Analysis / Union

Soumare trade gives Union a clean slate

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Philadelphia Union can finally start looking ahead and stop looking behind.

The last of Peter Nowak’s mistakes is gone. The slate is clean. You can now begin to forget that the 2012 abortion of a season ever happened.

First Diego Gutierrez’s ill-advised Latin American signings had to go, and they did.

Then Sebastien Le Toux had to return. And he did.

Freddy Adu had to leave. He’s gone.

And finally, Bakary Soumare has been traded.

Now if only Danny Califf returns at a cut-rate deal, the Union’s scales can balance again.

No, the Union didn’t get back as much as they traded last year to acquire Soumare in the first place. They gave up a first round draft pick and allocation money. They got back a second round draft pick and allocation money. Whatever. It’s done with. MLS draft picks are crapshoots anyway.

And yes, they’re still on the hook for part of Soumare’s salary. Not good.

But the Union can finally move ahead and be a normal professional soccer team. The Nowak albatross no longer hangs around the Union’s neck.

Soumare and the Union: Doomed from day 1

Soumare’s tenure with the Union was doomed from the beginning. Let’s recount, for those with short memories:

• The Union traded assets for an injured player and made him their second highest paid player before he recovered.

• He didn’t recover properly and missed almost the whole season.

• Soumare was brought in by Nowak and Gutierrez, who knew him from their shared ties to the Chicago Fire and planned to make him their defensive centerpiece.

• Nowak and Gutierrez got fired in the worst scandal in recent MLS history before Soumare played a single game.

• On top of all this, Nowak had forced out the Union’s popular captain, Califf, to make room for Soumare and lied about Califf wanting to return to Los Angeles after previously lying about some nonexistent injury, which only worsened the club’s reputation.

Soumare walked into just about the worst situation a player could enter, one so bad that it still leaves a bad taste in the mouths of Union fans. He then put his head down, worked hard, and competed to return to the starting lineup, to his credit.

If you watched his first two games starting for the Union this month, you saw why Union manager John Hackworth determined two and a half months ago that Soumare wasn’t one of his two best center backs on opening day. Hackworth was right: Amobi Okugo and Jeff Parke were both better players that day.

If only Soumare had been more patient, maybe things would have worked out in Philadelphia. Judging by his excellent performance in his third start, he is gradually regaining the fitness and form that made him an MLS all-star with Chicago. Given time, maybe he would have forced his way back into Philadelphia’s starting lineup next to Parke and nudged Okugo back to defensive midfield.

But Soumare didn’t give it time. He’s 27 years old. He had just missed almost an entire season. He didn’t feel that he had time. Right or wrong, it was his call.

Would the Union be a better team with Soumare? Maybe. And maybe a Parke-Soumare pairing would have been too slow to keep up with quick forward pairings.

Either way, Soumare didn’t want to stay with Philadelphia. Not when he was the third of three center backs. Not after his patrons Nowak and Gutierrez had left. Not when he knew Chicago needed a center back. Not when he knew Chicago was home.

Hackworth: Making the best of a bad situation

Hackworth has continuously tried to make the best* of an extraordinarily bad situation. His Union have a winning record and, if the season ended today, would make the playoffs. His coaching decisions turned two benchwarmers into two rising young American soccer stars. His locker room isn’t a poison factory. He isn’t a classless disgrace to his club like his predecessor. In fact, he’s even a nice guy. These are legitimate accomplishments for a club that had been on an unprecedented downward spiral on and off the field one year ago.

Are the Union a good team yet? No. They have won all their games against weak teams and typically done it by parking the team bus in front of goal. A fit Jose Kleberson could have a domino effect that transforms the team’s prospects. Brian Carroll and Michael Farfan look better with him. But Hackworth still lacks a single quality left-footed wide player at his disposal, and his team faces a murderous schedule starting in late June.

Many fans are frustrated because once again the Union have traded away a player and gotten nothing immediately tangible in return. A draft pick is a promise that doesn’t become a person till next year. Allocation money is a secret, the value of which is rarely revealed. Their frustration is perfectly understandable.

But there’s no point in going overboard and fulfilling every outsider’s lowest denominator stereotype of Negadelphia. In MLS, this is often how trades work. Trading someone for allocation money is the equivalent of selling a player in Europe. Now Hackworth can use the money to acquire a left-sided player.

