Q&A with the SA Editors: Dec. 3, 1999

Duncan Richter Lexington, Va. Can you explain the Roy Lassiter trade? I don't see what D.C. gets out of this. I know it's supposed to complete a previous trade, but what each team has already got from that looks fair. Is this another example of MLS interfering to produce parity? Ridge Mahoney: D.C. thought so highly of Chris Albright they agreed to let Miami pick any player it wanted as part of the trade. The club didn't have to make that agreement. To get Albright, the league said D.C. had to make a trade, since Miami was owed the next Project-40 player but he wanted to play in D.C. The club was willing to meet Miami's price. And with Lassiter wanting to quadruple his salary, at least, United couldn't afford to keep him and stay under the salary cap. Unlike most teams, D.C. has enough confidence to build for the future and is willing to risk a productive player to do so. When it had to jettison Diaz Arce; it waited, and eventually got Lassiter in a trade -- for Roy Wegerle! Did the league orchestrate that trade to help D.C., or was Tampa Bay simply taken to the cleaners during a desperate phase? In the deal, D.C. also got John Maessner, who will never be mistaken for a great player yet won a starting job with the best team in the league because D.C. had not been able to find a left-sided midfielder of sufficient quality. Did MLS tell Miami to trade Maessner so D.C. would have a better chance to win the title this year and by losing Lassiter it wouldn't have such a good chance next year? The only interference I see is MLS forcing D.C. to give up a lot to get a player who insisted on going to D.C. and who had the option of playing abroad. (If you have a question for a Soccer America Magazine editor, click "Q&A with SA Editors" in the left column of the home page under "Interactive.")
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