Saturday, December 23, 2006

Bring Esky Back

This town has it's fair share of charismatic sports stars. The Redskins have Clinton Portis, who likes to dress up in character for interviews. The Wiz Kids have Gilbert Arenas, who likes to shout "Hibachi!" when he hits jumpshots.

Unfortunately, we lost one of the brightest, young, charismatic stars yesterday when DC United traded away Alecko Eskandarian to Toronto FC for allocation money.

Alecko won fans over by his incredible performance in MLS Cup 2004, by scoring twice in four minutes. He was named Most Valuable Player of the match. He suffered a season-ending concussion early in 2005 and sat out most of the season. In 2006, he returned (with headgear) and was greeted by DC fans with huge "Bringing Esky Back" and "Fear the Headgear" signs at RFK. This year he scored the only goal for the Black-and-Red against Real Madrid.

This trade could work out if the allocation DC received in the trade is used to lure some big talent to the squad. It could also work out if Esky never reaches his full potential or bolts for Europe. However, in the mean time, this trade kind of stings.

Esky quickly became my favorite United player when he celebrated a goal against the New York Red Bulls by grabbing a Red Bull energy drink and spitting it out in disgust. He had a knack for scoring goals, but also a knack for getting nicked. When he's healthy and hot, he's unstoppable. When he's injured or cold, he's no good.

It could have been worse. He could have been traded to arch-rival New York (Jaime Moreno in 2003) or he could have been traded to a Western Conference team so I wouldn't get to see him often (Freddy Adu). I can't wait to see him tear up the rest of the Eastern Conference next season. Here's to hoping he succeeds in Toronto (except when they're playing DC).