It should not be overlooked that Hackworth accommodated players who wanted to depart or looked unlikely to get the playing time they felt they deserved. In a league with no free agency, that’s a big deal. Soumare, Gabriel Farfan and Chandler Hoffman all left in trades that brought them home, to places they would probably choose to go if they could.

That they were in those situations to begin with was due to different factors in each case.

Farfan wanted more playing time in midfield. He probably should have gotten it over Danny Cruz or Keon Daniel, but he didn’t. He’s gone, which isn’t a good thing, but the Union got decent value for him.

Hoffman was the Union’s fifth striker – deservedly so on a deep depth chart – with a contract that is currently paid by the league but, once he graduates Generation adidas, would leave the Union paying a bloated paycheck. He went to Los Angeles, where he also played in college.

And then there was Soumare.

Now there isn’t. The drama is over. Take a deep breath, and enjoy the soccer.

59 Comments

  1. Andrew 'Calm' Down says:

    Also makes the bench ‘clean’

  2. Earl Gardner says:

    You forgot about one Nowak piece to the puzzle… Roger Torres. How soon til he gets sold for a Pizza and a six pack?

    • Dan Walsh says:

      Nah, I didn’t forget him. Torres wasn’t a mistake. He was a great find. He deserves playing time. Gutierrez and Nowak didn’t do everything wrong.

      • I think his sample size is too small to make an honest assessment either way.

      • Bleed Blue and Gold sopped up with Bimbo Bread says:

        I don’t see Torres fitting into this team, good player or TBD. Kleberson will be selected over him. You also can’t play Torres with Danny Cruz on the field. Cruz’s deep runs mean someone has to back off for defense. Torres can’t do it(on account he can’t defend and is 5’5″), that means the LM has to thus a one sided attack.

      • kevinsetbingo says:

        I think slotting in Torres (who is also left-footed!) on the left mid and bringing Farfan back to his preferred side could be an interesting choice, You still have Mike’s work tracking back.

        My only problem is now you have Torres on Gaddis’ side, and that could be disastrous. Unless we use some of this cash to bring in a true left back.

  3. So much to criticize in this article… so much.

    But putting all of that aside… how was the firing of Peter Nowak the biggest scandal in the history if the MLS?

    • Didnt you read all the rumors about him taking money under the table, subjecting his players to cruel tactics during practice and not even watching his new signings before signing them?

      • Was any of it proven? Any of it?
        Nowak was a prick, but so is the Union front office. They gleefully threw Peter under the bus for PR, so who can say.

        The only reason I know that Peter got fired was applying to the Hearts job while still at the Union. If Peter did all those things you mentioned the front office had no problem with it til then.

      • Dan Walsh says:

        Fair point on the front office, Sieve. They empowered Nowak. And very good point about the Hearts job.

        The scandal? All the things James wrote, the very sketchy trades of Califf and more significantly Le Toux. What did the Le Toux deal represent? When you consider Michael Orozco’s account of how Nowak tried to profit off his deal, there’s one very obvious scenario regarding Le Toux to Europe that should be considered. And when Le Toux wouldn’t play ball, the team’s best player was run out of town.

      • I didn’t deny Nowak was a prick. Hell I didn’t deny allegations, though my tone sure made it seems like I did. Clarification: I think Nowak did a lot of things they said he did.

        As much as I believe Orozco’s account of what happened it hasn’t been proven and I I recall Nick S. denying that was an condition of his firing when questioned directly. (I seem to recall it being mentioned in the court filings tho) It leads me to believe 1.)That the Union can’t prove it. 2.) it is a widespread practice in international soccer and nobody wanted to open that can of worms.

        BUT the trades of Califf and LeToux had a logic to them. You may disagree wit the logic but there was a logic. Letoux’s value was as high ass it would ever be, you have a bunch of promising strikers in the pipeline and you are bringing in a bunch of (admittedly sucky except for Gomez who I will argue mitigating circumstance) players getting added to the team. Califf well you had Baky coming in who, on paper, was better and younger than Danny(with the possible exception of drinking contests) with a comparable salary should he have traded these players? debatable. Should he have handled it the way he did? No.

        But I don’t see how being an autocratic Aspergers megalomaniacal prick makes it the worst scandal in MLS. Considering the macho culture of sports his crime was being a losing autocratic Aspergers megalomaniacal prick. If he was a winning autocratic Aspergers megalomaniacal prick he would have self help books and speaking engagements.

