The Philadelphia Union finally completed their trade of defender and captain Danny Califf to Chivas USA Thursday afternoon. In return for Califf, the Union received midfielder Michael Lahoud and an undisclosed quantity of allocation money.
"I want to take this opportunity to give my sincerest thanks to all our fans, the city of Philadelphia and all of my teammates that I have played with," Califf said in a statement isused by the Union's media relations office. "You have opened your heart and welcomed this California kid like just another one of yous guys!!"
Yes, that's a direct quote.
"We want to thank Danny Califf for his contributions to the Union on and off the field and wish him well in his career," Union manager Peter Nowak said in the same statement.
Nowak described Lahoud as "another young versatile player who we believe will have an opportunity to establish himself as a Union player while helping us achieve our goals throughout the season."
Lahoud is primarily a holding midfielder, but is capable of playing outside back too. So he could slot in to one of the defensive flank positions if Sheanon Williams and/or Gabriel Farfan move to the center.
Born in Sierra Leone, Lahoud moved to Reston, Va. (near D.C.), when he was two years old. He has been in Major League Soccer since 2009, and has played a total of 3,951 minutes in 64 games.
In that time, he has scored a total of two goals and dished out seven assists.
The Califf trade wasn't the only big move Chivas made Thursday. They also acquired one of Major League Soccer's top young American stars, New York forward Juan Agudelo, in exchange for versatile defender Heath Pearce and multiple financial considerations.
According to the New York Post, those considerations include "allocation money, a significant portion of the sell-on fee of what appears to be Agudelo's inevitable move to Europe, and that Chivas USA will pay part of Pearce’s salary this year."
Chivas coach Robin Fraser told reporters in Los Angeles that Califf and Agudelo are expected to be available for Saturday night's rivalry game against the Galaxy. That just so happens to be the club where Califf started his professional career in 2000.
Just as big is Chivas' next game after that: at New York on Wednesday, May 23. It should be quite a scene at Red Bull Arena if Agudelo suits up against his former club. And I've already seen comments on Twitter from Union fans who are thinking about going up to Harrison, N.J., to support Califf.
What do you think of the trade? Have your say in the comments.
Early Thursday evening, MLS headquarters announced that FC Dallas star midfielder Brek Shea has been suspended three games for deliberatly kicking a ball at an asisstant referee in Dallas' May 12 game at Columbus.
This means that Shea won't be available to face the Union on Saturday night (8:30 p.m., The Comcast Network).
He won't be the only major Dallas player absent. Stalwart defenders Ugo Ihemelu and Zach Loyd and creative midfielders David Ferreira and Ricardo Villar are almost certainly going to miss the game due to various injuries.
In addition, speedy forward Fabian Castillo is questionable, and word is going around that starting goalkeeper Kevin Hartman might not be able to play either.
(Which means a potential reunion with former Union netminder Chris Seitz.)
But before you get your hopes up, remember that Freddy Adu is out of the game too, due to the red card he received last Sunday against the Red Bulls. In addition, Gabriel Gomez is one yellow card away from a one-game suspension due to accumulation of bookings.
Roger Torres is still out as he recovers from knee surgery, and Danny Califf is gone.
The Union will also be without Faryd Mondragon, Sebastien Le Toux, Shea Salinas, Jordan Harvey, Brad Knighton, Michael Orozco Fiscal, Eduardo Coudet, Stefani Miglioranzi, Alejandro Moreno, and probably a few other former players.
I suspect that if we all looked hard enough, we could find someone still annoyed about each of them not being around anymore.
But I digress...