Union trade Gabriel Farfan to Chivas USA

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The Union have traded versatile defender/midfielder Gabriel Farfan (left) to Chivas USA. (Michael Dwyer/AP file photo)

The Union swung a major trade Wednesday afternoon, sending versatile defender/midfielder Gabriel Farfan to Chivas USA in exchange for allocation money and a first-round pick in next year's SuperDraft.

Farfan was a regular presence in the Union's defense for much of his time here. Signed prior to the 2011 season, he made 22 appearances that year and 23 in 2012.

This year, however, he has been mainly relegated to the bench. Of his six appearances in the team's first 10 games, just three were starts.

Farfan played primarily at left back in 2011 and 2012, and was one of the few players on the Union's roster who seemed to fit at the position. But his true place was in midfield, and he flourished briefly this year when when given a rare chance to move out of the defense.

Hackworth acknowledged after the Union's last home game that Farfan had lost his starting spot due mainly to strong performances from other players. In particular, Michael Farfan - Gabriel's brother - seemed to knock Gabriel out of the lineup.

Though the move may have caught some Union fans by surprise, Chivas USA's interest in Gabriel Farfan - indeed, in both Farfans - isn't new. First-year manager José Luis Sánchez Solá reportedly had his eye on the duo when he took the job last winter.

That interest evidently didn't waver despite Gabriel's lack of playing time. As such, the Union were able to set a high bar for a potential trade, and they got a very good deal out of it.

The amount of allocation money - call it salary cap room - in the trade won't be made public due to Major League Soccer rules. But the draft pick will be a public figure soon enough, and it could end up being quite high.

Chivas currently has the worst record in the Western Conference. The Goats also have the lowest payroll overall in MLS, and an ownership that hasn't even bothered to put together a local television contract. If the team's lack of ambition holds to form, it's likely that they won't have a great season.

That, of course, would very much be to the Union's benefit. Among the potential rewards down the road: Georgetown midfielder and New Hope native Steve Neumann, a potential NCAA Player of the Year candidate this coming autumn.

Neumann and a number of other top college prospects are playing this summer for Reading United, the Union's affiliate in the Premier Development League. Reading's head coach is Union assistant Brendan Burke, which means there will be plenty of in-person scouting in the coming months.

It's a long way from now until next January, when that SuperDraft pick will be cashed in at the Pennsyvlania Convention Center. But the short-term pain from dealing Farfan could end up leading to a much greater long-term gain.