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Breaking: Union trade David Accam to Columbus Crew

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Philadelphia Union have traded speedy striker David Accam to Columbus Crew, the club announced on Wednesday morning.

The Union received $500,000 in allocation money and an international roster spot in return.

“We receive valuable roster flexibility in this deal, both with the international roster spot as well as the allocation money for future transactions,” explained Union sporting director Ernst Tanner. “We have our eye on the summer transfer window and beyond and we are confident in our current roster to make this transaction now.”

Paul Tenorio and Sam Skejskal of The Athletic were first to report the story.

The Union acquired Accam, 28, from Chicago Fire before the 2018 season. Accam was a disappointment in his first season with the club, scoring just one goal in 23 appearances.

This season, Accam got off to a better start, playing through adversity after the death of his father, Michael. He has four goals in his eight appearances to lead all Union players, including a brace against his new team on March 23. Accam scored in his final appearance in a Union shirt, picking up the final goal in a 6-1 rout of New England.

With Kacper Przybylko in good form and Sergio Santos returning from injury, the Union deemed Accam surplus to requirements, even after last week’s announcement that Cory Burke will miss most of the season due to a visa issue.

The money received for Accam — $400,000 of General Allocation Money and $100,000 in Targeted Allocation Money, conveying in 2020 — should give Ernst Tanner something resembling a war chest for the next two transfer windows. The move clears out space in the Union’s salary budget as well — Accam earned a salary of $1.25 million in 2018, the second-highest base salary on the Union.

Tanner explained the move in a video posted on Twitter. Among other things, Tanner noted that Accam, a natural winger, is not a good fit for the Union’s current setup and is not a regular starter, and that Accam wanted a new opportunity.


  1. This is kind of a rough one. I really wanted to see Accam come good after last year’s injury plagues season. It was obvious that the forward position was crowded and something would break especially since Ernst seems to be not afraid to make deals. I can’t wait to see what magic he pulls off next. Good luck Titi!

  2. el Pachyderm says:

    got him healthy and on field and quickly productive then moved him. surplus to goods.
    perfectly fine with this move.
    the reconstruction of this club is not finalized. This Director got rid of CJ and Accam like it was a bad habit. So pleased.

    • I like Titi, but I like this move even more. Ernst brought his European sensibilities to Chester and is not afraid to pull the plug on ANY player if it helps the club in the long run. I wish Titi the best of luck…except when the Crew plays us.

      • Adios Accam. I am impressed by Tanner’s decisiveness and cold calculation. Accam is arguably a better player than Fafa (similar issue – not a true striker) but we got more $$ AND and INTERNATIONAL spot. That is key. Looking forward to the summer transfer window.

      • Chris Gibbons says:

        I’m not sure I believe that, for the dollar, Accam is better than Fafa. Accam clearly has a better track record in the league, but Fafa brings more versatility to the side than Accam. Given Curtin’s penchant for tactical fluidity (yes, I wrote that), Fafa makes even more sense over Accam.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      “the reconstruction of this club is not finalized.”
      What a refreshing breath of fresh air, so desperately needed in this club. I am excited to see what’s next. I wish Accam the best of luck – except against us, of course.

  3. As long as everyone stays healthy it is OK. However, would have been nice to have kept him in case Santos, Przybylko or Ilsinho gets injured again.

  4. badHombre says:

    Could this be a signal that Michee Ngalina or Faris may get called up to the 1st team?

    • The Truth says:

      Wondering the same thing. Ernst likes ’em young. Best of luck to Titi.

    • Tim Jones says:

      Michee Ngalina more likely than Faris at this point in time, in my judgment.
      In 2018 Ngalina practiced with the Steel only infrequently, especially in frequent during August, September and October. He was practicing with the first team.
      Faris plays a position with more complex responsibilities, and practiced with first team only rarely. Comments from his head coach during preseason’s teaching of the new system suggest that at that time he still had plenty to learn.
      Also, this season for Bethlehem, Ngalina switches between a striker and a central midfielder quite fluidly. At least once going back, forth and back in a game with no obvious difficulty.
      Finally, Ngalina has passed his anniversary, Faris has not, quite.
      The question about Ngalina will be how well he absorbs MLS physicality. As far as I can tell in all other aspects he is ready to move up.
      Faris will learn the mentality to absorb the physicality, is doing so, but has to make the striker’s responsibilities instinctive and correct.