  4. Not that anything you wrote is wrong, I just disagree. Hackworth did NOT make the best of a bad situation. Making these best of this situation would be realizing Soumare has the #1 upside of any CB on this roster and finding a way to start him (which, as we’ve all complained 100 times was tailor made with Okugo being a natural Dmid and Carrol struggling).
    Also, I just know I am going to repeat this hundreds of times before the trade inevitably happens but please NO Califf. We already have the “no where near MLS quality even as an emergency player but hey hes a great locker room presence!” roster spot locked up by Albright.
    Bring back Shoele (?).

    • Dan Walsh says:

      Well, maybe not the BEST of a bad situation, but pretty good. Bad on me for falling to a cliche in my writing. Edited accordingly.

      As for Califf … I haven’t seen him play this season, but I know Toronto went 1-2-1 with him starting. They haven’t won a game since.

    • Eli Pearlman-Storch says:

      I believe the player you’re thinking of is Eric Schoenle from West Virginia.

      • Oh yes. A player who couldn’t make the starting 11 for Harrisburg is the bench answer for the Union. How’s that grass on the other side of the fence? Give me a proven veteran any day.

      • Eric has basically stopped playing soccer after Union release.

      • Dan Walsh says:

        Any idea why? Was surprised to see him not on Harrisburg’s roster.

    • I work in management, usually the best way to get the most out of the team is to do what is best for the whole team, not individual parts that you piece together. It seems like soumare was not pleased that he had to compete for his spot. Then he asked to be traded. Hackworth for all of his faults has made it clear from day one that players must earn their spot by competing in practice for it. If he gives in to soumare, he loses the respect of the whole team. Once Someone asks to be traded you cant have them around, brings down the whole team. If Soumare didn’t fit into the culture that Hackworth was trying to create then he had to go. I don’t agree with everything Hack does and in particular I detest the style of soccer that they play, but he is getting results. The results may not be what we want them to be but the team has made strides up the table compared to last year’s postion.

      • frankswild says:

        I think you make a pretty good point here. We will never know all the ins and outs but this seems to cleanly fit what happened

    • Kenso Josh says:

      Soumare was the number three. No question.

  5. So how is it Saomare’s fault that Hackworth never gave Baky time and starts in training camp for Baky to work off the rust? By Hackworth’s own admission if Williams hadn’t gotten red carded he never would have started. Hell he never would have gotten a chance to showcase what he could do to even get traded. Being patient with the Union will get you nowhere. Chandler Hoffman recognized that, Garfan recognized that, Baky Recognized that. All they have to do is to look over at Roger Torres and realize that if they don’t make moves for themselves they could end up like Roger… spending his entire career warming up in the 18 never gettingin the game.

    • Dan Walsh says:

      Soumare DID get playing time games in training camp.

      I didn’t — and don’t — criticize any of Soumare’s choices. I didn’t say anything was Soumare’s fault. He made choices, and his choices weren’t unreasonable at all. I might have done the same if I was him.

      One thing to remember: Hackworth said early in the season that Soumare’s trade request changed how he viewed Soumare’s lineup status. Soumare would have been in the 18 every match had he not asked for a trade. When would he have started? I I don’t know, but it eventually happened for an extended stretch and he impressed.

      • To the best of my knowledge he started in 1 game. And besides one slip of the ball he played pretty well. That is way different than the commitment shown to players like Cruz and Daniel.

        I think it is pretty well established that Hack won’t start players who aren’t his favorites unless there is a gun to his head. They had a returning All star caliber player I think he deserved the same commitment and resolved afforded to players like Cruz and Daniel.

      • so much for that “putting the best 11 on the field” line. regardless of if one believes soumare was one of the best 11, if that’s reason for not getting minutes you lose the right to use that line in seriousness. seems to me i saw soumare act the pure professional in the games he got.

      • Dan Walsh says:

        Yes, it is way different from Cruz and Daniel. Note my comments on that, re: Garfan’s trade.

        I do hear a lot about the favorites thing. And yeah, you have to wonder. By season’s end, it should be pretty clear.

        And re: Soumare … I’m not saying he didn’t play well in preseason. I’m saying Okugo and Parke were better. In the long run, Soumare may be better, so I agree with you about the flaw in all this. We’ll see.

      • I will say this Saoumare was probably overpaid and that is what more than likely doomed him to the sidelines. But if you play him you get the rust off and he gets into a form where he can get traded where we get an actual return for him as opposed to giving him away for essentially nothing like we did.
        With 50/50 hindsight I don’t see how he could have made team play much worse in those opening couple of games.

