The Danny Califf to Chivas USA trade is finally official, but that's just the beginning of the wheeling and dealing in MLS today. As Califf heads west, the Philadelphia Union acquired midfielder Michael Lahoud and allocation money in return for the veteran central defender.
Chivas USA wasn't done though, trading fullback Heath Pearce to the New York Red Bulls for up and coming striker Juan Agudelo. While it's not the flashiest move for Agudelo, it should guarantee him regular playing time, something he hasn't been getting in New York under Hans Backe. Pearce offers the Red Bulls some defensive experience to bolster their back line. According to reports, the Red Bulls also received a big chunk of allocation money and a "significant" piece of the sign-on fee should Agudelo be eventually transferred abroad. Chivas USA will also pay a portion of Pearce's contract.
I'm not a big fan of declaring "winners and losers" in trades, but it's hard to see these sets of deals as anything other than a great day for Chivas USA and the Red Bulls. Califf gives Robin Fraser additional defensive depth and leadership, while Agudelo is a talented young player that still hasn't hit his stride at the professional level yet. There's every reason to believe he could flourish in a new setting and becoming the goal scorer US National Team fans hope he can be.
Then again, Chivas USA now has a plethora of attacking options with Agudelo joining Juan Pablo Angel, Jose Erick Correa, Tristan Bowen, Cesar Romero and Casey Townsend.
For New York, they weren't really using Agudelo much as it was, so to add a defender along with the various financial gains from the trade, it's hard to see it as anything but a smart move by the often maligned Red Bulls front office.
Then there is Philadelphia.
Union fans are likely left shaking their heads after Peter Nowak traded away yet another popular player and added Lahoud who may or may not figure in to the midfield right away. Lahoud is in his fourth MLS season, after being drafted 9th overall in thge 2009 SuperDraft by Chivas USA.
The additional allocation money (as always in the super secretive world of MLS it's a mystery) goes in to the Union's already presumably large allocation coffers. One has to assume a DP signing is in the cards for the Union this summer, but in the interim, there's going to be even more displeasure with Nowak and his complete deconstruction of the Union roster over the past few months.
Perhaps Nowak plans convert all the allocation money to gold coins and build a large Scrooge McDuck-like vault in which he can go swimming...no that's ridiculous.