Union trade Sheanon Williams to Houston

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Philadelphia Union announced on Thursday the trade of Sheanon Williams and an international spot to Houston Dynamo in exchange for “general allocation money and future considerations.”

Union technical director Chris Albright said in a statement, “Sheanon has represented the Club well during his time here and we wish him the best of luck in Houston. However, this allows us the flexibility to make additional moves both short and long term.”

Sure to be an unpopular move, the trade would nevertheless seem to signal the Union are preparing to make their first player acquisition of the recently opened summer transfer window. Shortly before the announcement, Taylor Tweelman tweeted that Swiss international midfielder Tranquillo Barnetta would begin training with the team this week “to assess ‘his options.'”

Williams joined the team in 2010 from Harrisburg City Islanders. The longest tenured player with the club, he made 141 appearances for the Union, including 138 starts, scoring seven goals and 19 assists over 12,261 minutes of league play.

Houston VP/general manager Matt Jordan said of the deal, “We felt it was important to add a player to our team who possesses Sheanon’s unique ability to play every position along the back line. The timing of this addition is important, especially due to the unfortunate injury to Jermaine Taylor in the Gold Cup.

“As our team enters the second half of the season, we feel the addition of Sheanon, the recent arrival of Erick ‘Cubo’ Torres and the upcoming return of our National Team players positions us well for an exciting push toward the MLS Cup playoffs.”

The trade announcement from Houston notes, “The Dynamo will hold the acquired international roster slot through the end of the 2016 season.”


  1. Good luck, Sheanon! I’ll miss the kaboom.

  2. What?!?

  3. About goddamn time. The writing was on the wall ever since Gaddis got his contract extension.
    He was the last of what I call the fun era of the Union. A scrappy bunch who at at times over achieved and at other times did incredibly boneheaded things but were always fun and easy to root for.
    (This era I call the bunch of dudes hanging out on the field doing stuff era)
    He became a scapegoat for Union fans sometimes deserved sometimes not but I always thought given the options we had he should have been on the field.
    I think the grind of being with the Union wore him down as it has done with many other players in the past (Roger Torres for example) and it was time to go.
    Good luck Sheanon, I’ll never forget cursing you out for slapping that yellow card out of the refs hand. I hated you for that and kind of loved you too.

  4. I think I just blacked out….let me read that again….I think I just blacked out …let me read that again… I think I jus….

  5. Again another baffling move by the Union. While I want them to trade they once again get nothing of value in return. This again will be more clearly a problem when we see Fabi fall back into old habits or one of our backs gets injured. I would like to hope they have a plan in mind, but experience tells me otherwise.

  6. *Insert string of profanities here*

  7. Little Fish says:

    Dumb. Just so stupid!

  8. Uh they traded an International spot . . . not acquired???? That makes zero sense and would actually significantly inhibit them “preparing to make their first player acquisition” since everyone on trial so far requires a spot. Basically they are even steven on spots after Blake got his Green card.

  9. Also we could have probably traded Sheanon for Corey Ashe a couple of weekss ago and at most gave up an international spot.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      Exactly. I can believe trading him… I can’t believe what they “got” in return. Wait, yes I can. We have no GM and no clue. Sorry… carry on…

  10. Raise your hand if you thought M’bolhi would still be on the roster and Williams wouldn’t.

    Nothing surprises me anymore.

    This better be for someone BIG!

  11. If they snag Barnetta, all might be forgiven in time. If not…

    • Even if they get Barnetta which I highly doubt who is the back up at that position? Insert your name _______ for the new back fullback spot on LB or RB now.

      • Raymond Lee is a fullback but not very good.
        Also, I remember seeing each of Lahoud, Carroll, and Wenger play fullback at least once in a pinch.

      • Dr. Union says:

        Raymond Lee is a fullback in nothing other then title little experience and looks scared on the field he is not ready for at least 2 to 3 years for this level if he can get there. Lahoud is still injured as far as I know so that makes him a questionable backup at best. Carroll has to play in the middle to allow Nogs to be Nogs. And Wenger well I’d rather not see him on the field at all with what I have seen this season. Plus you need at least 3-4 good backs in this league for success we now have 1 maybe 2 when Fabi is playing like he has been.

