The Union ended up getting a shot to claim U.S. national team midfielder Benny Feilhaber in the Major League Soccer allocation lottery, but they passed up the opportunity, a source close to the situation told me this evening.
Just after I finished writing the first edition of this post, Major League Soccer announed that Feilhaber had been selected by the New England Revolution, which were third in the allocation lottery order.
Chivas USA was the first team in the lottery order, and coach Robin Fraser decided Feilhaber was not worth a reported $400,000 hit against MLS' $2.6 million salary cap.
There were rumors earlier today that Chivas was trying to make a trade for allocation money, with Houston a possible swap partner. But no such deal was ever struck.
Chivas was required to inform MLS headquarters of its decision by 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time. But that hour came and went, and there was no news of any kind until Chivas' statement at 7:15 p.m. Eastern.
"We had to look at a number of factors, first and foremost being if we take him and accommodate his salary within our salary cap, how much is that going to limit us going forward," Fraser said in a statement. "The fact of the matter is his salary would’ve been so high that we wouldn’t have been able to make any adjustments going forward.”
I have a hunch that the Union looked at the situation in much the same way. You can certainly make the argument that Feilhaber is worth the money, given his creative skills and World Cup experience. I know a lot of you feel that way, and I don't blame you.
But it is a lot of money, and Feilhaber isn't as much of a known quantity as you might think. He's been playing in Denmark, which is not exactly a marquee European league, and he hasn't made it on the field for the U.S. national team on a regular basis.
You can certainly make the case for that being caused by Bob Bradley's tactics. I would probably agree with that. But Chivas USA made the most sense as a destination for Feilhaber, and it sounds like they didn't take him purely because of money.
I'm sure you all have opinions about whether the Union should have taken Feilhaber, and at what price. So fire away.