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DC United acquires Martin Rodriguez, sells Edison Flores

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On Wednesday, DC United began to accelerate much-needed roster adjustments, acquiring Chilean winger Martín Rodríguez and selling Peruvian attacker Edison Flores, a massive and costly disappointment for three seasons.

Neither move was formally announced, but people close to the MLS organization said United will pay an unspecified transfer fee for Rodriguez, a 27-year-old left-back who last season started 25 games and scored three times. for the Turkish club Altay.

Previously, he played five years in Mexico with Cruz Azul and Pumas, among others.

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The MLS transfer and trade window opens on July 7, meaning the earliest Rodriguez could play is July 8 in Philadelphia. United are expected to use earmarked money in the acquisition, leaving two designated player slots available for higher-priced moves.

A DP position has opened up with the firing of Flores, a Peruvian national team standout who never found his stride in MLS and will now head to Mexican club Atlas. He finished with three goals and eight assists in 41 regular-season appearances (33 starts), and despite paltry production, he rarely influenced games and seemed hesitant to seize the initiative. With a move imminent, Flores did not accompany United to Chicago last weekend.

United spent $5 million, a club record, to acquire him from Morelia in Mexico. The transfer to Atlas will generate “less than 10 percent” of its investment, a person familiar with the deal said. With a base salary of $1.6 million, Flores had also been the team’s highest-paid player since his arrival before the 2020 season.

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With Flores leaving, Greek forward Taxi Fountas is DC’s only designated player: each club is allowed three. Dave Kasper, United’s president of football operations and sporting director, said he couldn’t comment on Flores’ situation. However, anticipating roster moves, he said, “If we find the right players, we’ll fill both” DP slots.

One such candidate was Hamburg playmaker Sonny Kittel. Negotiations had progressed so far that United flew the 29-year-old German to Washington last week for a medical evaluation. However, people close to the team said medical staff were concerned about physical problems.

Hamburg announced on Wednesday morning that Kittel would remain in the second flight club.

Another DP target, French striker Thomas Henry, who scored nine goals for Venezia in Italy’s Serie A, also doesn’t seem to be in the picture.

Interim coach Chad Ashton said he could not comment on potential signings, but with mid-season moves likely, he is preparing to integrate new players and, if necessary, adjust tactics.

“Obviously it depends on who or what those pieces are,” Ashton said. “How do they fit into the puzzle? We need to change? [the] training? Do we need to change in terms of how we’re going with games, different tactics, things of that nature?

He added: “So you’re juggling in your mind: If this guy and this guy walk in, what does it look like? There’s just a lot of moving pieces… that you have to continuously think about, but also your main focus still has to be in the here and now.”

The here and now has not gone well. A 1-0 loss at Chicago last weekend extended United’s winless streak to five and cut their record to 4-8-2 with 14 points, tied with the Fire (3-7-5) for fewest. number in the 28-team league. Since firing coach Hernán Losada after six games, United is 2-4-2 in the league and lost early in the US Open Cup.

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Nashville SC (6-5-5, 23 points) will visit Audi Field on Saturday (5 pm, ESPN).

“We’ve done active exploration, we’ve been all over the world for the last six months,” Kasper said. “We are in talks to bring several players. Some deals are closer than others. We expect several players to cross the line by the July window.”

He also said the team is active in trade talks.

The newcomers may not be cleared for the July 8 game, but Kasper said, “Pretty close from then on.”

The quest, he added, is “to improve everywhere, to be honest, in all parts of the field.”

“If there is something that makes sense for the club, we will do it,” he continued. “It’s not going to happen all at once.”

In addition to Flores, 19-year-old homegrown attacker Griffin Yow could also go. United remain in talks with Belgian club Westerlo over the sale of the Clifton, Virginia native, who in more than three seasons has made nine starts (32 appearances, three goals, two assists). For additional playing time, he has also been loaned out to second-tier Loudoun United.

grades: Goalkeeper Rafael Romo is expected to start again on Saturday as Bill Hamid continues to recover from illness, team officials said. …

Midfielder Moses Nyeman and defender Chris Odoi-Atsem are close to returning to training after a lengthy injury recovery. Nyeman has battled hamstring issues since last season, while Odoi-Atsem initially hurt an ankle and later suffered a sore quadriceps.

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