      • Exactly. My answer was purely filling in the blank with the only real options on the roster right now.
        Not saying it is a good thing by any means.
        As a side note though I did hear that Lahoud is close.

      • John Ling says:

        Le Toux has also played FB in a pinch before. Like your options, of course, it’s far from ideal.

    • Great One says:

      I doubt they get Barnetta, but even so, is he the savior? No.

  12. There’s another shoe (or two) yet to drop here, right? There has to be otherwise this move does not make any sense.
    First, this now leaves with TWO fullbacks – I don’t mean to disrespect Raymond Lee, but he has not shown anything to suggest his is ready to compete for a spot at this level.
    Second, if this is indeed to free up money for Barnetta (who is allegedly in town) – what about the international spot we just traded? Are we now back in the position of counting on MBohli’s departure to free up another space? Either that or 1) Another trade is in the works that will get the Union that spot; 2) Barnetta (or Dittborn) aren’t happening, and we are going after someone with a green card or who is not an international; or 3) We aren’t signing anyone this window and this is just an early salary dump for the offseason (which I wouldn’t rule out, unfortunately).
    Final note: “long term” are two words that no fan wants to hear right now Mr. Albright, should’ve just left it at “flexibility”.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      There is always another shoe isn’t there… and SO RARELY does it drop.

      • Seriously. How many times has someone here said ” let’s see what they do next, because this doesn’t make much sense”, and nothing happens next? With this team no way you can assume it’s not just a foolish decision.

    • Great One says:

      This is just another in a long line of horrible Union moves that eventually make the team worse.

  13. WHAT?? Two steps forward to only take three steps backwards. What a stupid move…when is this franchise going to learn. Could we have traded someone else? This makes no sense so now what…Raymond Gaddis is going to take the long throw in, take the pK kicks, and create chances from corner kicks? This is such a a*hole move. No words right now can really explain what I want to say! Best of Luck Sheanon…you have worked your a** off for this team and as a fan I acknowledge you!

  14. Most teams have four decent outside backs. This year, we finally had three and now we trade the best one of them who, by the way, can also play centerback. Not good.

    “General allocation money and future considerations” is way too big to put on the back of a jersey.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      I like your jersey idea…

    • I actually saw fan jerseys with ‘Allocation Money’ on the back after LeToux left

    • Good point on him playing CB George. I hated the idea of playing him there, but he did show he could fill-in in a pinch. In fact, I think he was the only option if someone got hurt in the recent USOpen match. So they actually spoiled the depth at 2 thin positions with one move- FO getting more efficient I guess.

    • Great One says:

      The Union can never have depth for too long without getting rid of it, sometihng just wouldn’t be right.

  15. Old Soccer Coach says:

    “Future considerations” sounds like another shoe may drop. It could be money, or some position on one of MLS’s many lists, possibly a draft pick, although that would have likely been said, perhaps a player that is not yet completely Houston’s to trade.
    I don’t follow the Dynamo particularly, why would Owen Coyle want him?

    • ‘Future considerations’ – corner flags to be named later.

    • “We are pleased to add a player with Sheanon Williams’ quality and MLS experience to our group,” Dynamo VP/general manager Matt Jordan said in a release. “We felt it was important to add a player to our team who possesses Sheanon’s unique ability to play every position along the back line. The timing of this addition is important, especially due to the unfortunate injury to Jermaine Taylor in the Gold Cup.”

    • Great One says:

      OSC, I almost always come back to reality looking at your posts, after my initial emotional reaction… but really, at what point can we just admit that this organization does not make great decisions.

    • their Jamaican back got hurt in the gold cup.

  16. OneManWolfpack says:

    Hey, Union… I have some for you to meet… Her name is “DEPTH”… maybe you guys can get together and hang out for a while, huh!?!
    It’s almost a bigger kick in the nuts when Ashe gets traded like a week ago… it’s like they just couldn’t make that simple trade.

