COLUMBUS, Ohio — It wasn’t a quiet transfer window for the Columbus Crew, and general manager Tim Bezbatchenko said a flurry of moves better position the Crew for success this season. After all, even good rosters can get better.
“We’re looking at this roster … you have similar pieces, but a different puzzle,” Bezbatchenko said. “At the end of the day we have to figure out how these pieces are all going to fit together. I’m a big believer that even if you have a good roster, a solid roster, you always look to improve.”
The biggest move was the addition of winger David Accam, who was was acquired from the Philadelphia Union for $100,000 in targeted allocation money, or TAM, plus $400,000 in general allocation money, or GAM. The Crew also gave Philly an international slot.
The Crew are using TAM to buy down Accam’s Designated Player contract. Accam, who has four goals in eight games for the Union this year, looks to have rediscovered his form after a disappointing 2018 where he scored just once 23 appearances for the Union.
Bezbatchenko said the team is still looking to add another Designated Player, and has enough TAM to buy down the contracts of some of their existing DPs should the right move become available.
Columbus also acquired David Guzman from the Portland Timbers in exchange for an international roster spot. Bezbatchenko called Guzman a proven international player and established MLS winner. Guzman joined the Timbers in 2017 and featured in last year’s MLS Cup, which the Timbers lost to Atlanta United.
Meanwhile, Justin Meram was sold to Atlanta United for $100,000 in GAM and a second round pick in the 2020 draft.
Lalas Abubakar was sent on a full season loan to the Colorado Rapids for $125,000 in TAM. MLS roster rules prohibit loaned players from playing against his club, so Abubakar will not be available for Colorado in their game against the Crew at the end of the month.
“We don’t want to make any moves that prohibit us long term,” Bezbatchenko said. “Most transactions are discussed well in advance (of deadline day), but it starts to really get heated in the last two or three days as teams needs start to crystallize. That’s when decisions start to get made.
“There’s a lot of talk that happens in the weeks prior, but really, it’s about making that decision, and how quickly you can make that decision … A lot of these conversations were things we had thought about well in advance, but you have to find the opportunity to actually get the transaction done. That’s the hardest part. You can get a lot of interest in players or a lot of teams that you are interested in their players, but it takes two to tango.”