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The Philadelphia Union trade forward Lionard Pajoy to D.C. United for midfielder Danny Cruz
- Updated: August 17, 2012
The Union sent Lionard Pajoy to D.C. just three days before the two teams meet in a rival match at RFK. Philadelphia in exchange will receive the Danny Cruz a 22-year old midfielder who entered the MLS with Houston in 2009 and was dealt to D.C. in the off season. The style the Union have been playing with Coach John Hackworth at the helm didn’t seem to fit Pajoy. His (Pajoy) minutes and production have dropped since the team parted ways with Coach Peter Nowak on June 13.
John Hackworth addressed Pajoy leaving and some reasoning behind the move,
“I’d like to thank Lionard for his time with us. He’s been a fantastic professional.”
“But this opportunity, to bring in a player of Danny’s quality, was one that we simply couldn’t pass up.
This trade brings in a player (Cruz) that Hackworth coached in the 2007 Under-17 World Cup, a team that included now Union teammates keeper Zac MacMath and defender Sheanon Williams. Adding a player Hackworth coached does help speed up the process that Cruz will go to adapting to his new team. Hackworth only spoke briefly about that, “He is a young and very healthy player with a lot of youth national team experience and he’ll fit into our style very well.” “Danny gave us a tough time every time he played against us. He personally was very difficult to deal with and with that in mind, I think he’ll be a real asset to us – both now and for years to come.”
Danny Cruz coming to Union with a smaller frame at 5′ 8″ does add concern about playing with an already vertically challenged midfield.Speaking with Jonathan Tannenwald, sports producer for Philly.com, he commented on why Cruz was brought to Philadelphia, “Because Cruz can play wider than the other guys. Also it gets rid of Pajoy, who has been a bust.”
Cruz was drafted in the third round (41st overall) of the 2009 MLS SuperDraft by the Houston Dynamo. He scored his first goal for the Dynamo against DC United during his pro debut on March 28, 2009. In the 2011 season Cruz played a key roll in Houston’s run to the MLS Cup as he started in all four playoff games. This includes both playoff games that Union faced Houston last season. In January 2012, Cruz was traded from Houston to D.C. United in exchange for allocation money. This season with D.C. United Cruz has started 12 of the 16 games he has appeared in and has 1 goal and 2 assists on 16 shots.
The numbers are hard to hide with Pajoy, a first year forward with Philadelphia. He started 16 of the 20 games he played and only scored 5 goals on 36 shots. Whereas Jack McInerney half the minutes and has 4 goals on 12 shots. The Union will also have an open an international roster spot since Pajoy is from Columbia and Danny Cruz is American by his birth in Virginia. Also from speaking with Jonathan Tannenwald, this move is a finical benefit to the Union as Cruz’s annual guaranteed compensation is $106,500 to Pajoy’s $195,000.
Friday at PPL Park the Philadelphia Union will hold a press conference with Coach John Hackworth to introduce Danny Cruz to the media.