Roster News / Union

Confirmed: Union trade Auston Trusty to Colorado

Author’s note: This post has been updated to reflect confirmation of the trade. 

Philadelphia Union have traded center back Auston Trusty to the Colorado Rapids, according to an ESPN report subsequently confirmed by the Union.

The Union will collect $300,000 in targeted allocation money (TAM) next year and $300,000 in general allocation money (GAM) in 2021. The deal reportedly includes performance-based incentives that, if Trusty meets them, would bring the Union another $150,000 in GAM in 2021.

The Union will also reap a sell-on fee if Trusty is transferred outside MLS. If it is before 2022, it will be at a rate of 30 percent, and 25 percent after that. However, it would only apply to the amount over what the Rapids pay the Union in allocation money.

“With the depth of our defensive roster, we believe this is the best move for both the club and Auston,” Union sporting director Ernst Tanner said in a statement released by the club.

The trade marks a stunning turn of events for a player who had for a long time been viewed as the crown jewel of the Union’s development system.

After a sterling first year in MLS marred only by a late season dip in form, Trusty entered this season as the undisputed starting left center back and remained a regular starter until he went to the bench in August and never saw the field again for the Union. By season’s end, Trusty wasn’t even making the substitutes’ bench, as veteran Aurelien Colin was preferred as the third center back option behind Jack Elliott and Mark McKenzie despite Colin’s own uneven play.

Earlier this month, Trusty made it clear in an interview with The Inquirer that there were some off-field problems, though he never explained what they are.

Now, Trusty follows the path of Keegan Rosenberry in more ways than one. Both suffered midseason benchings in their second MLS seasons after playing every regular season minute in their first seasons. Each benching appeared to involve more than just quality of play issues. Union sporting director Ernst Tanner traded each to Colorado.

The move leaves McKenzie and Elliott as the apparently undisputed starters entering next season, emptying a logjam to accrue allocation money that could be used toward other signings.


  1. Good business.


    Good luck to Trusty. I hope he’s able to straighten out his career.

  2. Today has been chock-full of action. In other news, Kai Wagner is going to be a Daddy…

  3. The talk about not remaining fans for any number of technical and/or personal reasons can seem like overreacting but this nonsense of selling players is a disgrace. They never did replace Rosenberry and wound up with a full season of a guy whose incompetence was the incentive for Rosenberry’s signing. It fully deserves the questioning of continued loyalty and money.

    • Players are sold. That’s the business of soccer. Rossenwho? What was his season like in Colorado?

      • I think Rosenberry had a decent season in Colorado.

      • Yeah he had a pretty good year out there. He played every minute, and was top 5 in a couple of MLS stats (the good ones).

      • John O'Donnell Jr says:

        Yea, had a good season in Colorado.
        But they were a team that missed the playoffs and fired their coach.
        Meanwhile Ray played on the Union team that had their best regular season and won a playoff game.
        Can’t really say Ernst doesn’t know what he’s doing as the money they got signed some decent players that elevated the team performance.

    • Players are traded and sold. It’s sad as a fan to see players move on but that’s how sports work.

    • I have no problems moving Trusty in this deal. One of the reasons you have an academy is so that you grow guys to sell on down the line. This is good money that we can put back into the team.
      I will miss him back there, and I fully believe that he deserved more time down the stretch (Curtin hasn’t sorted out his whole doghouse issues yet), but him and McKenzie were always fighting for time out there and both deserved it.
      This way he gets playing time in a club who needs him – at this price I’m pretty sure he replaced Abubakkar out in Colorado.

      • …or now will be playing next to Abubakar – Crew just traded him to Colorado too.
        fwiw Rapids paid more for Trusty ($700k) than Abubakar ($400k).

      • Yes, he’ll be playing beside Abubakkar. They’re an ideal pairing, with Abubakkar the smaller ball-playing center back and Trusty the aerial monster. If Cortne Ford is healthy and back in form, they could even go with three center backs.

    • Trusty is overreacting. He was not good. I stated that from Last year into this past season. I’m glad the FO finally figured that out.