      • Dan Walsh says:

        Good points again, Sieve. One thing I didn’t mention in the column is something we batted around among the PSP crew not long ago, and that’s the fact that Hackworth manages the Union on game day like he’s holding on with a death grip to grab any points he can get. That probably contributed to Soumare not starting on opening day.

  6. Andy Muenz says:

    The real litmus test of the extra cap space is whether it is enough to be able to keep Jack and Amobi when their contracts are up and they need a hefty raise to stay in MLS rather than test the waters overseas.

  7. Philly Cheese says:

    Highly respect your point of view, Dan, but I think you are throwing a lot of rope to Hackworth. Clean slate sounds nice, but Union are a few injuries from being a cellar dweller in 2013. All of those “future” draft choices won’t mean much if the Union doesn’t make playoffs in 2013.

    • Dan Walsh says:

      True. You’re spot on right. I might be throwing him too much rope. Time will tell.

      (Although coming into the season, I didn’t think playoffs in 2013 were required for him to keep his job. He had an absolute mess to start with. I thought tangible, visible, and significant progress was enough. How do you measure that? Obviously playoffs are the best way, but an entertaining team that just misses the playoffs and is set up well for 2014 would be good too.)

      • Nah,

        If he misses the playoffs he has to go. Its not like the team is playing well anyway. If he has nothing to show for the ugliness that he puts forward then he has to be sacked.

  8. Nice piece Dan. I agree. I think Hack deserves credit for keeping his locker room in good spirits with multiple players wanting out. I think some people might blame him for them wanting to leave but it is pretty obvious Parke and Okugo are better CBs and that if Gabe was unwilling to play LB then he probably isnt the type of player you want. No team in MLS can have a bench player making >300,000 and still compete. Also, the Kleberson move is looking pretty shrewd. Adu is forgotten, his contract gone and they got value in return. Hack made good moves this offseason bringing in Casey, LeToux and Parke and now next offseason will have >1,000,000 to upgrade contracts and sign new players. They also have two 1st round picks and two second round picks.

  9. Great One says:

    I don’t know (and I could be wrong) that anyone just gives an overall commentary that Hackworth stinks. And I think EVERYONE would argue he is better than Nowak, which is basically what you are saying here. It is clear, Hackworth is doing better than Nowak last year.
    .
    However, it’s really frustrating to be told I’m acting like a Negadelphian bc I don’t like something the manager did. He has done some good things, like finding a place for Amobi, unleashing Jack, and bringing in Casey and Letoux. But he has also done some bad things, like insisting that Keon and Cruz must touch the field or start every game, not even attempting a Soumare/Park back line even once, not bringing in a single quality left footed player, and of course banishing Torres to the Phantom Zone. All of those things he has a direct say in. I don’t even think he would have tried starting Kleberson if Keon wasn’t completely embarrassing lately, and that basically is looking like it’s saving Carroll’s career.
    .
    Bottom line is, I feel like people can acknowledge the good things Hackworth has done, AND have commentary on the bad he has done. While he is a significant upgrade over Nowak, his stubbornness with certain things is all too reminding of his predecessor.

    • Since I am on a devil’s advocating roll here I will argue that right now it is a wash between Hackworth and Nowak with no coach clearly better than another. Before Nowak lost his mind I would have given it to him. But he lost his mind and now here we are. I am not ready to give it to Hack yet as I have not seen a purpose, direction or an actual human Left Back for the current Union squad.

      • EllisCarver says:

        But you have seen the best goalscorer the Union have ever had. A guy that Nowak refused to even put in his gameday 18. Not to mention a young centerback with great potential.

      • True.
        But my only reply to that is. Is the team better? Is there any evidence that the team will be better in the near future? it just seems like a revolving door of young players, allocation money and draft picks. Too soon to tell.

      • EllisCarver says:

        Yes, the team is clearly better. We had 3 road wins all of last season and we’ve already matched that total. Considering that most of the stars of the team are young and we’ll have a lot of cap space next offseason, I’d say the future is looking up.

      • I am comparing to the teams 2011 Peak. 2012 is a wash for both coaches.

