A View from Afar / Commentary

An interesting Monday for the Union

Photo: Earl Gardner

UPDATE/AUTHOR’S NOTE: After I learned I was moving to Italy this past summer, we at PSP changed my column. It got a new title, “A View from Afar,” a slightly different focus, and the unfortunate but realistic recognition that I wouldn’t be able to do the same reporting that I could do from within the States. So the column and my approach changed. 

After today’s column ran, I heard from a reliable source and learned that, apparently, I can still do a bit of MLS reporting from overseas after all. Lesson learned. I should have contacted that source in advance. Maybe I would have learned a bit of what you’ll read below in the updates, and my assessments would have been different. Then again, maybe it took a a provocative piece like this to get folks to open up. Judging by the emails I’ve gotten, it certainly surprised some people that what Ed Farnsworth describes as my “voice of reason” approach to my columns was replaced by the “burn the house down” theme you saw today. But hey, I try to be versatile.

Either way, I’m updating this post (and headline) with newly learned facts that prompt a reassessment of some of the opinions I stated below. The original text remains because completely rolling back those earlier statements after many people read this piece might be a bit intellectually dishonest and generally pretty weak. (I would have put a strikethrough on “train wreck” in the original headline but didn’t know how to format it at the time! I do now, but whatever.) But when facts change, so do the conclusions you draw in a commentary like this. See below. My updates are in italics and boldface.

We have no an idea what Philadelphia Union management is thinking, and we’re not now pretty sure they do either too.

In a day that confirmed the club’s absolute lack of a uniform vision, the Union on Monday made some of the most flummoxing decisions seen in their five-year history as an active team. We’re talking Peter Nowak levels of bizarre here, as if the mad scientist himself climbed through a window and hijacked the franchise for a day either for old time’s sake or as part of an out-of-court settlement to his lawsuit against the Union.

  1. Amobi Okugo is gone. Not to Europe. To Orlando. For allocation money. Which better be a lot. But probably isn’t. Because it seems very clear that he’s gone because the Union were unwilling to pay him what he’s worth. UPDATE: They were willing to pay. See below for more details.
  2. Fabinho remains. Because protecting an overpaid backup left back from expansion teams who would not pick him anyway is so important that the Union exposed promising rookies Pedro Ribeiro and Richie Marquez instead. UPDATE: The opinion remains, but see below for more insight on this.
  3. The Union protected neither Rais Mbolhi or Zac MacMath. It’s an interesting and possibly justifiable calculation that nonetheless probably prompted many Union fans to vomit in their mouths just a little bit.
  4. And then there was a good trade for C.J. Sapong. How nice. UPDATE: No update. Still a good trade.

Let’s break down each of these decisions before we talk generally about the expansion draft, some of the big names available (Diego Fagundez???) and why Orlando looks like they will be one of the league’s best teams right away.

Amobi Okugo: Gone because the Union wouldn’t pay him

Do not believe the nonsense about the Union generously letting Okugo go so that he could try his hand in Europe. It never struck me as true, and now it’s very clear that it was not now that he is signing a contract with Orlando instead of going to Europe.the BS, shall we?

The Union never intended to keep Okugo because:

  1. Manager Jim Curtin didn’t rate Okugo highly enough to pay what Okugo thinks he’s worth;
  2. Okugo tired of dealing with one of the most dysfunctional franchises in MLS and wants to develop as a midfielder;
  3. Or some other silliness or clash of personalities we don’t know about.

The Union ostensibly made Okugo a nominal bona fide offer to retain his rights within MLS, under the premise that he was leaving for Europe. Under the rules of the league’s collective bargaining agreement, that equates to 105% of Okugo’s current base salary of $145,000. There was no talk of a significant raise, and if there was one beyond the basics of a bona fide offer, we haven’t heard of it.

You’re telling me that a 23-year-old player who’s been a top-shelf starter for three years is worth only $152,250?


All the talk in the world about building a team around young players means nothing if you don’t actually keep and play your young players.