  4. It also opens the door for Tanner to bring in a more experienced center back.
    They will have $300,000 to pay down such a player’s contract to fit it into the salary cap, this year and next year.
    They gave up 50 goals last season. 50. Their final goal difference was +2.
    They got $175,000 for Derrick Jones, $600,000 for Trusty, and $300,000 for Keegan Rosenberry. While Rosenberry was not an official Homegrown Player, he came through the Academy. In round numbers that’s a million dollars realized from selling on Academy players.

  5. Has any Union player ever gotten themselves out of Curtins doghouse?

  6. Honestly, not loving this piece of “business.” There is obviously more to this move and to his banishment from the 18 over the second half of the season. This was a home grown player (literally minutes from the stadium), on a small salary for next season, who had shown he could play at an MLS level, and was, at least by my perception, a fan favorite.

    Mackenzie has certainly shown the talent to be a full time MLS starter, but he has not shown he can stay healthy for a full season. Now what if he goes down? Another Colin-like replacement (at a higher salary)? Is that what we need?

    We have this news on lockdown at my house before my one daughter’s school play. Her favorite player. She gave up the Alex Morgan #13 on her travel team to wear his #26. Sometimes the “business” of the game sucks

    • He wanted to be the highest paid CB on the team but most likely wouldn’t have been able to crack the starting lineup this year.
      I would have loved for him to stay but this is unfortunately probably the best for all parties involved.

  7. I was never so down on Trusty, despite his dip in form, and I expected him to rebound next year, as Elliott did. So, I was not rooting for the Union to trade him (or Elliott, or Mackenzie) this year.

    But dang, that is quite a lot of $$$ for a guy who has potential but hasn’t entirely proven himself yet. I would have to consider it an offer that Tanner couldn’t refuse. Especially if there were off-field issues that contributed to the problems.

    I guess my real concern is… this is now the 3rd Union player who’s been dealt away with the spectre of “off-field issues” hanging over him. The first Rosenberry, then Derrick Jones, and now Trusty. Is it possible that Jim Curtin, or someone else in Union leadership, is contributing to some of this in some way?? Curtin has a reputation for really being a “players’ coach”… but does he plays favorites too much?? Or did these guys truly have issues?

    • And I saw three guys who fell back in their development and had a choice: Earn your way back in a positive way, or earn you way back in while being a griping, cancerous, dick that pulls in his own direction.
      Those three handled their (self inflicited) adversity badly, and tried to suck others into their pity parties to make themselves feels better.
      I don’t blame Curtin/Tanner for having a zero tolerance policy for that stuff. They’ve got a pretty good locker room. Anyone who wants pull his rope in a different direction is not going to help lift this team any higher.
      Better luck next club.
      I DO wish Austin the best in his future.
      I DO wish he would have been a star here.

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        Your entire comment is spot on. It looks like they were challenged and decided to throw a fit as opposed to work harder and earn it back. If that’s the case… see ya!

      • Well is it possible that Curtin is antagonizing these guys in some problematic way? I don’t know this; Jim actually seems to be really well-liked by most of his players. But this is becoming quite a trend. It’s just enough to make you say, “Hmmm…”

    • Chris Gibbons says:

      Tanner has said, specifically about the Jones move and more tangentially about this one, that some players just aren’t ready to make the leap. Jones had three years to beat Haris out of his spot and never did it. Trusty had 2+ years to lock down his spot and McKenzie ultimately beat him to it, same with Rosenberry and Ray (who is a better defender than Keegan).

  8. This just after Ernst specifically said they wouldn’t be selling any homegrown/ young talent.
    You expect technical directors to be full of shit bit this is a bit loud.

    • When he said that, do you think he knew that Colorado was going to offer $600K for Trusty? I mean what if Barcelona calls tomorrow and says they’ll trade Messi for Aaronson and pick up part of Messi’s salary? I think Tanner is jumping at the deal.

    • I believe he was talking about overseas sales. I certainly interpreted it that way at the time, but it’s always possible I didn’t read into it closely enough.

