Union trade Pajoy for DC’s Danny Cruz

Photo: Earl Gardner

The Philadelphia Union announced on Thursday afternoon that they have traded forward Lionard Pajoy to DC United for midfielder Danny Cruz.

An announcement on the United website says DC also received an international roster spot along with Pajoy.

“I’d like to thank Lionard for his time with us,” Union interim manager John Hackworth said. “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. 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.”

Cruz was part of the USMNT 2007 U-17 World Cup squad that included Sheanon Williams and Zac MacMath and was coached by the Union’s interim manager, John Hackworth. Also in the U-17 pool at the time was Amobi Okugo.

Union fans may remember the meeting between Gabriel Farfan and Danny Cruz early in the first game against Houston in the 2011 Eastern Conference semifinals. (Photo: Nicolae Stoian)

Pajoy joined the Union from Colombian first division club Itagüí Ditaires in February. With 16 starts in 20 appearances (1490 minutes), Pajoy scored five goals with 2 assists.

Cruz was drafted by Houston Dynamo in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft. He made 51 appearances for the club, scoring 4 goals, before being traded to DC in January of 2012 in exchange for allocation money. Cruz had 12 starts and 16 appearances for DC (969 minutes), scoring 1 goal with 3 assists.

The latest salary information from the MLS Players Union shows Cruz making $106,500 in guaranteed compensation for 2012. Pajoy’s guaranteed compensation for 2012 is listed at $195,000.

According to the announcement from the Union, “Cruz will arrive in Philadelphia tonight and be eligible for this weekend’s match against D.C. United on Sunday at 5:00pm.”

If Wiki vandalism is anything to go by, apparently some DC United fans are not pleased with the trade. As of this writing, the details of Cruz’s professional career on Wikipedia end with the following line: “On August 16, 2012, Cruz was traded to the Philadelphia Union in exchange for Lionard Pajoy in a monumental display of organizational stupidity.” (Click here for a screenshot.)

We’ll have more details as they become available.


  1. James "4-3-3" Forever says:

    10/10, fantastic, great move. He’s only 22, a young, “true” winger. High energy. Fits right into our system on the field, as well as off the field.
    We gave up nothing for him.
    We may not be going to the playoffs but we really do have a cabinet full of young bright talent.

  2. Well hopefully he can be the wing threat we’ve all been asking for.

  3. T of the U says:

    Replacement for Adu on the right side, maybe? I seem to remember Garfan kicking Cruz in the chest during the playoffs and he was lined up on the right wing. Move Adu to…the club box?

  4. Cruz is likely in the last year of his contract. Players often sign four-year equivalent deals upon joining MLS out of college, and this is his fourth year in MLS. It could have been a motivation for United to deal him. He’s a good player.

  5. MikeRSoccer says:

    I like this deal if we have the possibility of resigning him. Hopefully DC didn’t trade him because they knew he was leaving the MLS after this season. On a side note…how many IR spots do we have now? By my count we have 7 IR’s on the roster, but with this trade we only have 6 IR spots. Obviously I must be wrong, but I’m wondering if there is a way to see that information somewhere?

  6. James Korman says:

    I think Coach hackworth is transforming the Philadelphia Union into the Philadelphia Young Americans which makes some sense based on his coaching backround.

  7. WilkersonMcLaser says:

    My god. Eventually a personnel move is going to go our way, right?

    If only we could have traded Perlaza for him …

  8. As with all Union personnel moves I am underwhelmed. This guy is neither going to make or break the Union. They need a proven DP striker or two.

    • Which we clearly could have received for Pajoy, right? I think the Union are probably better after this deal than before. Ergo, good deal. I don’t think Pajoy would have been involved in any larger package deals for an established striker, and no DP is coming our way, so you can let that fantasy subside.

  9. Not winning this season, so take a flyer on a guy that could turn out to be very good down the line under a coach that knows him well.

    I’m of the mind to throw Hernandez, Pfeffer, and McLaughlin out there too. Get some seasoning and first team minutes. Maybe you’ll find another Hoppenot type that can contribute immediately.

    Gotta figure large changes are coming in offseason to mold team in Hackworths plan, let’s use the rest of the season to experiment/vett players.

    • The Black Hand says:

      Hackworth hasn’t gotten the gig yet. I was not a great Pajoy supporter, but he was second on the club with 36 shots and led the club with 5 goals. Jack Mac is looking quite tiny up top. I felt that obtaining a striker (with size) was called for, more so than another undersized mid/wing hybrid. On top of that, Cruz is in the final year of his contract.

      • Philly Cheese says:

        Got to believe Hackworth knows Cruz well enough to be confident in extending his contract with Union. Would not communicate confidence to only Cruz through end of season.

      • I think this is proof hack has the gig.

      • I thought that as well initially, until I remembered that Petr Nowak was likely still making trades on his plane out of town.

      • WilkersonMcLaser says:

        All good points, but we could use a true winger, whether he’s on his final year or not. The guy seems solid enough with youth and talent upside, but doesn’t seem to be exactly lighting up the league. So I doubt contract negotiations are going to be exactly the stuff of epic controversy. If he decides he wants to ply his trade elsewhere and can land a gig in Australia or Scandinavia or Israel or something, well good on him. But I don’t see an amazing pay bump in his future barring a miraculous year with the Union (in which case we’ll want to hang onto him).

        Not that I don’t think we couldn’t use a target/holding striker type to combine with JackinMac/Hip-hoppenot to really get the most out of their runs, but it doesn’t obviate our need for a winger.

        Pajoy turned into a decent contributor, but he was ultimately a squad player at best, and thus replaceable. At worst, Danny Cruz will sit on the bench (but can he really be as useless as Adu, who starts every game??) but we’ll be paying him about 40% less than Pajoy.

  10. United website headline — “D.C. Lands Union’s Top Scorer”

    I cannot tell you how sad that headline makes me (and it’s not b/c Pajoy is going)

    I’d take a case of Breck shampoo for Adu at this point, let alone Brek Shea (which ain’t happening people)

    I hear Berbatov might be available…..

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