  17. So if you sign Barnetta or Dittborn, you’re now going to have an abundance of forward/attacking midfielders and only two fullbacks on the roster, unless you think Whit gives you depth at one of those outside back spots.
    Could there be thoughts of moving Wenger to a fullback role?

    • Except right now you can’t sign either because Union traded their open international roster spot. So nothing happens until Mbohli is gone.

      • M’Bolhi news better be coming real soon. And that news better be the good kind, as in shipped to Turkey or wherever.

      • pragmatist says:

        M’Bolhi’s not going anywhere. No one wants him, and this was a desperation move to free up cap space.

      • And even if you move him, getting Valdes off the books will become the next albatross around our necks.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        International slots: Blake’s green card replaces his Generation Adidas exemption from the international slot requirement. They had on international slots Aristeguieta, nogueira, Mbohli, Vitoria, Maidana, Fabinho, and Ayuk. So, they had one to spare, which they have just traded to Houston..
        I agree with others that to do a deal with Barnetta, they have to remove Mbholi. I would conclude that if Barnetta actually arrives, hey are confident that Mbholi will be removed somehow. Might it be as simple as waiving him, cutting him loose.
        The acquisition of allocation money suggests they are getting ready to buy down somebody’s contract. Those $100 K chunks announced last week when Galaxy signed Dos Santos are tradeable. If they got Houston’s and added theirs, they could buy down Maidana and free up a DP slot.

      • Except press release made a point that it was general allocation money, not the fancy new stuff.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        Would the cult of secrecy differentiate?? 🙂

      • Great One says:

        But we have a DP slot available. Maidana and Edu are the only ones right? Nando is Young DP.

      • John Ling says:

        Is Maidana a DP? His salary isn’t high enough, based on the recent numbers.

      • According to this Nando and Edu are the only 2 DPs for the Union. Maidana is listed as a former DP so his contract was likely bought down with allocation money.

      • I think Maidana is a “former” DP because his transfer fee that was paid last year pushed him over the limit. Since the transfer fee is a one-time hit, he’s now below the threshold.
        I think.

      • Actually John, now that you say that I am remembering something like that too.
        In any case, the Union have an open DP spot and now more allocation money. Hopefully Sak is on vacation so Jim and Chris can do something effective with it.

    • Even if you wanted to move Wenger to fullback (and they should absolutely consider it), you can’t do it in August unless you’re ready to loan him to Harrisburg for the rest of the year.

      • Atomic Spartan says:

        Switch Wenger and Fabinho?

      • I would think, right now, that Wenger becomes fullback depth. You’re new signing is going to get Wenger’s job at left wing.

      • Has Wenger ever played FB? I know he played D in college, but I thought it was as a CB. Of course, I’ve been wrong a lot this week, so…

  18. Old Soccer Coach says:

    Having just read the story on Houston Dynamo’s website about Williams, they face an injury to Jermaine Taylor during the Gold cup. The roster slot is gone through the 2016 season. The Dynamo do not use the phrase future considerations.
    The Houston story makes me think that the Union is after the general allocation money. If they were to sign Tranquillo Barnetta, they would need to buy down his salary to get under the c

  19. pragmatist says:

    Because of the M’Bolhi signing, we are forced to move Williams, which thins our defense and removes offensive capabilities. This is because they want to sign someone they HOPE is a difference-maker.
    M’Bolhi…continuing to be the absolute worst signing in the history of the league. But at least it was accompanied by the grand hubris of Sak.

    • Atomic Spartan says:

      Williams to Letoux – we won’t be seeing that pass any more, and even less production from Letoux as a result

    • pragmatist says:

      Had they been able to move Rais, then we could have Williams and Barnetta/Dittborn.
      That arrogant signing made them choose between a known quantity and an international prayer. They chose prayer.
      Sad thing is…we could have had both.

      • Did you guys watch Dittborn’s highlight reel? The kid can’t find the back of the net to save his life. It also looks like he is way more comfortable in the middle of the park. I hope they don’t sign him.