If the Union wanted to retain Okugo, they would have offered him between $220,000 and $300,000 and told him, “Yes, you’re going to play defensive midfield.” At the lower end, he’d be a bargain. At the higher end, you’d have to justify it by citing his anticipated continued progression. (I’d have offered $230k with incentives and annual increases.)

UPDATE: The Union offered Okugo a 2015 base salary of $235,000 to renew his contract with Philadelphia, according to a source close to the team. That’s about the same as what Okugo made in 2014, when about $90,000 in bonuses are factored in with his $145,000 base salary.

Okugo’s agent did test the waters in Europe a bit but decided against pursuing the offers he got. After the season (or some earlier point), however, Orlando entered the picture, which is something Okugo himself confirmed today. Orlando offered more money than the Union, the source told me. I asked the source whether tampering charges could come into play because of Orlando’s approach to a Union player. The source was no expert but opined that the pending expiration of Okugo’s contract changed that scenario for the Union.

As for allocation money, the source told me the Union received $150,000 for Okugo, as first reported by Philly.com’s Jonathan Tannenwald, and not the $100,000 reported by Goal.com’s Ives Galarcep.

REASSESSMENT: The Union offered almost exactly what I indicated that I’d offer him as a first offer. If true — and I believe the source — that’s absolutely a fair offer. Could it have been higher? Obviously yes, based on what Orlando offered. My guess is that Orlando’s offer is at the high end of the range I speculated earlier — near $300,000 — but that’s something we’ll clearly see evidence on next season when the players union releases its salary figures.

So why did Okugo leave? Clearly, basic capitalism was part of it. Orlando made him feel more valued and, in all likelihood, more stable. Okugo seems to have created his own version of free agency with Orlando, much as Aurelien Collin did in forcing Kansas City to trade him to Orlando as well. Hopefully, Okugo will straightforwardly and clearly articulate his decision-making process with PSP in an interview later this week. As one of the most articulate professional athletes around, he’s more than capable. 

Okugo’s Europe options were never bound to be good this year. Does he have the potential to play there? Absolutely. But based on his body of work and his bouncing between positions, his options were likely to be on the level of lower first division clubs in Belgium and the Netherlands, first tier clubs in Scandinavia, or second division clubs in Germany or England. He hadn’t yet made an all-star team or a national team appearance. He needs another year or two in MLS to build his resume and lock in on one position before bigger European clubs come calling.

Now, the last player to have spent all five years of the Union’s existence playing with the club is gone.

And for what? Allocation money? A second round draft pick?

Memo to the Union: This would be one of those times you want to leak to the press how much allocation money was actually acquired rather than hiding behind supposed league policies on secrecy for allocation money that are consistently flouted anyway. Because if it’s only $100,000 to $150,000, as has been reported elsewhere, then the Union gave away one of their most promising assets for one-tenth of the salary of the striker they want. The trade cannot be justified under these circumstances to a rightly skeptical fan base.

That matters less than what they’re losing: Exactly the type of player you want to build a club around, on and off the field.

Instead, Okugo will be part of the foundation of an Orlando team that increasingly looks like it will be one of the best run clubs in MLS.

Fabinho: More valuable than …

Meanwhile, Fabinho remains.

Yes, everyone’s favorite backup left back and fairly likeable guy was deemed important enough to protect in the expansion draft, despite the fact that he is overpaid as a backup fullback, not to mention the desire of a growing legion of Union observers to design a rocket with which they will fire Fabinho into the sun. (This latter desire is cruel and unusual and something I don’t approve of, but that hasn’t stopped Union fans from latching on to the offhanded reference by PSP contributor Peter Andrews and discussing design and financing alternatives.)

Among the players the Union chose not to protect were rookies Pedro Ribeiro and Richie Marquez, each of whom could have been protected under the draft’s international player protection rules. Each makes less money than Fabinho and is at least five years younger.

Ribeiro and Marquez could be attractive to Orlando. They are both low-paid, young rookies with high upsides. Orlando has seen both play firsthand in USL PRO, where they were among the top performers for Harrisburg on loan from the Union. As a bonus, Ribeiro is Brazilian, and Orlando’s owner is trying to sign his countrymen to appeal to the large Brazilian population frequenting Orlando.

