With MLS preseason in full swing, all 19 teams are currently preparing for the league’s kickoff on Mar. 8. For the Philadelphia Union, they have been trying to figure out who to start alongside CB Amobi Okugo. Between newly acquired Ethan White and third-round draft pick Richie Marquez who has surprised out of the draft, the Union publicly stated they were looking for another center-back option.
On Monday, Philadelphia found their man in acquiring 2012 MLS Rookie of the Year CB Austin Berry from the Chicago Fire in exchange for allocation money. Securing a MLS ROY to a team’s squad and respective starting XI is nice on the surface, but that’s not all to consider when evaluating this move.
First off, the Union made a trade that makes sense and does not have their supporters and fans scratching their heads. Putting aside Berry’s ROY honors, he started in started in all 64 matches for the Fire the past two years. Additionally, he has only received four yellow cards in those matches as well. While playing dirty or clean is not the most important quality in a player, it’s still worth mentioning. Berry’s 6-foot-2 frame brings some welcomed height to the Union’s back-line.
Financially, Berry’s $78,425 salary as reported by the Major League Soccer Players Association does not break the Union’s bank. Likewise, the Fire reportedly receive an undisclosed amount of allocation money from Philadelphia.
Overall, this is wise trade by the Philadelphia Union. They find a clear center back to start next to Okugo while also having center defensive help with White and most likely Marquez. Additionally, this move prevents RB Sheanon Williams from possibly having to play center back as well. All in all, the Union made yet another great move before the 2014 MLS season kicks off.
Add Phil to your Google Circles and follow him on Twitter @PNaegelyRS.