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Noonan signed by Revs, traded to Crew


The New England Revolution has re-signed forward Pat Noonan and promptly traded him to the Columbus Crew in exchange for a 2009 first-round draft pick, an allocation, and allocation table considerations.

Noonan left MLS after last season and spent half a season playing for Aalesunds of the Norwegian first division. He struggled for playing time with Aalesunds and expressed a desire to return. The Columbus Crew expressed interest but New England, which still held Noonan’s rights despite not picking up the option year on his contract last season (apparently the Revs retained the rights after offering Noonan a new contract at similar money to his old contract).

Now Noonan joins a Crew attack that includes Alejandro Moreno at forward and a potent midfield including Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Robbie Rogers, Emmanuel Ekpo and Eddie Gaven. He should give the Crew the second forward the club has been lacking all season.

The Revs never had serious intentions of bringing Noonan back, and sources tell SBI that Noonan had no interest in returning to New England. With Taylor Twellman, Adam Cristman, Kheli Dube and Kenny Mansally in the forward mix for the Revs, Noonan no longer had a place.

The allocation table considerations are an interesting twist to the deal. The Revs swapped places with Columbus, moving into the Crew’s No. 3 spot while Columbus drops to New England’s No. 10 spot in the allocation order, which determines which teams get first crack at returning U.S. national team players.

Now here is my question. Does anybody think it’s fair that New England retained Noonan’s rights despite choosing not to pick up the option on his contract? The Revs retained Noonan’s rights by offering him a new contract, only the new contract was not for more money. Does anybody think that sounds right? Now the Revs have traded a player they never really wanted and scored a boat-load of MLS currency. This has become the new trend in MLS and it’s a bit disturbing. Just more fodder for the next Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations.

What do you think of the deal? Think the Revs sold Noonan too cheap? Think the Crew overpaid for Noonan? Is Noonan still an elite level striker in MLS or will his lack of pace prove to be a hindrance for a speedy Crew attack?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. if crew have everyone healthy they could win it all, but that’s a huge if considering they have players with perennial health issues in Padula and Marshall and now Noonan.

  2. Interesting comments and questions Ives…

    However, New England shouldn’t be faulted for taking advantage of the system in place.

    I believe there is merit to this ‘rights’ rule. It’d be easy to envision where a player could abuse a system without it were he to transfer or retire simply for procedural purposes in order to force a move to another MLS team. I also don’t have a problem with MLS using its rule structure to discourage players from jumping ship to 2nd tier European leagues. It doesn’t serve anyone well to have former MLS All-Stars collecting fat paychecks in Norway, Austria or Greece.

    Also, it’s not like Pat Noonan has been out of the league for years. Hell, Taylor Twellman has played exactly one more leauge match than him this year.

    This seems like a fair deal to me. The Revs just traded a solid veteran player to a conference rival (one who’s right behind them in the standings.) Columbus obviously wanted him. The Revs got potentially useful compensation in return. Pat Noonan gets a contract.

    They could have been harder cases about this if they had chosen to be. I would think they would have had the backing of MLS headquarters if they had gone down that road. The first round draft pick has real value but it doesn’t win them a championship this year. If Noonan goes on a tear and helps beat the Revs in the Eastern Conference Finals then who’s the fool then? They could have played a part in not allowing him back into the league at all, or parked him while paying him a relatively minimal salary and sat him on the bench the rest of the year. Pat Noonan would have still had trade value at the end of this year as well. Although I don’t think there’s a roll for him in the starting 11, he’d probably be 3rd or 4th on their stiker depth chart. He sill could have played a roll for the Revs in the second half, especially with US Open Cup and Champions Leauge.

  3. Good move Revs, something for nothing.

    For Crew, if Noonan is healthy, this should allow Evans to stay in more of a bench role where he belongs.












  4. Ives,

    I fixed your post:

    “With Taylor Twellman, Adam Cristman, Kheli Dube and Kenny Mansally in the forward mix for the Revs, Noonan no longer had a place pace.”

  5. Noonan is Clint Dempsey…

    …without the speed, fire and technique.

    As for MLS rules, deciphering the Kabbalah is easier.

  6. Oh no! This trade is up there with the Patriots trading Bledsoe to a division rival… Wait a second, I think that trade work out pretty well for the Pats. 🙂

    Great move Revs!

  7. It’s a sign-and-trade deal, just like the NBA. Also similar to the NBA where teams get to keep their rights to certain players so long as the team extends a qualifying offer.

    So while it may be a stupid rule, it’s not that unusual.

  8. As a Revs fan I always liked Noonan. He often had a smart touch, a deft little move to open things up or place a pass just right. He just kinda makes things work. The problem was that he could never stay healthy.

  9. Ives, gotta agree with HomeyBoehme. Can you put together a series of posts on Stupid MLS Rules and how to improve the league? – Maybe at season’s end? Bet you’d get some great feedback/comments and it would get MLS attention.