      • Sieve in the devils advocate role, I would say Novak had a year to get them to that 2011 high so maybe we should give Hack a year and grade him next year. I’m not saying I agree with everything he has done (the draft was a mess, and I still think Garfan was out best LM and should be here unless we got offered a crazy package for him) but if we are playing devils advocate then he shouldn’t be graded till the end of next year.

  10. Bleed Blue and Gold sopped up with Bimbo Bread says:

    If the Union and Hackworth finally have a clean slate I want to see what type of player Hackworth targets in the summer transfer window. What type of player or talent is he going to bring in when it’s his decision?

    • I would say I’m gun shy about people the Union get in the summer, they always seem to be scrambled choices to solve a problem, and then end up being the next high payed problem we have to deal with.

  11. I’m not sure how anyone can think that Nowak’s behavior was anything but scandalous. His moves were so illogical as to defy common sense. One soccer-savvy friend of mine literally wondered if Nowak had a major drug or alcohol problem since that was the only way his moves could be explained.

    In my 30+ years as an American professional sports fan, I have never seen any coach behave in such an outrageous manner. It is as though he were deliberately trying to terrorize and dismantle a team (that he had built himself!).

    I would call that quite a scandal.

  12. Southside Johnny says:

    Good article, Dan. I need a little perspective to pull me back from the edge at times. As much as I have lamented a number of Hack’s decisions, I am still giving him credit for dealing pretty well with a nightmarish set of circumstances for a rookie head coach. There is always a steep learning curve when you move into upper management in any field under the best of circumstances. Inheriting a Philly fan base with unreasonably high expectations for a young franchise added to a challenge which already rivaled rebuilding a plane in flight. I am hoping that, as you suggest, we have survived the worst of it and are well positioned to move forward…finally. With all that said, if Keon freaking Daniel…

  13. Kenso Josh says:

    Yeah. It’s going to be okay. We can bring it more reasonable, affordable choices. BTW is Valdes back after this season?

    • Dan Walsh says:

      Theoretically, he could be, but I doubt he’s ever coming back. Probably not before the World Cup, at least.

  14. scottymac says:

    So, what’s the direction? What are our reasonable expectations? Playoffs? Challenge in two years? What’s the plan? Is it being negative to ask that? We made an improbable second year run, and were even in first for a little while in 2011. 2012 hit like a bus. 2013, and thanks to the wonders of medioparity, we find ourselves once again challenging for playoffs in a league where 53% make them.So if we are the 53%, let’s shove our chips in and go for it. If we’re supposed to be happy with a one and done 5th seed flame out, say so. And if we should go for it, that means not trading away starting talent for magic beans just because they ask to be elsewhere. They ask to be elsewhere because the actions of the manager state to all and sundry they will never see the pitch. Not because they aren’t professionals or hate driving to Chester (though I’m sure they do), but because they want to play, somewhere.

    The criticisms of Hackworth are valid. The positives he’s brought to the locker room are to his credit. If the goal is playoffs and we make moves that do not help the team this year, then he deserves criticisms.

    • EllisCarver says:

      Soumare doesn’t see the pitch because there are two centerbacks better than him. It’s that simple. Unless you want a 5 man back line I don’t see the controversy there.

      And Dan kinda mentioned why a Parke/Soumare pairing doesn’t work: two slow centerbacks starting together would be a nightmare.

      • I don’t necessarily see Parke as better. More cost effective/better PR but we don’t have the sample size to say better

      • EllisCarver says:

        Oh don’t give me that cost effective nonsense. Parke’s been a quality player here. Soumare had one good game. Plus, if Soumare was better he would’ve started earlier in the season.

      • Okugo is no longer a better CB (if he ever was). We ALL drank the Okugo for NT CB kool aide when during his honeymoon. He is far from that discussion now and has been at fault plenty of times this season.
        He loses track of his man too easily and doesn’t have the strength or size to be a dominate CB. He is great in possession. But you know where ELSE he would be great in possession? As a Dmid, cleaning up in front of the back line.

      • He has been quality. Don’t have a problem with him. But I saw qualities in Baky that Parke simply doesn’t have. Like organizing the back line. An d I believe the second Park made himself available Saomare was put onto the back burner for someone who was cheaper and could be marketed to the fanbase. Are you going to tell me crucial roster decisions on the team haven’t been motivated by PR and local ties? Are you gonna tell me this team hasn’t become moneyball oriented since Nowaks departure? Once we got Parke the writing was on the wall.

