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LAFC trade 2019 first-round draft pick to FC Cincinnati

This trade is...confusing?

MLS: FC Cincinnati Signings
FC Cincinnati TD Luke Sassano got a very interesting deal from LAFC.
Cincinnati Enquirer-USA TODAY NETWORK

Los Angeles Football Club and FC Cincinnati announced a trade on Wednesday, with LAFC trading $175,000 in General Allocation Money and LAFC’s No. 16 overall pick in the 2019 MLS Draft, in exchange for FC Cincinnati’s natural fourth-round selection (No. 73 overall) in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft and its initial 2020 Allocation Ranking.

But! There’s a condition, per the release:

The 2020 Allocation Ranking portion of the trade is only applicable if FC Cincinnati is outside the top five with respect to the initial Allocation Ranking Order. Should FC Cincinnati be within the top five, the Allocation Ranking portion of the trade will move to 2021.

So, LAFC...traded money and their top draft pick to be somewhat closer in the Allocation Ranking in a year, but not high enough to get first dibs on a player?

What? This trade doesn’t make any sense. It’s honestly the weirdest trade I’ve ever seen in MLS, and I’ve seen a lot of weird trades!

As soon as the news came out, MLS reporter Sam Stejskal filled in a detail that probably is quite consequential in this deal:

So that does make some sense, LAFC and Cincy made a deal so that the new expansion team wouldn’t take any LAFC players, in exchange for all of those things above.

In the immediate term, I think what LAFC gave up for that handshake agreement was a steep price. If they had only given up money or the draft pick or not had the Top 5 protection on the Allocation Ranking, it probably would have made sense. But all three seems like a lot.

I’ve seen chatter on social media that no player on LAFC’s unprotected list for the expansion draft was valuable enough for this deal, but one name jumps out in Steven Beitashour. Yes, Cincinnati brought in a couple right backs, so they may not have needed him, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they floated to LAFC that they were going to take him and LAFC countered with a trade offer to take him off the table. Even if Cincinnati had selected Beitashour, they could have easily flipped him to another team in the league and gotten assets. So I believe LAFC just closed the loop and just completed the deal without Cincy needing to actually take him.

So, turns out no first-round pick (right now) for LAFC after all on Friday, but they have a new fourth-round pick and we’ll see if they make any other deals around the draft.

What do you think? Leave a comment below!