D.C. United are reportedly about to the splash the cash, adding Edison Flores and Brian Lozano. The two attackers would inject the offensive rebuild with some much-needed talent following the losses of Wayne Rooney, Luciano Acosta and Lucas Rodriguez.
In 2018, D.C. United ended the season as one of the hottest teams in all of Major League Soccer. Having signed Wayne Rooney midway through the campaign, Ben Olsen’s side made an unlikely run into the playoffs, reeling off five wins in succession, seven in their last ten matches, and going unbeaten from September onwards.
They ultimately fell to the Columbus Crew on penalties in the playoffs, but the combination play of Rooney and Luciano Acosta, alongside with a blossoming defence, established the foundation for what was expected to be a terrific 2019 campaign in which a genuine run at an MLS Cup could be made.
It never quite transpired like that. Rooney looked increasingly old and disinterested, Acosta was curiously poor, eventually nowhere to be seen in the latter stages of the season, while the team had success in large part due to a brilliant defence that conceded only 38 goals, a figure bettered by only Los Angeles FC’s 37.
So when this offseason rolled around, with Rooney already having announced his return to England with Championship side Derby and Acosta expected to leave at the expiration of his contract, it was hoped that D.C. United would conduct a rather vast and significant offensive rebuild.
With two Designated Player spots now open after the departures of Rooney and return of loanee Lucas Rodriguez, there was hope that D.C. United might finally follow in the footsteps of MLS more generally and invest significantly and comprehensively in their frontline. And now, with a little under two months to run until the start of the 2020 season, it seems as though they are doing.
Per a wide range of reports, D.C. United are on the verge of signing Edison Flores from Liga MX side Morelia. He is a pacy, creative left-footed winger and attacking midfielder who played a key role in Moreila’s recent playoff run in the Apertura of Liga MX. At 25, he is just coming to the prime of his career, has flourished in a higher-quality league, and also has international experience as a crucial player for Peru — this last point is critical for D.C. There is a large Peruvian community in Washington D.C. that United would like to tap into.
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But D.C. United are not stopping there. According to The Athletic’s Pablo Maurer, who is well connected in D.C., the club are also considering a move for fellow Liga MX star Brian Lozano, who scored ten goals and added six assists in 19 games for Santos Laguna in the Apertura. At the MLS level, he is an elite winger who would add a serious element of speed and prolific goal production.
Both moves would not come cheap. Per Maurer, Flores would cost north $3 million, which would be a club record for D.C., while Lozano will be even pricier, potentially coming in at $10-15 million — Santos reportedly already rejected a $12 million offer for Lozano. Given D.C.’s conservative history, it would be surprising to so lavishly splash the cash, but the team needs it.
D.C. United need an offensive rebuild. Rooney did not work out, Acosta left for nothing, and a permanent deal for Rodriguez has been difficult to thrash out. While Paul Arriola is still in the building and Ola Kamara arrived in the latter stages of last season, more is still needed.
Lozano and Flores would certainly represent more. Can D.C. United sign both players? It remains to be seen, but the offensive rebuild is now underway, and that can only be a good thing.