The ghost of Calvin Ball’s past has returned!
In a truly MLS-level trade, the New York Red Bulls have actually done something this offseason, they just never announced it. This gets all sorts of complicated, so let us start from the beginning.
Back in February of 2016, DC United sent Connor Doyle to the Colorado Rapids in exchange for a third-round draft pick in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft. Then, a few days later, DC acquired Luciano Acosta on loan from Boca Juniors. Prior to that, the New York Red Bulls had held Acosta’s discovery rights after scouting the player around the same time they scouted Gonzalo Veron. The Red Bulls gave up those rights “after not making an offer to Boca Juniors (required by MLS if a second team is interested)” and “United obtained the right to engage in talks with Acosta in exchange for a 2017 conditional SuperDraft pick prior to pursuing the midfielder.”
This is where it gets interesting. The condition in the “conditional” draft pick, was whether or not Acosta played 75% or more of DC’s games. However, that was not announced at the time. The 22 year-old midfielder played in 31 of United’s 34 regular season games, roughly 91% of the season. As such New York received DC’s third-round pick, the one DC received from Colorado, instead of United’s fourth-round pick. New York could not receive DC United’s natural third-round pick, as that had already been traded to Seattle in exchange for David Estrada back in 2014.
But wait, there is more! New York does not have that third-round pick anymore. Instead, Orlando City does. Back when New York traded for Aurelien Collin in April, New York sent Orlando a conditional fourth-round draft pick. Apparently, that condition was whether or not DC United’s Luciano Acosta played at least 26 games for DC. As such Orlando City currently has Colorado’s 2017 third-round SuperDraft pick.
To summarize: Colorado sent DC a draft pick for Conor Doyle. DC used their own fourth-round draft pick to acquire Luciano Acosta’s discovery rights from the New York Red Bulls, conditionally. In the meantime, New York traded for Aurelien Collin, sending Orlando City DC United’s 2017 fourth-round draft pick, conditionally. When Acosta finished his season, that condition was fulfilled and New York was given the Colorado Rapid’s third-round pick, from DC United. In turn, they immediately sent to Orlando.
And of the four team’s involved in this process, no one announced anything about this pick being traded after the season ended, at all (though I cannot really blame Colorado).
Wasn’t that simple?