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Shavar Thomas: Gone in 35 minutes

We may never know why Shavar Thomas went from a supposedly solid defender for Chivas USA to an apparent invalid for Philadelphia Union.

Thomas never got back on the field after his disastrous 35-minute stint in Toronto on April 15. Now, he’s off to Kansas City in a trade that makes him the second former Union player, following Dave Myrie, both a testament to this apparent Peter Nowak creed:

Don’t play horribly in your first game for the Union, or you may never play for them again.

Neither Thomas nor Myrie ever did. Rookie Toni Stahl must be wondering about his future, as he hasn’t seen the field in a regular season game since he was red-carded 42 minutes into the Union’s opening day debacle at Seattle.

Thomas and Myrie were expansion picks for the Union in what nonetheless looks like a very good draft for the team. Nowak and Nick Sakiewicz plucked starters Sebastien Le Toux, Jordan Harvey, Alejandro Moreno, Stefani Miglioranzi and Shea Salinas from that draft, and all look like keepers, with Le Toux, Harvey and Salinas potential long-term franchise cornerstones.

But Thomas never clicked. In his one appearance against Toronto FC, he gave up a goal, got booked for a sloppy tackle, and should have been given a penalty on another play. He played like a young child unsteadily learning to ice skate. The performance was so bad that the Philly Soccer Page gave Thomas the only 1 ever given in our player ratings.

Was it so bad that we thought we’d never see him on the field again? Well, we wondered that, but we also know that everyone just has bad nights sometimes. Some days you wake up a little under the weather, and it’s just not there. Maybe you didn’t eat well the day before, and the energy’s just lacking. A bad night’s sleep? Anything’s possible. Thomas was a core player for a Chivas USA playoff team just last year, captain of the Jamaican national team at the 2004 Olympics, and a projected starter for the Union till the club signed Danny Califf and Michael Orozco. Can it disappear that quickly?

Apparently there was no recovering from that Toronto performance. Here’s to hoping he gets a shot for the Wizards, with whom he played from 2004 to 2006.

In the long run, Thomas may not be a bad expansion pick. The Union were able to reap two second draft picks – in 2011 and 2012 respectively – and allocation money for a player they clearly didn’t want or need, making the trade a potential steal. (Say what you want about the college game, but I’ll take two shots at a Kyle Nakazawa over a bench warmer any day.) With Salinas showing he can start at right back or winger and Cristian Arrieta, as a result, becoming the new second choice at center back, Thomas was expendable.

Now he’s gone, the second former Union player in the team’s history.

(Photo: Philadelphia Union)


  1. this team needs to be adding players, not subtracting them. not saying that thomas was any good at all, but the UNION are an injury or two away from being very very exposed. of course, i hope this doesn’t happen, but we need bodies to make up the numbers.

  2. I think the new collective bargaining agreement has prompted them to hold off on signings because more contracts are guaranteed now and money is tight enough for the Union that they limited the size of the new stadium. With the summer transfer window opening, I expect to see some new faces, and trading Thomas clears some salary for that.

  3. good point. brutal doesnt even begin to describe his performance against toronto

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