EDITOR'S NOTE: Before you know it, February 29 will be here. That's the kickoff to the 25th season in Major League Soccer history and we're getting you ready for the 2020 campaign with the stories, personalities and questions that will leave their mark on the season to come.
D.C. United got pretty good at “value engineering” in the final years of their two-decade stay at RFK Stadium. Hampered by annual losses that ran well into the millions as they searched for the permanent home of their own that would eventually turn out to be Audi Field, the Black-and-Red played their version of the “Moneyball” game, qualifying for the MLS Cup Playoffs in three of their final four seasons at the ancient venue.
“My first couple years, we kind of got older veteran players that had been around the league and we won that way,” veteran defender Steve Birnbaum told MLSsoccer.com, “going with guys who knew how to win in the league. And maybe it was a little bit ugly.”
But after attacking stars Wayne Rooney – who arrived in the U.S. capital on a free transfer in 2018 – and Luciano Acosta departed the club at the end of last year, D.C.’s leadership felt they needed to make a splash. And they did, reeling in Peruvian international Edison Flores from Liga MX’s Morelia in a deal reportedly worth some $15 million in combined investment, counting wages, bonus clauses and a club-record transfer fee.