As for Fabinho —

Neither Orlando nor New York City FC was likely to select Fabinho. This isn’t because he’s a bad MLS player. He’s just not a particularly good one. He makes about $100,000, which is fairly high pay for a backup in MLS. He’ll be 30 in March.

UPDATE: The Union have fielded inquiries from multiple teams about trades for Fabinho, according to this source close to the Union. Union management’s reasoning behind protecting Fabinho was that they would rather trade him for something or someone of actual value than lose him in the expansion draft. Further, they value him because he is an actual left-footed player with some ability on that side of the field.

REASSESSMENT: Fair enough. Makes sense. Apparently, other MLS teams value Fabinho more than I do. My view of Fabinho remains unchanged: He is a fairly useful and serviceable player to have on the squad, but he was not worth protecting over the other players who were exposed. Draft day will obviously add some 20-20 hindsight on this one.

And if the Union lost Fabinho, would it matter?

He has proved over the last two years he is not good enough to start at left back in MLS. Yes, he might be a nice guy, but is that enough to justify exposing these other players?

No, of course not.

Rais Mbolhi: Unprotected??!!

After all that drama ensuing from the Union’s acquisition of “world class” goalkeeper Rais Mbolhi and benching of Zac MacMath, the team proceeds to leave both unprotected?

This one is fascinating. Here’s what it says to me:

  • Curtin never wanted Mbolhi;
  • Curtin now has more control over player movement and overruled Nick Sakiewicz here;
  • Curtin is willing to let someone else take Mbolhi.

This may seem like the most inexplicable of all of Monday’s moves, but it’s probably the most defensible.

First off, both expansion clubs have signed starting quality goalkeepers. Yes, Josh Saunders washed out with the Los Angeles Galaxy due to substance abuse problems and could easily project as a backup, but NYC manager Jason Kreis had him subsequently in Salt Lake and prioritized his acquisition. Saunders is a worthy reclamation project, either as starter or backup. In Orlando, Tally Hall was a top tier goalkeeper for Houston and likely would be again once he recovers from injury.

Second, the list of available goalkeepers includes some quality, including Raul Fernandez, Andy Gruenebaum, Joe Willis, Brad Knighton, Donovan Ricketts, Jeff Attinella, and Jon Busch. The Union could be gambling that the expansion clubs either don’t pick goalkeepers in the draft or go for one of the others. (Willis in particular is worth considering, as is Attinella, who has been good as a backup, and Gruenebaum if he can stay healthy.)

Third, the Union have the option of protecting one of those goalkeepers as their 12th player as soon as the other one is picked.

All that said, it’s worth restating that, outside the way in which Mbolhi was brought into the club, his acquisition always looked good on paper: A legitimate international starter for a World Cup team whose club situation was never quite settled.

Unless he’s a designated player next year. What’s that? He is? A DP goalkeeper? In a country known for producing good goalkeepers? Madness.

UPDATE: Mbolhi is in fact a designated player for the 2014 season, by virtue of a transfer fee the Union paid for his rights, according to the source cited above. It’s a situation similar to Cristian Maidana, whose salary is below the DP threshold but who is a DP in 2014 due to a transfer fee paid to his former club. Mbolhi’s salary will rise somewhat in 2015, but not to DP levels, so he will not be a DP in 2015. The source didn’t know how much the transfer fee was.

REASSESSMENT: Ok, so maybe it’s not madness. The prior statement stands, regarding his signing appearing to be a good deal on paper. Of course, we don’t know definitively what the transfer fee was. Transfermarkt lists it as $350,000. If correct, that seems like an awful lot in a league where you can get quality goalkeepers like Peruvian international Raul Fernandez for free in this week’s Re-Entry Draft or via trade yesterday for much less than $350,000. When you combine this with the loss of Okugo due to dollars and cents, the math looks rather unkind. 

Curtin could be ready to wash his hands of all the drama and just go with Andre Blake in goal next year. Considering the Jamaican’s performance in international play recently, that could be a very justifiable move.

