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Union trade Pajoy to D.C. United for Cruz

DannyCruz (Getty)

The Philadelphia Union already have a boat-load of impressive young talent, but on Thursday they managed to add yet another good youngster will parting ways with an older, expensive player who never quite panned out.

The Union traded Colombian striker Lionard Pajoy to D.C. United for midfielder Danny Cruz. The trade re-unites Cruz with former U.S. Under-17 national team coach John Hackworth and gives the Union a versatile winger who can play on either side of the field.

The trade is a curious one for D.C. United, which was believed to already be stacked with forward options, but the Pajoy deal seems to suggest that Ben Olsen isn't happy with the team's recent offensive struggles.

The Eastern Conference rivals pulled the trade off just two days before Philadelphia is set to face D.C. United at RFK Stadium.

What do you think of the trade? Who do you think got the better end of the deal? see the Union winning in a steal? Think Pajoy can turn things around in D.C.?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Pajoy is a beast….DCU wins this deal.

    Cruz is a hustle/pace guy to add to team that is looking to get over the hump. I don’t see how he improves Philly all that much. Philly still needs an experienced playmaker in central midfield.

  2. 1. Cruz was a nice addition to DCU. He brings work and hustle and effort. Not a lot of technical ability. But at the beginning of the year when he was starting ahead of Najar, he was helping to send the message and build a team culture of “we work, we hustle, we fight for balls, we defend” that DCU really hasn’t had for a number of years. So Cruz was a good addition.

    2. Cruz also lost his starting spot. And frankly, with where Najar is now, and the ability of Pontius and DeLeon and even throw in Neal as third string, it’s hard to see Cruz getting off the bench. Heck, even Boskovic can play left outside mid. So Cruz really is surplus at this point.

    4. As for Pajoy, I really haven’t seen a lot of him. Philly’s had a terrible season so it’s difficult to really evaluate him…if you evaluated him on performance than you’d conclude that almost all of the Philly players are no-good…and that’s a stupid conclusion. So much (especially for goal scorers) depends upon service and scheme. For instance, I don’t know that Salihi is a good fit. He’s a poacher but no target man, not a good assist man, doesn’t link well with others. But he poaches and finishes well.

    Olsen is clearly looking for someone to link well with DeRo on the frontline (with Boskovic as the A-mid and Pontius staying at left outside mid). Santos has done that effectively most of the year. Salihi and Tan, not so much. I don’t know if Pajoy is a conclusion that Olsen doesn’t like any of the other options or just a gamble to try and find a goal scorer/finisher/link man with DeRo for basically a player who wasn’t getting off the bench.

    5. As for Santos, he’s hurt–that’s one of the reasons he’s not playing.

  3. I agree Philly does not need another midfielder.
    From what I have seen of Cruz he’s a physical player but not great skill. He’s also a short guy on a short team. The only positive I see is that most teams push our players off the ball easily. Maybe Cruz’s toghness is what Hackworth was after.
    By the way, per the MPSPU the salaries are:
    Pajoy $180K base $195K guaranteed total
    Cruz $100K base $106.5K guaranteed total

  4. Yeah I dont see why DC would do this unless Cruz’s pay was an issue? No idea what the monetary figures are for Cruz or Pajoy, but it is all I could think of. Looks like a clear win for Philly. Pajoy wasn’t doin much there and I don’t expect him to be much beyond a bench played for DC either.

  5. Cruz brings size? Oh wait, that was Pajoy. The Union are now even shorter because of this trade. Pajoy was at least able to get his head on the ball in the box, more so defensively then offensively but that is a big weakness of the Union’s. Pajoy, while not great, was playing a lot better for a stretch when Hackworth first took over, now was being used as a sub (I don’t know why). Cruz adds more speed to the Union but not sure that is what is needed. I think this trade makes you go huh? on both sides. DC is not in desperate need of a striker and the Union are not in need of a MF, maybe they will play him at RW?

  6. How do you quantify “done well”? He’s only scored one goal as a starter for United and he just doesn’t mesh well with anyone offensively during those starts.

    He’s better suited at this point coming off the bench (as evident of his four second-half goals as a sub).

  7. DC got the much better end of the deal. I never rated Cruz since he was drafted all those years ago. On a pure numerical basis, pajoy’s frequency to contributing to a goal is better than Cruz’s. I really don’t see what Cruz brings to Philly, but for DC, Pajoy is a decent striker off the bench.

  8. This only makes sense if DC is planning on getting rid of somebody because Cruz was a solid squad player. Nothing great but a good option to have.

  9. It doesn’t. DC was out of International slots, so Philly’s slot had to go in the trade too. That’s according to the AP story on the deal. Still think it’s a better move for Philly than DC.

  10. Salihi has been on international duty I believe. And he will continue that when WC qualifying begins. So they must not be thinking of him as a real steady contributor. Santos, on the other hand. I don’t understand why he isn’t playing, and there hasn’t been any real explanation.

  11. I don’t know if its the worst move of the year. Cruz wasn’t going to make a huge difference one way or the other. Perhaps he and Ben (or others) just weren’t getting along. Not sure what to do with Pajoy, but if it keeps Long Tan on the bench than I’m all for it.

  12. cruz is one player i’ve never liked. nothing to do with his talent or work rate. a hit he put on brunner (pdx) last year was BS. was bummed DC got him. Glad he’s leaving.

    No it’s not necessarily rational reasoning. But there’s always one punk player you don’t like, right?

    Vamos United!

  13. —pontius–santos—

    Why is this not happening?

    Maybe Najar will bump back to defense?

  14. As a DCU fan I can’t say I understand this one. Cruz hadn’t been getting many minutes lately but he’s a solid player and his work-rate is unimpeachable. Maybe this means Pontius will be sticking to midfield. Who knows.

  15. I don’t really understand when the Santos/Salihi + Pontius combo stopped working… why all the changes. makes no sense. Put Santos back in.


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