In July, FC Dallas sent Homegrown midfielder Kellyn Acosta to the Colorado Rapids in exchange for striker Dominique Badji. There were other parts in the deal, including an international roster spot, swapping first round picks, a second round pick to Colorado and a 50/50 split on any international transfer fee through 2020.
Most assumed Acosta was going to leave Dallas one of these years, but the destination was much closer than anticipated. One of the US national team's hottest prospects, most figured Acosta would be the subject of a multimillion-dollar transfer to Europe. But that hasn't happened. To Colorado it'd be to reignite his MLS career.
When the trade went down, MLSsoccer.com columnist Bobby Warshaw wrote that the trade could fall into the rare win-win-win-win category. Dallas could get an important piece for the immediate playoff future; Colorado gets potentially the face of a franchise; Badji gets a team that creates more chances; Acosta gets a fresh start.
"Badji moves to a team that fits his talents, Acosta gets a chance to show his full range of skills, Colorado get one of the most talented players in the league, Dallas get a player – maybe two, in the end – that meets their needs," Warshaw wrote in the immediate aftermath of the deal. "None of it is a lock-down guarantee, but it’s a trade in which everyone could be better off."
Just a few months later, as the two sides prepare to meet for the first time since the deal on Decision Day presented by AT&T, what can we make of the trade now?
Since the trade, both players started fine but haven't been setting the league on fire. Acosta has started 11 games, adding two goals and two assists, though all of his goal involvements came within his first three appearances with his new club. Badji has scored two goals in nine games (eight starts), but hasn't hit the back of the net since Aug. 29.
For the Rapids, the trade was made more with the future in mind. What Acosta does this season for a team that was far below the playoff line when he joined wasn't the point and can't be judged too harshly on wins and losses. He has re-entered the picture for the US national team, though.
Meanwhile, Badji fits FCD's counter-attacking style as a striker better than others have. He hasn't seamlessly acclimated to the team, but helping the team earn a first-round bye this weekend would be a good start ahead of the playoff run. He will return to Dick's Sporting Goods Park for the first time in anything other than claret-and-blue this weekend but isn't too interested in romanticizing the return.
"Honestly, I just want to win," Badji said in training this week. "Before the game it's going to be nice to see some of my old teammates, my old fans. But once the whistle blows, there are no friends on the field. I'm just looking forward to getting that win and getting that bye."
Acosta, meanwhile, is looking forward to facing his old team.
"Obviously playing against my old team is going to be a special moment for me, it's going to be kind of weird and a little awkward in a sense," Acosta said in training, in the video above. "I'm definitely looking forward to it."
But it's not all friendly feelings: Acosta wants to be a spoiler and bump FCD into the Knockout Round.
"We want to spoil their chances to get that first-round bye," Acosta said." It's going to be a huge game for both teams."