The C.J. Sapong trade: The best sign that the Union still have a clue

Good trade.

Talented player. Good upside. Past experience with Reading United, former teammate of Andrew Wenger and Ray Gaddis. Had trouble breaking into the Kansas City lineup over the last few seasons, but he showed enough in his first two seasons to indicate he’s a better center forward option than most of the Union’s current options.

And the Union only had to give up a draft pick.

Sapong will be 26 come opening day. He needed a change of scenery. Here’s his chance.

UPDATE: Nothing new.

REASSESSMENT: None. Still a good deal, even if some might argue that a first round pick was too high a price to pay for a guy who Kansas City acknowledges they were going to expose in the expansion draft. (I think it’s a fair price. If I was KC, I would have gambled that he would outlast the expansion draft if I wasn’t getting at least a first round pick via trade.) The Sapong deal is still rightly overshadowed by Okugo’s departure right now. He won’t be overshadowed if he scores 15 goals next year.

Exposed players of interest

Various players stood out when MLS released teams’ exposed lists on Monday. Here are some of them:

  • Diego Fagundez: New England left Fagundez unprotected, which should make him the first player picked. Except, there’s this. So he won’t be picked. Apparently.
  • Corey Ashe: Good left backs are hard to find. Ashe will get picked. If Orlando gets him, it wouldn’t surprise me if he gets dealt to the Union as part of some unspoken handshake deal that went with the Okugo trade. I’m not saying it will happen, but it wouldn’t surprise me, largely because logic doesn’t support the Okugo trade unless the Union get more than $100,000 and a draft pick.
  • George John: It wasn’t that long ago that John was one of the league’s best center backs and tipped for an overseas transfer. But he missed the entire 2014 season due to the latest of a series of injuries. He’s out of contract, so he could also be acquired in Friday’s Re-Entry Draft if not picked in Wednesday’s expansion draft.
  • Former RSL players: Look for NYC to pick up at least one RSL player. Ned Grabavoy would slot in as an immediate starter. Devon Sandoval and Sebastian Velazquez are talented young players, while Jeff Attinella played well when Nick Rimando was hurt. (But there are plenty of goalkeepers, so expect Kreis to prefer the outfield players instead.)
  • Eddie Johnson! Won’t get picked. No expansion club wants his drama.
  • Benji Joya: The U.S. U-20 international should be on everyone’s radar. Chicago makes the Union look like geniuses on player personnel decisions.
  • Andrew Driver: D.C. United traded for him and then left him exposed. He’s a good player who a British coach like Adrian Heath would probably consider.
  • Jeff Parke: If he can return from injury, he’s one of the league’s best center backs. But word has it the local guy’s career could be over.
  • Jared Jeffrey and Conor Doyle: Jeffrey and Doyle looked pretty good last year for D.C. United. This year, they couldn’t crack the lineup. Each has European experience.
  • Adam Moffat: He hustles. He has a cannon of a shot. Good role player.
  • Hendry Thomas: Should be one of the top picks in the draft if either team is willing to pay him what he wants. Dallas wasn’t, but he was so good for them as a center midfield destroyer.
  • Kenny Cooper: Solid forward. Probably overpaid. Worth picking if you can renegotiate his contract.
  • Raul Fernandez: The Peruvian may be the best goalkeeper available.
  • Tim Cahill: How fascinating would it be if NYC FC acquired Cahill and then watched him have another big year?
  • Thierry Henry: Henry to NYCFC? Please let this happen.

And finally, the Union players most likely to get drafted, in no particular order:

  1. Richie Marquez: See above.
  2. Pedro Ribeiro: See above.
  3. Rais Mbolhi: See above. Would be funny. In a train wreck sort of way.
  4. Zac MacMath: See above. And the last five months of writing. He grew up near Orlando.
  5. Mike Lahoud: Good role player. Versatile enough to deputize at right back or wide midfielder. Good locker room presence.
  6. Austin Berry: Don’t forget this guy. He was a solid center back before injuries wiped out his 2014 season. Still young enough. He would be my first pick from the Union.


  1. Seems that rais is indeed a dp. I doubt these teams want to use a dp spot for a keeper, because using a dp spot for a keeper is insanity….

