colorado for the fewest goals (31) and was last by a large margin in assists (25).
United will aim to integrate Asad into a midfield corps that includes Luciano Acosta, Paul Arriola, Zoltan Stieber, Russell Canouse, Ian Harkes and newcomers Ulises Segura and Junior Moreno.
Meantime, United trimmed the preseason roster by releasing defenders Sheanon Williams and John Requejo, midfielders Rob Vincent and Rafael Andrade Santos (a fourth-round draft pick from Virginia Commonwealth), and forward Alfonso Pinheiro (a fourth-rounder from Albany).
The departure of Williams and Requejo raises the possibility that United will sign outside back Chris Odoi-Atsem, a former Maryland Terrapin from DeMatha High School whose contract option was not exercised after his rookie season last year. D.C. is expected to invite other trialists to the second stage of the Clearwater training camp, which will begin Wednesday.
After the Philadelphia friendly this weekend, United will face second-flight Jacksonville next Wednesday in Clearwater and second-tier Las Vegas in Nevada on Feb. 24. The season opener is March 3 at Orlando.
More soccer coverage: