The Worst Call Wasn’t Made During a Game
There was a story today in the Columbus Dispatch that, for all intents and purposes, revealed the Columbus Crew SC effectively chose Kei Kamara (30 years old) over the future #10 on the USMNT for years to come in Mix Diskerud (24 years old). In no universe driven by good judgement, insight and a high soccer IQ does this make any sense…at all. Mix and Kei are not on the same level whatsoever, which is clearly evident for any soccer fan who has seen them both play. After a failed attempt to sign Diskerud’s services last year, which reportedly broke down at the very last stage of negotiation (ended by Mix’s father?), the Crew then signed Kamara. The allocation system for MLS knocked Columbus off the coveted number one spot after signing Kamara, which ended the Crew’s chances of adding Mix’s dynamism and relentless effort (offensively and defensively) to the black and gold.
And if you’re thinking this seems like déjà vu, you’d be absolutely correct. Kamara was an average forward (though admittedly young) for Columbus from 2006-2007. Now, he did score a good number of goals later on for the Houston Dynamo and Sporting Kansas City. However, he fizzled out of his most recent clubs at Norwich City and Middlesbrough.
Will his stock rise again in 2015? Possibly, but that’s not the point.
It needs to be noted this is nothing personal against Kamara, but rather a reaction to Columbus impatiently and purposefully forfeiting the talent, vision and future stardom of Mix Diskerud to the already stacked NYCFC. What’s more is that Mix had said that he would be like to play in Columbus, citing the atmosphere and American soccer history related to “Dos-a-Cero” as a reason to come, among other reasons like the city itself. The best soccer managers strike while the iron’s hot and, after 2013 and 2014, Mix Diskerud’s stock was a broker’s dream. Buy low and watch as his valuation takes-off like Apple (AAPL) after a new product announcement. Despite the fact Mix get on the field in the World Cup because Klinsmann chose a defensive Fort Knox central midfield against superior opponents as opposed to splashing creativity in the middle (which was a coaching mistake), Mix is part of a fantastic generation of young players in their mid-early 20s who will lead the USMNT from this point forward.
This news is still just simply surreal. If there was ever a window for Columbus to get Mix, the past several months were it. Literally. Now, Berhalter and Co. (with venture capitalist and Crew owner Anthony Precourt) deserve credit for going after him. That’s certainly acknowledged. But to give up these efforts by signing a former player, who is six years older than Mix and who was forgettable in his final-third finishes for the Crew is mind-boggling. Imagine the partnership of Wil Trapp and Mix Diskerud for the Columbus Crew SC: young and talented workaholics with vision who, quite likely, could be the future central midfield for the USMNT. Mix’s style positively defines teams with a competitive identity and consistently leads to goals, assists and, yes, wins. His addition would’ve helped in last years playoff disaster against the New England Revolution (as well as a competent defensive line, a forward who scores goals and a comprehensively dynamic strategy).
I have said before and will say again that Mix Diskerud is the future #10 (jersey number and talent wise) for the United States and is a superstar in the making. He is a player worth an exhaustible effort and investment. While it’s possible that the Crew knew he would never sign after their initial effort, it’s also quite possible that they caved to the unknown for the known, which includes the record-breaking re-signing of play-maker Federico Higuaín (currently #10). When Sigi Schmid orchestrated his Crew team that won the 2008 MLS Cup, it was a squad that included players who were Columbus Crew staples (Chad Marshall), UCLA-friend Frankie Hejduk and players barely known to the everyday fan (Steven Lenhart), as well as Argentine superstar Guillermo Barros Schelotto. Schmid took chances and got the exact right players for the exact right positions for a remarkable championship season.
In other words, the Crew had the right mix…