MLS’ half-day trade window on December 9 saw Vancouver Whitecaps involved in a flurry of transactions that included sending goalkeeper Spencer Richey to FC Cincinnati.
Giving FCC a player it wanted just a couple of days before the Expansion Draft set up to allow FCC to take players it wants inevitably raised the suspicion that Vancouver had found its way to a deal to spare its roster any unwanted losses when Cincinnati starts selecting who it would like to add to its team from the squads of other teams in the league.
Not so, says an unnamed source to well-connected reporter Sam Stejskal.
Told that the trade that sent Spencer Richey from Vancouver to Cincinnati did not include any handshake agreement about the Expansion Draft. FCC are free to select any unprotected Whitecap they wish.— Sam Stejskal (@samstejskal) December 10, 2018
The evidence that Vancouver and Cincinnati had made a deal regarding the Expansion Draft was never likely to be any better than circumstantial: if Cincy didn’t pick any Vancouver players in the draft, one might reasonably surmise that the teams’ pre-draft deal had included an agreement that FCC would leave the Caps’ alone on December 11.
There was never any official statement or even anonymous source to suggest that there is in fact an agreement between Cincy and the Caps. So Stejskal’s source is responding to what is at best a rumor with...well, a counter-rumor. If even the whisper of collusion around the Expansion Draft is disturbing to either FCC or Vancouver or both, they could definitively quiet the gossip with an official announcement via a named club representative.
Or just wait for circumstances to demonstrate that there was never any agreement: if Cincinnati picks a Vancouver player in the Expansion Draft, clearly there was no deal between the teams.
Instead, an unnamed source has come forward to stamp out a rumor that arguably didn’t need to be addressed at all. Duly noted, unnamed source. Thanks for adding your voice to the pre-Expansion Draft chatter.