Transfers

Union deal Maidana, Wenger to Houston

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Philadelphia Union announced on Monday evening Cristian Maidana and Andrew Wenger have been traded to Houston Dynamo in exchange for Houston’s first round draft pick in the 2016 SuperDraft, No. 6 overall, as well as General and Targeted Allocation money.

The Union also hold the No. 3 overall pick in the upcoming draft following their 18th place finish in the 2015 season.

Union Technical director Chris Albright said in a statement, “We set out this offseason with a clear direction and this helps us start that process. We greatly value the increased cap flexibility, as well as the opportunity to have two high picks in the upcoming draft, increasing our ability to re-shape the roster. Cristian and Andrew should be commended for their time here and we wish them the best of luck.”

Houston head coach Owen Coyle said of Maidana and Wenger, “Cristian is a player with tremendous ability who can see a pass and open up defenses as his assists show, and we feel he is coming into the prime of his career and can add more quality to our group. Andrew is a young player with tremendous pace and power who we feel has the capacity to fulfill all his undoubted ability and potential and again add to our talented squad. Both players are very excited to join the Houston Dynamo and we look forward to working with Cristian and Andrew.”

On Friday, CBS Philly producer and PSP contributor Kevin Kinkead tweeted a Maidana move to Houston was in the works. Soon after, MLSsoccer.com beat reporter Darrell Lovell tweeted Wenger could be joining Maidana at the Dynamo.

Monday’s trade announcement comes after a series of roster news on Monday following the MLS Cup final on Sunday. Before the Maidana and Wenger trade, the Union announced the acquisition of midfielder Chris Pontius from DC United.

At CSN Philly, Ryan Bright reported earlier on Monday that Brian Carroll would be returning to the team in 2016. Jim Curtin said Carroll will contribute with both the senior team and new USL side Bethlehem Steel. “Brian will be back with the team. He contributed a lot to the team in terms of minutes, so I see him as a guy who can contribute,” said Curtin. “He’ll also have a little bit of a role helping Bethlehem Steel, being a leader and mentor for some of the players on that team. He’ll be helping those guys and helping me a great deal.”

Curtin also said Conor Casey will not be returning to the team due to salary considerations. “I had a good discussion with him, he’s very grateful for his time with the club and he wanted to be back,” the Union head coach said. “But with the salary that we started talking about, it’s not going to be possible to have him back with us.”

Earlier on Monday, new USL side FC Cincinnati announced the signing of Austin Berry, who was loaned by the Union to South Korean second division side FC Anyang in March. Berry, who was born and grew up in Cincinnati, said, “I’ve always wanted and thought about coming back to Cincinnati and now I get to come back here and get to play soccer and get to help grow it in my hometown, so there’s nothing bigger for me.”

Soon after that, Danny Cruz tweeted his farewell and thanks to Union fans for their support during his time with the team. “Philadelphia will always have a special place in my heart and I hope that you know that I never gave anything less than I had. I am excited for the future but I felt that I owed you a thank you for all the amazing memories that you’ve given me.” On November 30, CBS Philly producer and PSP contributor Kevin Kinkead tweeted Cruz would not return to the Union following the expiration of his loan with Norwegian side Bodo/Glimt, reporting the next day Cruz would remain in Europe, although just where is unclear.

64 Comments

  1. I can live with this.

      • 3rd. Wenger needs a change of scenery and a position. Chaco, while a very good player, is not a good fit at this point. The Union clear two not insignificant salaries, get a bunch of cash to spend on other things (exercising Ayuk’s buy option for instance? locking up Nogueira longer term?), and increase our chances of landing good young talent in the draft – Having two top-10 picks is significant in this league, considering the drop-off thereafter.

      • The salary they cleared was equal to what they are now going to have to pay Pontius . . . so that’s a break even on salary with a minus on overall production. They also paid allocation for Pontius, so some of what they are getting back from Houston will offset that. So taken as a whole I’m not overly enthusiastic on the day one moves.
        .
        If they hadn’t traded for Pontius and had ALL the allocation money and salary to play with I’d feel different. But basically they robbed Peter to pay Paul here, and have some allocation left over.

      • How do you know it is a minus on overall production…this is limited discernment.
        .
        We cannot know the outcome of this move until we see what Pontius brings by years end.
        .
        Let me ask you — if he’s injured for 12 games and scores the go ahead goal in Cup final this year with maybe 10 other goals…would it be worth it? How about…he buries his PK in first round of playoffs? How about if he scores 18 goals? What if he brings a Yuck Fu attitude this team hasn’t seen since moving Okugo?
        .
        Maybe he is injured all season, maybe not likely for a guy playing for a contract….. the productivity we lose in Chaco leaving is replaced with a slate of games with Tranquillo Barnetta anyway.
        .