  5. Great One says:

    Can’t be seen as anything but a good move, as long as we use what we have now. That’s a ton of salary, a DP slot (I think), International spot, and cash to use on a transfer. USE IT.
    The question is what spot do we need to fill most? Lots of forwards, though an upgrade there is never bad. Fabian and Aaronson have that spot filled, with multiple others who could slot in. Outside mids have starters, so a star wouldn’t fit there. Right Back? Defensive Mid?
    It’s great to finally have these problems.

  6. Love the roster comment from Tanner. This is the kind of comment from a guy with a plan for the club!

  7. Seems like this is a move to keep Monterio. Which is something that badly needs to happen. Also seems like a chance to call up Ngalina. Will be interesting to see what position Tanner chooses to sign next.

  8. Biggest concern right now might just be shear numbers. With Accam gone the current roster stands at 25 of 30.
    Moving forward, in addition to possible injuries/suspensions, players may be called in to international duty, and Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup games will begin soon adding to the number of games in the same period of time as well as having tighter rules about fielding international players.

  9. Chad Boardman says:

    sounds like a move in preparation for a run at a Montiero permanent transfer…

    • This was also my first reaction. Montiero won’t be cheap, especially after the performances he has had so far with the Union. I think I read his original loan deal with Metz expired in July and had an option to extend through the end of the season and an option to buy at that point. Curious to know if the transfer fee is laid out in the loan deal or is open to negotiation.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      Per Tanner today: the Union hold the option to acquire him through the end of this season. After that we shall see. But now with this trade today – it is a no-brainer he stays through the season. That in itself is FANTASTIC news.

  10. John O'Donnell Jr says:

    Ernst Tanner has seemed to figure out MLS in a blink of an eye. I love how he sat down and explained to the fan base his reason for the move and they still have work to do with the roster. That’s the respect I believe the fans felt was missing from this franchise and one of the many reasons they have abandoned this team. When Ernie said “And people who come for winning and losing. If they’re only coming for that, I’m not going to promise it. If you come to see us win every single game, don’t do it. You’re going to get disappointed. But if you come to watch our players roll up their sleeves, go out every day, play within our vision, play in our system, and compete, we give those players chances. ” This is Philly and they took him at his word. We want to watch winners, not good efforts.
    Ernst got right on Twitter and gave a valid reason and explained how it can help the roster to compete better to win with an eye on the summer transfer window.
    The Union have a history now of their highest paid salaried players not performing up to the level of their contract. In a salary cap league and a system that doesn’t play to Accam’s strength, keeping him would just repeat the same mistakes of the past. So after giving Accam a chance to show he’s healthy, Ernst grabbed the money and a valuable international spot. After watching Alan Koch being fired and players complain about being played out of position it makes sense for the team and the player. Solid business all round if you ask me.

  11. The Chopper says:

    A half million dollars in MLS bucks and an international roster spot in exchange for a non starter who also happens to have the second highest salary on the roster.

    It’s still early, but Ernst Tanner might be the sharpest front office guy in Philly sports.

  12. I was shocked to read this… until I realized that I had never considered the possibility. Because I didn’t think anybody was taking Accam’s salary off our hands. But given Ernst’s explanation, it is hard to argue with the deal.

    Also agree with the above that it is amazingly refreshing that we actually GOT an explanation from the Sporting Director.

    I can’t say that Ernst is batting 1.000 — still wish we had Keegan Rosenberry — but boy his early track record has been so good that I have to give him the benefit of the doubt.

  13. Transfermkt lists Montiero’s value at about $2m. The Accam deal looks to contribute to helping buy him full time. Hopefully spoken…

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