WASHINGTON, August 17, 2012 - D.C. United’s game against the Philadelphia Union on Sunday at RFK Stadium has taken on added meaning due to a mid-week surprise trade between the teams.
On Wednesday, United shipped midfielder Danny Cruz to the Union in exchange for striker Lionard Pajoy. The 31-year-old Colombian, who played in 20 matches (16 starts) this year for the Union, netting five goals, is available for selection for the United game.
The nationally televised game, played at the rare time of 5 p.m., also sees former United midfielder Freddy Adu, return to his old stomping game.
“It was not an easy decision to trade Danny,” said D.C. United general manager Dave Kasper. “He’s been a terrific player on and off the field this season. We felt that we needed to add another piece up top and the opportunity to get Lionard Pajoy was one that we could not pass up. We’re excited to integrate him into our side immediately.”
Cruz leaves United after being acquired from the Houston Dynamo in January. The 22-year old played in 16 league games (12 starts) this season, notching a goal and three assists.
United has chalked up three losses in its last four games and is struggling to score goals. Pajoy has has scored 47 goals in 215 appearances since beginning his professional career with Colombian side Cortulua in 2004.
As for Adu, the 23-year-old, joined United in 2004 at the age of 14, becoming the league’s highest-paid player, its brightest new face and a media sensation.
“When I came in, I was just a kid,” Adu told Thomas Floyd of The Washington Times this week. “Now, I’m just a much more mature player. I’m looking forward to the home fans who saw me kind of growing up in D.C. Hopefully, they see a big difference in my game this time around and say, ‘You know what? Freddy has improved.’”
Adu has made 16 appearances for the Union this year, earning three goals and an assist.
It’s also Dwayne De Rosario bobblehead night for the first 7,500 fans who arrive at the game. Also, fans who bike to the game will be eligible for a free ticket. But get there early as the free tickets are expected to go fast. The parking lots open at 1 p.m. and the food trucks will arrive in Lot 8 at 3 p.m. The free MatchDay program will highlight club midfielder Branko Boskovic.
* For over 20 years John Haydon wrote a weekly soccer column for The Washington Times. He has covered two World Cups and written about Major League Soccer from the league’s inception in 1996.
Follow John on Twitter at @Johnahaydon
This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.