    Ironically as the league’s matured and the players have gotten better, I find myself less invested with specific teams b/c of all the constant meddling from the league. I still watch games when I can but these inane rules and then breaking of them when it is convenient lessens my interest. Now I watch because it is soccer and I like the sport. I used to watch because it was MLS and a homegrown league, and I’d be on the lookout for must-see games because I cared about the teams. More than ever I just feel like it’s single-entity.

  10. A good move by Columbus. The Crew certainly could use some speed up front, but Noonan has proven to be a solid finisher in the box and often provided great service to Twellman. Columbus has a relatively young team, so adding a little depth and a veteran presence certainly can’t hurt. Over a full season, a healthy Noonan is good for 8-10 goals and a similar number of assists, not bad numbers at all.

  11. New england just shot themselves in the foot. They’ve just made their closest rival a legitimate MLS Cup contender.

    Complete Bone Head move.

  12. great pick up for the crew. noonan is a “sneaky” player that should fit in perfect there. he can play LM or Fwd in this league

  13. MLS has passed Noonan by. It’s been about 3 years since he’s had a decent season. MLS is getting younger and faster, Noonan is slower and more injury prone.

    Noonan has some special skills, but he has to be put in the right situation and, most of all, stay healthy and fit.

    Revs get a #1 pick and more w/o giving up anything – nice deal (and this on the heels of getting a #1 from Toronto in Pat Phelan, for basically nothing also)!

  14. The Revs keeping his rights sounds only a little bit sillier than United keeping the rights to Gomez and Vanney after their contracts ended. It’s certainly consistent with the rules concerning Gomez and Vanney.

  15. Ives,

    Anyway you could make a category of entries entitles “Stupid MLS rules?” I’d love to be able to go back and read up on all the ridiculous rules that hamper business in the MLS. I never realized how bad it was until I found your site.

  16. I agree that this looks like a smart move by the Crew, and a win-win-win for them, Pat and the Revs as well.

    Columbus just might be able to make a title run if they are able to keep everyone healthy this fall.

  17. Well, they didn’t bring Noonan back because they thought he wasn’t really as good a player as his reputation would indicate. Remember, he’d been receiving top quality balls from Ralston and Shalrie Joseph for years. This was before they knew Kheli Dube was worth anything, before Kenny Mansally had proven himself and before Adam Cristman showed he could lumber his way to 6-8 goals a year. Obviously, they didn’t think the world of Noonan, so why should they fear him playing for a competitor? This isn’t Brett Favre to the Vikings we’re talking about.

  18. It should be like the NBA’s restricted free agency: If the Revs can match Columbus’ offer, then they cannot Noonan’s rights.

  19. MLS needs to do away with these yoyo “rights” rules, “discovery” rules, etc.

    If you don’t sign the player, he’s gone and anyone else can sign him. Period.

    Keep the salary cap, just do away with this nonsense — it just makes the league worse and keeps good players out when a few teams try to sit on every stool.

  20. “and a gift certificate to Portillo’s.”

    Brian Yum

    I shall be partaking in two weeks at Mr McBride’s neighborhood Portillo’s

  21. This is good news for me. As useless as I think Noo-nan is overall as a player, he was a RBNY killer all these years with the Revs. I’m glad he’s going to Columbus.

  22. FF and SS – exactly what I was thinking. What good sports the Revs are. Maybe that “boat load of MLS currency” is really worth it.

  23. Gotta think the Revs have plans for that allocation order and all that jazz. Hopefully they’ll find a way to nab Corey Gibbs, that’d be quite a pickup.

  24. Brian-

    Its a stupid MLS rule and has something to do with a timeline of how long returning players have been gone that determines if their former team still holds the rights. McBride was gone too long for the Crew to hold the rights still, but Noonan was not gone long enough

  25. It’s nice that Columbus was able to pick him up without giving up any players.

    But I wonder who he displaces on the field? Does this force GBS to play the CAM role and Noonan up top? Or do they play 3 strikers a la Newcastle last year?

  26. Why did he needed to sign with the Revs before being traded to Columbus? The Revs did not pick up the option on his contract before he left for Finwaynordenstania. Maybe McBride should have been forced to sign with Columbus before being traded to Chicago for draft picks, sixteen Chuck-E-Cheese tokens, a Ditka autographed football and a gift certificate to Portillo’s.

  27. alot of people on are shooting this deal down… shooting noonan down in the process…

    personally i dont think Tightshirt would have been nearly as successful if it werent for Noonan…. big pickup by columbus…. adding an established forward to your list is always a quality thing to do…

  28. Well Steve unless you are Don Garber in disguise I dont think any Crew fans were upset with you or New England for that matter. We were pissed because Columbus and New England had a deal in place earlier only to have MLS nix the deal. This is great news


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