  2. It is hard to judge the protected list at face value. There is always behind the scene deals. It is quite possible that part of the Okugo deal included an agreement to leave Union players alone. We have to wait to see what happens in the expansion draft.

    • Or… The deal could come with the understanding that the union would leave certain players unprotected in exchange for a higher than expected transfer fee. A handshake can seal all sorts of deals.

      • Yup. I’ll have to get into my conspiracy bunker and wait to see what happens.

      • Non fluoridated water for all!!!!

      • I see what you’re saying and all, but the thing is, what have the Union ever done in their history to make you think think they are savvy enough to work these deals? It’s really just the hope that they couldn’t have made SUCH bad decisions.

      • Eats delicious Union branded applesauce… Oh how you doubt the unseen hand of Sak….

      • John O'Donnell says:

        Sounds good in conspiracy theory, but what happens if NYCFC snaps up the player Orlando had their eye on? Wouldn’t be the smartest move for the Orlando FO to do that. You make deals to not take players, not to grab them in a draft, you would just include the player in the first trade.

  3. Eli Pearlman-Storch says:

    I’m expecting 2 of the Revs quartet of Fagundez, Soares, Neumann and Mullins to get snapped up FAST

    • It must be frustrating for New England to painstakingly build that team from nothing and then have those players snatched up by a new rich kid team collecting toys.

    • Fagundez won’t be picked. RIF, Eli. 😉

    • Most definitely. I should’ve included those other three in the list above.

    • Reading some of the rev fans comments yesterday, they seemed sure Soares was going to Europe and was the only reason he was unprotected. But I could definitely see them losing both Mullins and Nuemann, for themselves or to trade within the league.

  4. this is aggravating.

  5. old soccer coach says:

    There is a provision in the expansion draft rules that if NYCFC or Orlando draft players from the “off-budget” portion of the salary cap roster of a team, those players must be placed on the “on budget, “senior” roster {In the 18 to 20 who count for salary cap purposes in other words). Both Marquez and Ribeiro fall into that category, judging by the salaries they were paid for 2014. While I share Dan Walsh’s enthusiastic curiosity about their future potential, – as with others I had Ribeiro on my protected list – I do not think they are the top candidates for departure in the draft. Austin Berry seems most likely to be lost, former rookie of the year, experience at the MLS level, young, under $100K.

    • Right, that’s a good point. I saw you make it in an earlier post. I still think they could go — Ribeiro, more likely — but I agree that Berry is the first to go.

  6. I used flummox in a poem recently to describe the swivel of a women’s hips. You used it to describe the design of this club. Flummox: to perplex/bewilder. Good word flummox.
    One both counts I am totally flummoxed. Well said Dan.

  7. At least the team continues to justify me ignoring the calls from my season ticket guy to renew…

  8. Sorry Dan, I don’t see the “train wreck” at this point. The pieces are still moving around. Sapong was a nice get. I agree with some of the points in your article, but the headline grabbing title was misplaced in my opinion.

    • Eh, I was lost for a headline on this one. Not one of my strengths as a writer. At newspapers, copy editors write most of them, so I didn’t have to bother with them for so long. 😉

      But I definitely think it was a train wreck. The mismanagement of Okugo, all by itself, is a mess. Protecting Fabinho? Well, you see my thoughts on that above.

      • The Black Hand says:

        “Train wreck” might have been too mild…

      • Yes the Fabinho thing is really weird.

      • it is impossible to overstate how terrible of an idea it is to protect fabinho over ribiero or even cruz or berry

      • John O'Donnell says:

        They had to protect an International player, so the gamble is that Ribeiro and Marquez wouldn’t be good enough to make the senior roster of both teams. Each team already have many players under contract and on their radar already. It’s not a bad strategy, but I would have protected Ribeiro.

