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Sounders should target Terrence Boyd as a stopgap with upside

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He’s not likely to be your savior, but he can get you to the Summer and still has a lot of upside.

Soccer: International Friendly Men's Soccer-New Zealand at USA Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve discussed making a big splash on a striker. We’ve discussed a cheaper option with upside. The problem with both of these moves (and a majority of any move to be realistic) is that they are going to be hard to complete until the Summer. The Seattle Sounders front office has implied that most of the players they are targeting aren’t going to be available until the secondary transfer window. Unfortunately for the team, they need help at forward now. What kind of move can you make to improve the forward position now, but not hamper your ability to make moves in the summer?

  • If possible, the signing shouldn’t take an international slot. The Sounders have a free slot, but if you want to make a flashy signing in the summer, chances are you will need one then. You can always get one from within the league, but it’s easier if you don’t have to.
  • You don’t want to have to give up a lot of assets to acquire the player. This means trading within the league is going to be hard and you want to avoid any players on the Allocation List.
  • You don’t want to spend so much TAM that your flexibility in the summer window is hampered. To bring in a new DP you still need enough TAM to buy down Osvaldo Alonso. You might also want to add another TAM player in the Summer when you have a lot of guys available on frees.

The list of players that that fit those criteria is not very long. There is one player though who fits them all. Terrence Boyd is American. He isn’t on the allocation list. His salary demands are unlikely to be very high. Best of all you might be able to acquire him without giving up much of anything.

Why it works

On the field

Terrence Boyd was once a promising young American striker scoring a ton of goals for Borussia Dortmund’s youth teams. He moved on to Rapid Vienna in the Austrian Bundesliga. He had 37 goals and 11 assists in all competitions for the club in 80 games over 2 seasons. This earned him a €2M move to RB Leipzig in the 2. Bundesliga. Unfortunately a bad knee injury killed nearly his entire seasons in 2014/15 and 2015/16. Leipzig earned promotion without him, and he was surplus to them as they were near the top of the Bundesliga. He joined SV Darmstadt 98 in January 2017. He’s appeared in 7 games scoring 1 goal for them in the Bundesliga and appeared in 19 more games scoring 5 goals this season after their relegation. In his professional career, he’s netted 69 goals in 146 games.

Boyd is a very good finisher and very good in the air. His defensive contributions from the forward spot are also very strong. He’s very much the kind of player Will Bruin gets confused for. He’s played with Dempsey in the past, and should be able to combine well with him. He’s also the kind of forward that could pair well with Jordan Morris if they were both here next year. At worst he’s probably going to give you Bruin level performance and is a huge upgrade over Lamar Neagle. At best, he still has a lot of upside and could have a Bradley Wright-Phillips second act to his career. Best case scenario, Boyd comes in and starts scoring and the Sounders can strengthen a position other than striker in the Summer.

Off the field

While Boyd isn’t going to be someone you can really market, he is going to be a name that people know. While it seems that Boyd has been around forever, he’s still only 27 years old. A 27 year old with 14 senior USMNT caps and his career goal scoring history should be a fairly easy sell to a large portion of the fan base. If you’re resigned to not getting a big signing until Summer, very few players you bring in are going to have the name recognition that he does.

Why it doesn’t work

Boyd has never played outside of Germany or Austria. The fact that he isn’t on the Allocation List may be a sign that he doesn’t have much interest in playing in MLS at all. You sometimes have to overpay to get players to come to MLS, and he’s probably not worth overpaying.

The other issue is his injury history. While he’s been mostly healthy since his knee injury, the optics of signing a player who missed nearly two full seasons with a knee injury are going to be be bad considering the recent injury history of the Sounders.

How to make it happen

Boyd’s contract with Darmstadt expires in June. Darmstadt are currently in a relegation spot, 5 points from safety with only 5 games left to play. If the club can get anything for a player they are going to lose in a month on a free, it could help soften the blow some if they do go down. While Seattle could sign him on a pre-contract now, it shouldn’t take that much to get Darmstadt to part with him sooner.

How much would Boyd cost? It’s probably impossible to know how much money he’s making now. However, we know that the average salary at the club when they were in the Bundesliga was under $400K. He hasn’t exactly set the league on fire, so it’s unlikely he’s going to garner a ton of free agent offers. It’s even quite probable he wouldn’t command a TAM level salary. Even if you had to pay a few hundred thousand in a transfer fee, you wouldn’t be hurting your flexibility much at all.

Would Boyd even want to come to MLS? There’s no way to know the answer, but there are worse places to try to rebuild your career. He has a chance to come into Seattle and compete right away for the starting striker spot. Strong performances might even get him a few national team looks. If he performs well enough, he could probably play 5+ years in the league and earn a nice wage.

Terrence Boyd probably isn’t going to be a savior, but he’s going to make the team better. At worst you’ve improved your backup forward over Lamar Neagle and you can try to find a savior in the Summer. At best he performs well and he joins Mauro Rosales and Eddie Johnson as reclamation projects who used the Sounders to become designated players.