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Union sign Soumare after swinging deal with Whitecaps for top allocation spot

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The Philadelphia Union have taken a major step toward filling the void at centerback left by the departure of veteran Dan Califf, adding a standout central defender with MLS experience and the qualities to make the Union one of the stingiest defenses in the league.

According to FOX Soccer, the Union have signed former Chicago Fire defender Bakary Soumare, selecting him with the top spot in the MLS Allocation Order, which the Union acquired from the Vancouver Whitecaps in a trade completed last week.

An MLS Defender of the Year finalist in 2008, the 26-year-old Soumare brings an imposing presence to an athletic but small Union back-line. At 6-foot-4, he should help give the Union a real force in the air, something the team has lacked since joining MLS in 2010.

The final paperwork on the trade and Soumare signing are being processed and both should be announced on Tuesday.

Details on the trade between the Union and Whitecaps were not available at the time of the story, but sources tell SBI that the Union paid Vancouver allocation money to move up. The sum of the allocation is believed to be between $100K and $125K to move up to the top spot in the MLS Allocation Order, the order used to assign returning U.S. national team players and former MLS players previously sold by the league.

If you are wondering why the Chicago Fire don't still have Soumare's rights, by league rule once a team has used the funds secured in the transfer of a player, they lose the rights to that player. Soumare left Chicago in 2009 to join then French First Division side Boulogne on a $2 million transfer, a record for an MLS defender at the time.

What do you think of this signing? Think Soumare makes the Union a playoff contender again? Still waiting for Philadelphia to add a forward before you count them as a serious playoff threat?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. kind of sucks as a usmnt fan because Im more interested in Williams and Okugo potentially developing alongside valdes.

  2. Also, don’t forget who his backline partner for the Fire was…
    Wilman Conde in his prime who was far superior at that time.

    And for being a guy so dominant in the air with Supp great feet guess how many goals he had off headers etc….0!!!!

    How many for his entire career. 2!!!

    Guy is ok. Nothing more. Philly got fleeced

  3. As a I Fire fan I can only shrug to this. I’m more comfortable with Friedrich and Berry. Anibaba is just a step below and a little inconsistent. Someone says that he is dominant in the air and had the feet of a midfielder. The dominant in the air thing I true but feet of a midfielder? Nothing can be further than the truth. He had bricks for feet and wa always reckless. Berry is just as dominant in the air and better with his feet. Anibaba not as good in the air but better with his feet .

    He was also very inconsistent hence Hamlett getting on him. While I’m sure Hamlett is no angel Bakery was complacent his last year here. He was overhyped and his fellow CB was better. Someone started the hype and people believed it. European scouts believed it signed him then saw he was not as advertised.

  4. I have to say the center back pairing of the past two weeks has been gelling nicely, but it will be great to get some height on the back line. I hope Okugo stays at center back or shifts between that and DM with Carroll.

    After watching the mobility and opportunities created by the midfield and forward, I’m happy to see what this platoon does til the all-star break.

    BTW Philly totally should have been team of the week, not LA; The LA Gal”DP”s string two wins together now that their piggybanks are all back in town? About time says I.

    A team of young players a week and half into a new coach stonewall arguably the most potent attacking team in the East while hitting four goals? That’s unthinkable.

  5. Any details on how he has fared in France since his move from Chicago?

    I completely lost track of him until now. Good move for Philly, but they’re still lacking up front.

  6. He’s so good that all of his teams get relegated. Surprised he would come back and cut his pay in half at least if not more. Just one more who found out Europe is pretty difficult compared to the comforts of MLS.

  7. His club, US Boulogne, was relegated after the 2010-2011 season and
    he spent the first half of this season in Ligue 2 before being loaned out to Karlsruher is the 2nd Bundesliga in January. Fate was not kind to either club. They were both relegated to the 3rd division. Bakary, i’m sure, didn’t want to languish in the French or German 3rd division. He was up and down in his European adventures. He may have had offers from Europe, who knows, but he probably didn’t want to take a risk with a new league/country when he is well versed in MLS and could be an immediate upgrade for a club.

  8. Baky’s back!

    We’ll see how he performs in Philly. He seemed to fade a bit his last year and a half with Chicago, but it’s widely known that he didn’t get along well with Denis Hamlett.

    I ni se! I mena kojugu faransi la!


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