  20. Wait and see….holding breath-Scratching head. Wait and see and not make my typically emotional conjectured argument.

  21. …and leave us with no depth at FB at all.

  22. Atomic Spartan says:

    Just when you thought the FO couldn’t possibly suck any worse, we give up defensive depth for some sort of deal that has yet to be completed – and Curtin’s emphasis has been counterattacking from solid defense, literally banking on the 1-0 game!

    On the other hand, since there is no one in the whole wide world of pro futbol so stupid that they would take Mbolhi off our hands, what other move could NikSak make? Any takers out there for Wenger, Fred, Letoux, Hoppenot, or any other of our non-stalwarts?

    Right. I thought not. Yet another argument for the long-promised-and-yet-to-be-named GM, which probably won’t happen either. (Heavy Sigh)

    Whatever happened to that groupsourced campaign to buy the team?

    • Haha! Sadly that groupsource campaign might be the best thing to hang our hat on. Last I heard he had $200.00 but that was like 2 weeks ago, maybe he got $150,000,000.00 more since then? I think Onemanwolfpack said he was going to buy some lottery tix as well- we’ll make that our fallback option.

  23. 215. 215. Come out Come out wherever you are.

  24. The Little Fish says:

    No matter how much I try to rationalize this trade I still think it TOTALLY SUCKS!!!

  25. Least we could have done is received Horst in exchange. He’s from the Philadelphia region and would finally give us a veteran center back presence (Edu is a veteran, but not at center back)

  26. Andy Muenz says:

    Any chance we can petition the Union to make September 20, Sheanon Williams night?
    Would really like to see an SOB Tifo “You’ve got Sheanon but we have Allocation Money!”
    If other teams are smart, they’ll start aggressively attacking Ray and Fabhino knowing that if they get hurt the Union have no backup.

  27. Jim Presti says:

    Just to note, Zeitlin tweeted that this was the last year of Williams’ contract. Easier to get some worth from him now then chance losing him at the end of the season to the Re-Entry draft if he didn’t like the terms of the new deal. Just a thought

    • Oh Williams was gone. Okugo gone. Macmath gone. Jack Mac gone. Gone gone. He was outta here. But he should have been dealt sooner as he clearly wasn’t in the Unions plans with obvious holes in our line up. But you kept and increasingly disgruntled player and sole him as part of a fire sale.

      • Dr. Union says:

        You say best to get something for him since its the last year of his contract okay I’m all for that………….please let me know when they get something for him cause allocation money and “future considerations” is a joke.

      • Allocation money is the coin of the realm. who can say?

  28. At least they didn’t get another goalkeeper this time. Isn’t that progress? Good luck Sheanon.

    • You will be so disappointed when you realize the whole purpose of this move was to open a senior roster spot for the Sylvestre signing when his loan expires…..

      • I would be extremely surprised if that happened. I would not be extremely surprised to see MacMath back here next season.

  29. Dan Walsh says:

    Houston may turn around and deal Williams themselves. They’ve been looking for an international slot so they can sign Scotland youth international John McGinn. This allows them to do it.

  30. I understand moving Williams from the fact that he was the most valuable asset the team had within MLS, and if he was out of favor with Curtin, then get something for him. However….

    My assumption, especially after the club has failed to move Mbohli, is that Williams would be moved FOR an international roster spot. That would have made some sense to me as it would allow Union to sign one of the players they are linked to. But to INCLUDE the spot they just got from Blake’s green card in the deal?

    This organization is clueless.

  31. They should have made a deal this offseason for Ashe and not have to trade Williams to get him. Another bone head move by the FO. Now who starts if Gaddis gets hurt? Or you don’t have the option to play ray on the left if and when Fabino returns to poor form.

    I really don’t expect this FO to do anything this window, not even 1 player unless he comes from within league. Now with no international roster slots till they ship Mbohli, which probably isn’t happening.