      • I do hear you on the allocation money point, but Vitoria (400k) coming off the books is the break-even on Pontius’ salary. Chaco and Wenger coming off the books is a legit gain in cap space.

      • Exactly. Swapping salaries essentially – as far as the cap is concerned

      • If you look at all of the roster moves so far, they pretty much swapped Vitoria’s salart for Pontius’ and even so have taken nearly $1.5M in salary off the roster. Thats a good chunk of money.

  2. No excitement for next season at all. None.

    • We have a pile of money. A pile of freed up salary. Many international slots. And an awesome incoming technical director with solid international contacts.
      .
      Could be worse.

    • Deep breath Steve… ship is tacking in right direction.

    • Dude. Off season started today. Let’s give it a chance. I’m actually really happy to see the Union active.

      • I’m sorry, but after six years of season tickets, four seats, I’m reserving getting all worked up over the team in the off season.
        .
        Results on the field are the only thing that is going to really prove anything. The rest is just punditry, which obviously, is a business in and of itself.
        .
        I will be in my seats opening day, for the seventh year, with my kids. I am sure I will be happy about watching live pro soccer again when that day comes, but I’m reserving excitement for when results occur on the field.
        .
        This team has lost my blind loyalty to being excited about the product. Even though they still have the season ticket money.

    • NO excitement…really? This is the most exciting off-season yet. This is just the beginning. Solid MLS player in Pontius. Clearing space and getting allocation and TAM money along with a draft pick by getting rid of a player not in the plans for the future and another that most of the fans wanted gone anyway. They got flexibility by giving away players they didn’t want. How is that bad?

      • No, not excited. Why should I be? Serious question.
        .
        What in six years has made you want to be excited?
        .
        Nope, not falling for it a seventh time. This time they are going to have to prove it on the field before I get excited.
        .
        Remember, Curtain was badly out coached in a bunch of games and he’s still behind the bench.

      • Just this, for the first time in six years there’s a plan with a map. Hometown player #1 can go from point A (the academy) to point B (BSFC) to point C (The Union). New draftees player #2 and #3 can come in and be given a chance to win a job, at either BSFC or the Union. All the while their development will be under the supervision of the big club.
        .
        There’s also the money that is freed up and waiting to be spent by the new Sporting Director. They seem intent on finding deals that are low-risk, high-reward. A player like Pontius, with an upside, but seemingly injury prone. He has a one year deal and a chance to prove himself. If he works out great. If not, they aren’t on the hook.
        .
        How can you not like these things. They are all positive moves. Thrifty and smart. It’s about the possibilities and hope. I understand the Union have let us down in the past. But Sak is gone. It’s a new day. This is fun.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        Looking good Winslow.

  3. Chaco became that player for me that I loved and was grateful for cause without him who the hell was going to deliver the ball… but was always left wanting more. Thank you Chaco… good luck.
    .
    I can walk away from him easily. The Calm will fill his spot nicely… and score a bit.
    .
    As for Andrew….dude- good luck with a fresh start. Thanks as well.

  4. Bittersweet.
    .
    When he was at his best, I loved watching Chaco play. He also frustrated me by disappearing for large stretches, and his general lack of fitness.
    .
    Wenger….maybe Houston will have luck with him. He was a liability for the Union all last year.
    .
    It is a process, and the results must be judged when the starting XI take the field at the beginning of next season.
    .
    I’ll be interested to see what the Union’s roster announcements look like tomorrow.

  5. They both go West. We’ll never see them. Good luck to both. Hey they aren’t going to NY or something like that.
    .
    We need new players. New plan. New A LOT of things. Freeing up real money and acquiring play money is how to do that. I’m ok with this. I await the next few moves.

  6. So shortly after the Union acquired Maidana, I found myself at the SPCA getting a new dog. I suggested “Chaco” for a name, because it sounded cool. My wife (thinking it was short for ‘chocolate’) went along with it. So now what do I do? Change the dog’s name to “Allocation Money”?