      • And the speed argument is weak. Plenty of world class CBs aren’t known for their speed. Soumare and Parke both have top positioning and awareness and soccer sense.
        If speed is such a deal breaker how was Soumare able to wipe out Nyarko in this second game?
        Hell, if speed is so dangerous why was Le Toux sniffed out for so many games over the past 3 years against CBs much slower than he was?
        It would be a slow pairing, and they would be beat sometimes, but they are both top CBs regardless.

      • Scottymac says:

        I think Soumare had two and a half good games. He got turned a couple of times in the first Fire game, but as I recall we had a clean sheet. He also cleared out Keane a few times in the LAG “we don’t get any respect” game. I hang more of that loss on how bad the left side was. How is it helping the team to have no depth with an older CB returning from hamstring issues?

  15. Ivor Driver says:

    I agree with much of the article but a few points:

    1. Soumare’s performance in the last Chicago game was as good as any one that Parke has had this season – unfortunately for him, he was a Nowak/Gutierrez player on a higher salary and Parke is a local guy. Winner in Hack’s world – Parke

    2. Nowak may have been a prick but he often did trade players to their preferred areas like Hack (Califf – Chivas, Mwanga – Portland, Nakazawa – LA, Le Toux – Vancouver [at least close to Seattle])

  16. Dan, I’m a huge fan of your website, but there are lots of wrong facts in this article.

    First, Hackworth is a inexperienced coach who has been given too much power in being able to trade guys in and out. Most clubs that have young/inexperience coaches have a technical director/president who deals with all the transactions. Philly has not only granted trades to players who wanted out, they have accommodated them in going places they wanted to go to. If I am a manager and a players tells me he doesn’t want to be there, I would shop him around the league and see where I can get the most value for him. Bad management all around by the club.

    I think you have the whole Soumare fiasco twisted. First of all, I have been following the league for a long time and let me assure you that Parke is not better than Soumare. I have actually ask a couple of the guys on the team who live in my area and they all seem to rate Soumare a lot higher than Parke. That’s coming from guys who train with them everyday. Yes, Soumare was coming off an injury but as we saw in his last game, he just needed a few games to get his strides. Had he started right off the bat, he would have used the first couple of games to get the rust off, by now he would have been 100%. Parke came in and was handed the job and had Baky and Amobi fight for the starting spot, what did Parke do in this league or career to be handed a spot on the team.. Is it better value-wise because he makes close to half of soumare’s salary and is from here, yes… But is he a better player? NO

    How can anyone have hard feelings towards a player who asked to leave because he felt he was getting paid too much to sit on the bench? At the end of the day, Soumare has gained lots of respect in my book because despite the whole thing, he still went out there and played his heart out when the team needed him.

    Also, the Baky deal to Philly came months after the Califf trade. How can you assume that Peter was making room for Soumare? As a writer, you are obviously entitled to your opinion, but you can’t assume things.

    Hackworth simply plays favorites in playing his crop of former national team players and refuses to have them compete for the guys who were already here or were signed from other places.

    This team has no chance in making it to the playoffs!

    My two cents

    • Dan Walsh says:

      I don’t have any facts wrong. The word you meant to use instead of “facts” was “opinions.”

    • Califf was traded in mid May 2012, and the Soumare deal was announced June 25 2012, and the international deal and trade with Vancouver for the top allocation spot (ouch, it still burns!) clearly didn’t transpire in just a day or two. It was reported at the time that the Union, previously still under Peter Nowak, were pursuing Baky for months before the deal actually happened, which makes sense given the complexity of a three-party international acquisition and needle-threading needed to meet the regulations of transfer windows.
      *
      The Baky deal was announced just before a transfer window opened (June 27th I think) and he wouldn’t have been eligible until that time, so I think (don’t know for sure) it could have been agreed upon even sooner, just not formally announced. Annnnnd on top of all that, this was the June of Doom in Chester, the month the Nowak firing/controversy was happening.
      *
      All those things considered, it might as well have been the day after Califf was traded it happened so [relatively] fast. I’m no expert and I have no inside knowledge, but at least to me, it appeared Califf was traded *after* the Baky pickup was all but literally inked, which was a small comfort to me as a Califf fan.

  17. Jaap Stam says:

    Can we trade our Front Office to Montreal for their Front Office? Montreal does not seem to need a 3 year plan to compete for a playoff spot. Build the best possible team each year with the assets you have. Go for it! Allocation money and draft picks are for losers in MLS.

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