    • Its already been almost a 2 year search for sporting director/GM that is not happening for this organization and never will. Unless Sak anoints himself with the position and a big fat raise cause that is all he cares about.

  32. Andy Muenz says:

    Class act, Sheanon. I have no plans to take down my holiday picture from last year with him, BC, my wife, and me in the Union locker room.

  33. Just wait. you’ll be eating your words when the FO signs Roberto Carlos, Maradona and Beckenbauer….

  34. Great One says:

    Better get Fabinho out of that sun rocket… if him or Gaddis go down we will have to see Raymond Lee.
    This might be the worst FO in the history of Philadelphia sports.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      Does anyone know if Lee is left or right footed? If the former, it would be classic Union for Gaddis to go down and then have two left footed outside backs to go along with their 6 goalkeepers.

  35. The Chopper says:

    I will always look at Williams as that player who too often did not play to the level of his gifts. He is probably very frustrating to coach. He checks out mentally for long periods.

    I am not jumping off the bridge yet. It is not a stand alone move. Chris Albright and Curtin may be inexperienced, but they are not idiots. Let’s see what happens next.

    • I really hope you are right. We also really need a G.M..

    • Dr. Union says:

      Curtin and Albright aren’t idiots but the FO is and they control this team and everyone knows that.

    • Yes. Just observe for now. If moving Williams yields something positive….including moving Wenger to OB which is where many here, including myself, have lobbied for than maybe there is a temporary rhyme to the reason.
      Please let us not mistake Williams’ ability or ceiling… He was certainly an expendable piece.
      Wenger as an OB has devastating potential… Hint hint JC and CA.

      • I agree that one thing Wenger has done to his credit this season is play pretty good defense. Maybe making that his primary occupation wouldn’t be a bad thing…
        But seriously, a lot needs to happen for this trade to be of any tangible benefit in the near term.

      • Williams was definitely the Union’s most tradeable asset within MLS. My frustration is also giving up the international spot, and getting what, on its face, seems to be little in return for that asset. As I said above, moving Williams for an international spot that allowed them to sign one of their targets would make sense. But that word in a sentence about Union roster moves can rarely be used.

  36. neatherprovidencepops says:

    Fool me once with Seba to Bolton. Did Califf dirty. Why WASN’T I expecting this. Fuck this front office. Fuck Nick too.

    • Phil in Wilmington says:

      You can say that again. This team is down to about 5-6 players that would be locks to start anywhere in the league. And it’s not changing any time soon. This bullshit is why MLS needs regulation.

      • I think 5-6 starters elsewhere might be high, actually. I think the only locks are Edu and Noguiera. Probably Maidana. Maybe Gaddis.
        I don’t think anybody else is a starter. We have a lot of players who would see time – Sapong, Fernando, Le Toux. We have players who are clearly rising – Ayuk, Marquez, Pfeffer – and might be regular starters somebody. But right now, I think at most it’s four.

  37. Please be a nightmare. Please be a nightmare.

    There better be another move or two very soon!

    Sadly I have zero confidence in that happening with this joke of a front office.

  38. One day, just before passing out from holding our collective breath for so long, it’s going to rain shoes.

    ……….. right?

  39. Worst decisions in order: ZacMac/M’bolhi, Williams, Okugo.

  40. Look, this isn’t a bad move. Sheanon was a FA after the season and was leaving. So, I would have to imagine that Rais is on the move somewhere, which frees up $$ and an international slot. Now, if Rais isn’t on the move, then there’s little upside here.

    We’ll see what happens.

    • I don’t know if Williams was on the move after the year or not. That said, I don’t think moving him is a bad decision. Hell, I’ve said before that they ought to trade one of them and that Williams (at the time) had the higher value. Moving him makes sense. That’s not the problem a lot of people – including me – have with this. The problem is giving away an international slot along with him and only getting back funny money.
      Maybe if MLS wasn’t more secretive than the Kremlin, and would release the amount of funny money it would help. Otherwise, they effectively traded Williams and the international slot for nothing. At least as fans can see it.