      • It is such a dumb gamble because no one is going to take Fabinho but someone might take Ribiero, Cruz, or Berry. And if someone did take him he is so incredibly replaceable. It is not difficult to find a bad defender in ok shape with a functioning left foot. But just to reiterate- no one would want Fabinho because he isn’t good or special in any way. He is just a guy

      • No, they only had to protect three internationals. That was covered with Nogueira, Maidana, and Valdes. They didn’t protect Fabinho because they had to protect an international; they protected him because they chose to.
        I look forward to Dan’s update to see if it explains why…

  9. “It’s an interesting and possibly justifiable calculation that nonetheless probably prompted many Union fans to vomit in their mouths just a little bit.”
    Lol. I want to vomit more than just a little bit after yesterday. I think you hit the nail on the head, Dan. Good job!

  10. The Fabinho thing is mind blowing. I’d protect Ribeiro, Marquez, Cruz, the two goalies, and Lahoud before I get to Fabinho. Seems like a good guy, but was there a huge risk there?

  11. I actually sent my ticket rep an email last night stating that yesterday was so completely inexplicable, so mind-boggling, that I can understand why they’re having trouble selling tickets. We could argue whether or not certain moves were good or necessary, but more than anything, there’s absolutely no coherency, consistency, or plan to anything this organization does. And that’s more frustrating than plain bad moves.

    • In fairness and I am a brutal ass, it is too early to tell if there is a plan. We can only hope there is a plan. There best be a plan.
      Obviously Okugo is not part of that plan.
      Maybe Albright and Curtin have a clearly defined vision, plan and philosophy that we will see played out in the coming months and season and years. We can only sit back and watch and critique daily what seems like very interesting and poor or good choices.
      Time will tell us if this is truly a train wreck. I am circumspect myself but trying to withhold casting it off as rubbish and I was the biggest Okugo supporter around so you know this ain’t easy from this desk chair.
      Clearly defined vision, plan and philosophy- that is all I ask. Just no guessing game.
      What’s that boss? Fetch you some coffee? Yes sir.

  12. OneManWolfpack says:

    I’m willing to reserve judgement until this whole uniquely American expansion draft plays itself out. I will say right now I am far from excited about what has occurred, but time will tell. Remember, we were a non-playoff team last year (yes we went to the USOC Final), so to act like we are just stocked with guys other teams are ready to snatch up, is a little difficult to completely buy. And assuming Orlando did agree not to take our guys, that leaves one team to pick a max of 2 guys. Let’s all relax a minute, and see what happens before we go completely “Philadelphia” on the FO.
    I also love how the Revs traded “someone or something” to keep a guy protected, after they left him unprotected. Oh MLS… One day, one day you will be a big boy league…

  13. Union fans are the biggest bunch of Chicken Littles I’ve ever seen. A list of protected players which hasn’t been acted on yet and the loss of a player that wasn’t good enough to make the all-star team constitutes a train wreck? That’s harsh. It’s a little early in the offseason to declare that. Let’s at least wait and see what happens in the expansion draft.

  14. Glad you talked the dollars. Looking for Okugo to get Kaka the ball, and Kaka to supply two assists to beat the Union 2-1. Then I’ll say that’s what you get when you don’t pay your workers. And we call ourselves the Union.
    How is anybody going to take and pay Ras? His career in MLS, short, shows not much good and some terrible. And he’s expensive. No brainer to leave him waving in the wind.
    I’m saying it’s MacMath.

    • The Black Hand says:

      I think that the Union are gambling that teams will not be looking to taking on Rais ($$$/DP), so he is probably in their plan moving forward. Leaving him unprotected, allows the Union to protect another player. Not a bad move, either way. (A: We get the proven keeper. B: Rais is off the books.)
      This is exactly what the Union should be doing with Fabinho, as well.
      Dangling Ribiero is very foolish, in my opinion.

  15. Exactly right about Okugo. And I’m sick of the “at least they got something for him” argument. They got allocation money. As a Union fan allocation money means absolutely zero to me.

  16. Interesting updates. I wondered about Fabinho offers in a comment I made yesterday. I keep reading that left footed left backs are in demand in the league.

    We can only hope that no one poaches Ribeiro or Fernandes tomorrow.