  7. Old Soccer Coach says:

    I will miss the sheer brilliance of Maidana’s occasional defense eviscerating passes.
    .
    I will not miss the fact that in this league for him to play, you have to play a 4-2-3-1 in order to surround him with faster better athletes to compensate for his, at best, journeyman defensive capacity. The Union gambled that Roger Torres could develop physically and athletically; the Union gambled that Chaco Maidana could do the same. I hope the lesson has been learned, that you can make a plough hOrse a stronger faster plough horse, but that you cannot make him an Arabian.
    .
    Wenger needs a fresh start, pure and simple.
    .
    I sure hope they got a lot of MLS funny money, a lot. Curtin was sitting in a finance class when he made the decision to go with the Fire, I think I have read. In order to get out of Penn Charter with a degree, Albright had to have a reasonable head on his shoulders. We can only wait to see what they do in the off season to judge how much they got for Maidana. Wenger is probably the draft pick.
    .
    Hopefully they can find two decent players in the top six available, by decent I hope either the bench or playing for Bethlehem Steel.
    .
    I thought Pontius meant that Casey was gone. Aristeguieta reinforced that guess.
    .
    Feels like they do not want to be tied exclusively to a 4-2-3-1, probably a good thing.

  8. Pontius salary,Maidana,Wenger salaries pretty much even out. Union probably got alot more $$ from Houston then they gave to D.C.

    They probably could of found a better option than Pontius, but I like the moves so far.

    They have a bunch of cap space and international roster slots open. Two top 6 picks that could be generation addidas contracts. Still think they need to drop a couple other contracts on the team.

  9. So the future considerations in the Williams trade were for the Union to send two more players to Houston? That’s 3 players and an international slot for allocation money. No wonder Houston has overtaken Philly as the fourth largest city in the country.

  10. Lucky Striker says:

    They’re gone : + 3

    They’re back : -1

    They’re here : push

    Result : +2 = good day.

  11. The Chopper says:

    All good with this. With Barnetta in the fold, Chaco was expendable and he limited tactical options. Pontius is a decent add. Thanks to Wenger and Cruz for time served, I wish them well, but they are not needed.

    Now let’s see what happens next.

  12. Where is this team going to find 14 assists? I hope I’m wrong but I see the Union scoring even fewer goals next year than this year. Not sold on Barnetta. CAMs don’t grow on trees.

    • Well…Chaco wasn’t a CAM anyway. He created an enormous hole in the middle of the field almost every game outside the final third. yeah yeah he delivered the deft pass… Barnetta is 2x the player though and good for half a dozen goals at least too.

      • Interested to see if you’re right, el P. I suspect he’ll have more red cards with clumsy defending than goals.

      • No. Barnetta is class with vision. Plain and simple. It’s going to be a more organized attack with him in the middle.

    • CAM’s who don’t ever score goals grow on trees.

  13. Looking forward to new faces, formations, and tactics next year; only if because the familiar ones made us a bottom table team.

    The only thing we can all agree on is that change was necessary, and now it begins.

  14. Hopefully this is a sign that Curt&Earnie (yeah, I just coined that) have a vision – perhaps of a high pressing, skilled team. I’m bummed to see both Chaco and Andrew go, but hopeful that we’ll see some positive changes in return…and I don’t mean from draft picks.

  15. No maidana…eh…no wenger, Cruz, or creavalle……yes, yes, yes. I understand the hesitation by all on this site but… Yes, yes, yes and thank you to management for starting out on a good note!

  16. Huh- I guess I was wrong and someone would take Wenger at his current salary. I will buy you a beer* Dan Walsh if we ever meet.

    * Good for one Milwaukee’s Best or equivalent.

  17. Stephen O'Malley says:

    Guys have faith in the process they say Earnie Stewart isn’t taking over till january but he just took a step in the right direction getting rid of Chaco. We have Tranquillo Barnetta he is world class and is a key building block. #TRUSTINEARNIE

  18. I am glad they got rid of Wenger and his over inflated contract. However, I’ll reserve judgement on getting rid of Chaco until I see the play out of who all gets signed on this team. I still like Barnetta on the left, but we will see the formation and who else gets signed. Hopefully there is a lot to come as a lot more needs to be done.

  19. I agree with Wolfpack: we loved the best we had. This team needs an enema. It’s getting it.
    Prognosis, good

  20. I’m just amazed that Houston took on Wenger’s salary. Roughly $225K.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      What if they put him at RB and in 2 years he is a stud.
      .
      Hopefully we will be so far into our process non of it will matter.

      • Sorry El P but what I saw of Wenger at RB or LB was enough to make me think he will never be a MLS caliber player at any position, he got burnt so many times and just seemed lost. I think dumping his big contract is the one plus this team has made this off season so far.

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