Jul 7, 2011, 8:30 PM EDT
In what can only reasonably be described as a head scratching move the Union traded Jordan Harvey, their only real left back on the roster, to Vancouver in exchange for an undisclosed amount of allocation money. Harvey will be reunited with former Union player Shea Salinas, who, in another questionable move, was left unprotected in the MLS Expansion Draft.
Like many other Union observers I am left to wonder what the rationale was behind the move. If you were to build a prototypical MLS player you could do a lot worse than Harvey. What do I mean by that? Well, he’s durable. He’s played in 46 of 47 of the Union’s league games. The lone game he missed, earlier this season against Portland, was the result of a red card suspension.
Tactically he’s incredibly important. As mentioned he was the only natural left back on the roster. I suppose in a pinch you could move Keon Daniel or Gabriel Farfan back there (Farfan actually stepped in for Harvey against Portland), but I’d be terrified if either was thrust into that role on a full-time basis.
Timing-wise the trade is bizarre. The Union have conceded the fewest goals in the Eastern Conference. After a nightmarish first season in the goals against department the Union back line has been a rock. They sit just one point out of first place in the conference with two games in hand on first place New York.
You finally have a sound defense, so why not just go ahead and trade your starting left back? Odd.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly as it relates to structuring an MLS team, Harvey was incredibly cheap. Harvey was on the books for just $63,125 this season. Talk about value. By comparison, Juan Diego Gonzalez, who has not seen the field this season, is making $193,462.50.
For a team which seemingly places such high value on identifying and acquiring cheap talent the move makes little sense.
Now, with all of that being said, and considering that they have zero depth along the back line, another shoe is certain to drop in the near future. The Union may be many things, but dumb is not one of them.
There have been rumors of MLS having recently come to terms with its first African Designated Player. Could this mystery player be headed here? Is there another trade in the works?
The Union have to have something up their sleeve. What that may be is anyone’s guess.
Photo Credit: philadelphiaunion.com
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