    • I am hard pressed to think of a some teams that are in the market for a left-back. But its the only reasonable explanation for keeping Fabinho

      • Thoughts are possibly Portland and Montreal. They also need some help at LB. Possibly RSL as well. They left Wingert unprotected and I wouldn’t be surprised if Kreis picks him up for NYCFC

  17. Great update. Thanks for taking the time to add these. I still think we need to make a big splash up top..

  18. How did Monday go from a “train wreck” to “interesting”? Did someone get called into the principal’s office?

    • Read the updates.

    • Well, to be honest, your feedback influenced it. Read my response to your comment above. I wrote that response to you before I heard back from this source, and after speaking with the source, I changed it. As I said in that earlier comment, I didn’t like my headline to begin with — my original version was actually “The Union finally jump the shark,” which sucked even worse — and so I edited it based on my reconsideration of that. In a digital world, we can do that. It almost helps balance out the lack of time we have to actually sit and think about good headlines.

      Do I still think Monday represented a train wreck for the Union? Yes, I absolutely do. Sapong was a silver lining, but losing Okugo like that is a big deal and exposing Ribeiro to protect Fabinho is poor talent evaluation in my opinion. But that doesn’t mean I needed the headline to say “train wreck,” particularly when the more significant aspect of the train wreck probably actually occurred long before Monday to influence Okugo to choose to leave the Union for another MLS club. Maybe I was wrong to edit it — plenty of people seemed to like my choice of words — but I err on the side of caution often times.

      Now, did someone get called into the principal’s office? Please, son. I’ve had a lot more powerful folks than those involved with a pro soccer club try to make me change what I write. I was on a U.S. senator’s shit list for quite some time (I was right, and he was full of it), and two Cumberland County (New Jersey) freeholders tried to get me fired at my newspaper back in 2004 because of what I wrote (again, I was right), among others. I change nothing unless I choose to, but I’m open-minded enough to listen and reconsider anything. In the digital world, we have the freedom to edit our posts whenever we want, provided we do it in a responsible fashion.

      • Thanks Dan. And thanks for digging to get all that great inside info. Sorry if I was too tough on you, appreciate your efforts very much.

  19. old soccer coach says:

    Well done Dan Walsh for being a responsible journalist. While I thought the mild vitriol was exactly that, it had the benefit to all of us who read PSP to shake loose some facts from an organization that tends not to understand the benefits of openness. Our collective gratitude should be conveyed to the source close to the team. The most interesting fact shaken loose is that someone in the team organization reads PSP and cares what it says.

    • I’m just glad he didn’t reassess his use of the word flummox.

    • Thanks. I certainly was curious to see what impact shaking the tree would have, as you could probably tell from my comment in the column’s original draft about leaking the allocation number. 😉

      That said, yes, folks from the Union definitely read our site. We’ve known that for some time now. Certainly, we’re glad they do.

    • Agreed, OSC. Great stuff, Dan.

      Regarding Okugo, a good follow up question to both sides would be was there any negotiating between the player and team after the initial offer was presented? Reading between the lines, it sounds like Okugo wanted out no matter what the Union had offered and I’m sure that his agent made sure that Orlando knew that.

      Lastly, did the Union retain a piece of his future transfer value if Orlando did end up selling him down the road?

  20. We will see later today if Monday was anything approaching a train wreck. While sad to see Okugo go, the Union did get some value in return in the form of needed allocation funds. And if Jim Curtin has visions of Edu and Noguiera paired together in the back of the midfield and that is his wish, I am ok with that. That leaves Okugo an odd man out and he is then best continuing his career elsewhere.

    As for Fabinho, and others on the protected list, keep in mind that the Union has already had discussions with Orlando regarding Okugo, so a number of trade scenarios may have been discussed to provide insight onto what parts of the Union roster interest that club. If they fancy Fabhino, why give him away. It would make sense to trade him later, even if they get no more than a draft pick or two in return. If the result of today is we lose Danny Cruz, Austin Berry or Zac Mac Math, then it is hardly a train wreck. Despite the recent good will to Zac here and his improved play, he is an adequate keeper on a continent filled with adequate keepers, nobody is beating down the Union door to get him.

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