      • Dan C (formerly of 103) says:

        That’s the way I understood it as well. They’ve never sold an academy player directly to Europe, so when you do, you better make sure they can play so you don’t negatively affect the price of future sales.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      I think this was a default recognition to selling them abroad to be honest. I think he meant there is noone ready to make that jump. But point noted.

  9. Can somebody explain TAM to me? Is it actual money or is it just an accounting trick used to “pay down” the “cost” of a contract for purposes of salary cap calculation rules (i.e., whether a contract counts as a DP contract)?

    • It’s more complicated than it should be, but here’s a stab at it.
      TAM – used to buy down contracts that would otherwise be DPs, i.e. you can use $300k TAM to bring a $600k salary under the DP threshold.
      GAM – pretty much Don Garber money to be used elsewhere on the roster.
      Both are ways to get above the salary cap if you use it correctly.
      In the past the Union have just used it instead of spending real money, but that is changing with Tanner.

      • Thanks.
        So let’s say that yesterday the Union brass planned to spend in actual dollars $5 million on player salaries. Do they now have $5.3M to spend on salaries or still just $5M with $300k to use for accounting tricks under the cap.

      • Ultimately it’s accounting tricks because when it’s all said and done MLS doesn’t really have a hard salary cap. DP’s were the first loophole and GAM/TAM a lesser second loophole.
        A team can spend any amount they want on a DP (their own $$) and it only acts as ~$500k towards the salary cap – but you can only have 3 DP’s.
        -Targeted Allocation Money-
        If you want a 4th (5th,6th,etc.) player that would normally be a DP within a salary range of 500k to 1.5mil you can use the TAM to buy him down. 300k TAM on a 700k salary brings it down to 400k on the salary cap books and that player is no longer considered a DP.
        -General Allocation Money-
        This can be used less specifically and ultimately can be used to ‘raise the salary cap’ in that you can buy salaries down to fit in the cap.
        All of the teams start the year with the same amounts of GAM & TAM, but they are traded around pretty quickly as needed.

    • This year Santos, Medunjanin and I think Monteiro & Blake were all bought down with TAM.
      Bedoya and Fabian were our DP’s this year.

      • I have no clue off hand how we used our GAM.
        And I doubt Tanner will be telling us any time soon.

  10. To throw a spanner into the works, msg24365, all of banking is an accounting trick.
    When you deposit your paycheck, or add to your savings account, the bank calculates how much of it it needs to keep on hand to cover your checks, and then re-lends the balance out to new borrowers, thus transforming your original ten dollars into your ten and the borrower’s $7.50.
    Bankers know how much they have to keep on hand, unless something creates a panic in the general public, when “runs” on banks occur and banks cannot honor their obligations.
    Before Andrew Jackson made war on the bank of the United States — a private institution no connection to the government — the 1st and 2nd Banks of the U.S. were large enough that they could cover most banks’ debts during runs, on the east coast. Not so much on the frontier, like Kentucky and Tennessee.
    Bank panics ruined Jackson twice, hence his hatred. So we had nothing that functions like a central bank until Wilson’s Federal Reserve system was created in 1913.
    At its core, banking is judgment of how much more money to create given the conditions.
    When I would demonstrate these facts to my students using Monopoly money, they refused to believe me.
    If you so refuse, look up “the reserve requirement” on Wikipedia. The Fed sets it and it is usually between 3% and 6% under normal conditions, depending on the financial health of the institution.
    Banking at its core is an accounting trick. And as long s we the tricked behave in predictable ways following our usual patterns, the trick works superbly. If we all panic at the same time for the same reason and rush to withdraw our savings at once, the bank cannot pay and closes its doors and all our value disappears into thin air.
    Once in the early 18th century a London bank followed the law and gave its depositors their money. But the heated it red hot before they handed it out. That stopped the panic because no one could accept their red-hot metal property.

  11. In Tanner We Trust says:

    This is huge news. I wish Trusty the best. He was a solid player who always hustled. That said, this is a great move. Elliott has proven himself, and Kenzie has a great ceiling and solid floor. $600k is a lot of money. Perhaps enough to bring Monteiro back?? I have to think the only issue that remains is if he wants to stay out of Europe. I think this move proves that they’ll do whatever it takes to retain him, as far as finances go. I love this move.