      • Jim Presti says:

        There is no problem with allocation money. Its the most tradeable asset within MLS. Its not a terrible deal if they have something lined up or are saving it until the following season.

      • The problem is they will not use the allocation money or trade it cause this team doesn’t know how to do that. Also my understanding of allocation money is that the top amount trade can only be $100,000 which to me is not much value here if that is the case.

      • John Ling says:

        The bigger issue is that if they did use it we wouldn’t know, due to the level of secrecy they insist on maintaining over it.
        I don’t mind them receiving allocation money. My problem is not knowing how much, and then not knowing how they use it later on. MLS’ Cone of Silence when it comes to this stuff is infuriating (to me at least).

  41. We can make a pretty damn good “former Union” team, can’t we at this point?
    Mondragon; Williams, Califf, Orozco-Fiscal, Harvey; G. Gomez; M. Farfan, Torres, ???; Ruiz, McInerney
    Mondragon could be replaced by Seitz or Konopka if you want a goalie who’s actually still playing. Califf and Ruiz are also candidates to replace with younger options if there’s somebody I missed off the top of my head…

    • Eli Pearlman-Storch says:

      Salinas in the other wide midfield spot.

      • Or Justin Mapp.

      • Also Okugo an option in midfield and centerback.
        Riberio up top.
        Kléberson as a super sub since his legs are going.
        Jacobson and Garfan as midfield depth.

      • John Ling says:

        Wow – don’t know how I managed to forget any of those players.
        So we can replace all the old-heads and have an actual young team that could play right now in MLS, I think.
        G: Seitz or Konopka
        D: Williams, Okugo, Orozco-Fiscal, Harvey
        M: Mapp, Gomez, Torres, M. Farfan
        F: Ribeiro, McInerney
        Your bench includes whichever goalie you didn’t start, G. Farfan, Salinas, Kleberson, Jacobson, and any two other players.
        I think that team competes, at least a little bit.

  42. If nothing else happens in transfer window Albright should be fired. That’s all there is to it. You can say that Sak is the real decision-maker but if Albright goes along with the decisions and doesn’t stand up for himself then he should be happy to go elsewhere anyway. Also, didn’t Curtin diminish Williams’ trade value by anointing Gaddis the starting RB when he didn’t have to and definitely didn’t have to announce it? I wonder what we would have gotten for Sheanon if Houston hadn’t realized that he wasn’t a valued player…

  43. Let’s just throw this out there …
    What if Williams IS coming back here as an FA next season….
    If this move allows the addition of another piece and brings Williams back next season, all of a sudden Albright is an evil genius.

    • The Black Hand says:

      Al Locationmoney has been named the starting right back, for 2016.

    • Williams isn’t coming back. And there is no genius in this trade even if he did cause they still lost an international roster spot.

      • The Black Hand says:

        The giving up of the Int spot is the baffling part. It better have been a large amount of money!!

      • Dr. Union says:

        My understanding of the money is it can’t exceed $100,000. Which is one bench players salary on this team.

    • My understanding of the new free agency is a player only qualifies if he’s at least 28 AND has minimum of 8 years in MLS. Williams doesn’t meet either condition. He might be out of contract but Houston will be able to hold his rights with a qualifying offer, and if not he goes into the re-entry draft.

  44. OK. Let’s wrap up everything into one neat little bundle. THIS IS THE ABSOLUTE DUMBEST, MOST IMBECILIC, LEAST INFORMED, WORSE THAN SUB-STANDARD ABILITY GROUP OF BONEHEADS RUNNING ANY SPORTS ORGANIZATION ON THE PLANET!! CURTIN, SAK, AND THE REST NEED TO BE THROWN INTO THE DELAWARE, LIT ON FIRE, AND FLOATED DOWN STREAM THE WAY THEY’VE DRIVEN OUR TEAM “DOWNSTREAM!” It’s not even Williams, per se, but just everything about their supposed decision making process…not to mention no clue how to train in the big leagues.
    By the way… I hear Cole Hamels might be available. This group might even think that’s a good move.

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