The Union made a flurry of moves on Friday as Major League Soccer's roster compliance deadline arrived. Each of the league's 19 clubs had to be within a 30-player roster limit and $2.95 million salary cap as of 5 p.m. Eastern Friday afternoon.
Manager John Hackworth's first move of the day came in the morning, when forward Chandler Hoffman - the team’s first-round draft pick in 2012 - was traded to the Los Angeles Galaxy. The Union got a conditional SuperDraft pick in 2014 in return.
"Chandler and I had an honest conversation about where he stood and we decided that this trade gives him an opportunity that he would not have had within our team this season," Hackworth said in a press release. "Our organization thinks very highly of Chandler, both on and off the field, and we wish him the best of luck as he continues to develop in his career."
Hoffman was the Union’s only Generation Adidas player. As such, he did not count against the salary cap, and did not take up a budgeted players lot on the Union’s roster.
"It has been truly an honor and blessing to wear the Blue and Gold," Hoffman wrote on Twitter after the trade was announced.
He thanked the Union and their fans "for all the love and support I have received since day 1 of joining the team. I wish all the fans and the organization nothing but the best."
As all 20 of the budgeted player slots on the Union’s roster are currently occupied, it’s unlikely that the Union would have been able to get a player from Los Angeles in the trade.
Hoffman will be in familiar territory when he heads to southern California, having played college soccer at UCLA.
It’s also likely that Hoffman will see significant playing time for the Galaxy under coach Bruce Arena. With attacking star Landon Donovan still on sabbatical, the rest of the Galaxy’s forward corps is quite young.
Although Hoffman only made seven appearances for the Union last year, having a full year of professional experience could give the 22-year-old an edge on 18-year-old Jack McBean, 19-year-old Jose Villareal and 21-year-old Gyasi Zardes.
In addition, Zardes suffered a foot injury this month. If not for that, he might have been a candidate to start at forward alongside Robbie Keane – and the Galaxy might not have been in the trade market at this point.
Later on Friday, the Union released third-string goalkeeper Chase Harrison. He was not expected to see much playing time, but it means that the team only has two goalkeepers on its roster as of now.
If the Union do not sign a third goalkeeper, there could be a depth problem in case of an injury. Zac MacMath will be the starter, with Chris Konopka confirmed as his backup after agreeing to a new contract.
Finally, the Union signed SuperDraft pick Don Anding, Supplemental Draft pick Leo Fernandes and free agent Matt Kassel.
The Union's roster now stands at 27 players:
Freddy Adu (Designated Player, inactive)
Jimmy McLaughlin (Homegrown Player)
Cristhian Hernández (Homegrown Player)
Sébastien Le Toux