    • In Tanner We Trust says:

      Only 4 pending. Monteiro the big one. Fafa would be nice to keep. I can’t imagine Ilsinho signing elsewhere. Wouldn’t mind Collin coming back at a low price.

  12. its a big market with the expansion and a world sport, so be prepared for lots of new faces.for me its exciting,,,i would like to see new players that complement other players within the team therefore a smart management can recognize talent is the key…..
    If it was up to me i would trade Blake and promote Freeze as an example’.

  13. its a big market with the expansion and a world sport, so be prepared for lots of new faces.for me its exciting,,,i would like to see new players that complement other players within the team therefore a smart management can recognize talent is the key…..
    If it was up to me i would trade Blake and promote Freeze as an example.

  14. Before last season, there were more than a few of us that rated McKenzie over Trusty. Last season really did not change that for me. Trusty played decently, but never really improved, and eventually was benched. McKenzie came back and played at least as well as they year prior. Whatever happened with the off-the-field issues, to me, is what has brought about the trade. Trusty’s cryptic quote about soon being able to tell more, was a sign that this move was coming.
    I have no issues with this. Tanner got a good chunk of money for a relatively unproven player. He also got the trade on and performance bonus clauses. Shrewd move IMO. The academy is paying dividends. Tanner will be reinvesting that money back into the first team. Is this not what we have hoped for? Don’t worry, there will be another “fan favorite” next year. And the year after that….and the year after that…and so on, ad infinitum.

  15. All of these comments about us “Getting a bunch of money” for Trusty are the reason for my questions about TAM and GAM.
    As I understand it, this TAM is NOT actual cash. This isn’t more money to sign players. For example, if ownership isn’t willing to spend enough of ITS OWN MONEY to get Montiero, TAM is worthless. TAM only works to adjust the salary, for salary cap calculation purposes, of players. This is really only useful for players who make a little more than the DP level salary, who you can “buy down” their salary number so that they aren’t considered a DP.
    This is NOT like they sold a player to Europe and received ACTUAL CASH to spend on transfer fees or salaries. This DOES NOT increase the actual amount money the Union have in their bank account.
    If I’m wrong, please tell me.

    • A bit petulant, but not wrong. Do you really get the feeling that it won’t be spent? Does Ernst strike you as a GM that won’t use every resource at his disposal? What exactly bothers you about this? It’s not your money anyway. Funny or otherwise. It’s not like it doesn’t have value.

      • All4u, your reply seems “a bit petulant”. She is making point mls trades are downright goofy.
        But league as a whole is goofy and useless still.
        Rooney and Zlatan proved that–top mls scorers in their mid-30s. Mls best talent sold to Europe couldn’t even get off bench in a team barely above relegation last year.
        You guys are hilarious–“we got $700,000 for trusty and more when he goes to Europe” as if! Ha!
        Premier League is Ruth Chris and mls is McDonalds.
        But to Americans, mls is local, convenient, cheaper and has it’s own appeal
        Look nothing wrong with mcdonalds, but you have to recognize the big redhead guy has a problem developing homegrown players that y’all are so excited about. Besides 3 mentioned, what happened to do tana? Why he doesn’t play is huge mystery to me.
        Who will be let go for garber bucks next year while everyone lauds the success of our homegrown system for “selling” players?

  16. Trusty is not a good player and could not handle the MLS. Do we really have to go over why he rightfully never saw the field again ? Positioning on the field was horrendous. Always not knowing where to be or caught out of position on counter attacks. Very weak defending one v one. Horrendous in the air , distribution out of the back was bad. Should I go on ?? Does anyone need to wonder why he had two crucial and game deciding mistakes?? He was not sound under pressure. Having said all this, I do wish him the very best with the rest of his career.

  17. 750k in cash + upside. SELL!

    He wasn’t going to play much anyway.

    I wish him well in his career.

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