Photo: Michael Long
If hard work and tenacity showed up on the score sheet, Danny Cruz would be a Golden Boot winner.
One of the newer faces on the Union, Cruz’s work rate and pace have endeared him to the Blue and Gold faithful. Before his recent toe injury, Cruz was making life miserable for fullbacks in MLS. No play is ever dead if Danny if is around. He will go at defenses all game, and gladly plays the role of pest.
The powerfully built Cruz is the second acquisition in the John Hackworth era, the first being the injured-for-most-of-the-year Backary Soumare. But while the Sourmare move was in the making when Peter Nowak was still running things, the Cruz move was all Hackworth’s. Like many players of a certain age in MLS, Cruz had been coached by Hackworth in the national team set up. And actually getting a living, breathing human being in return for Lionard Pajoy is a master stroke all by itself. Cruz hasn’t replaced Pajoy’s goals yet, but he certainly fits better with the up-tempo style the Union is trying to play.
Cruz’s attitude on and off the field is hard to question. When listening to the recent KYW Philly Soccer Show interview of Danny, you really take away a sense that Cruz was acquired for what he can bring to a locker room as well as the pitch. He’s got the look of a Philly player, for all the reasons stated above.
There is only one question mark hanging over Danny, his finishing. He came to the Union with just 5 goals in three plus seasons. His only tally to date for the Union is a penalty in a 3-2 loss to Columbus. Before his injury, his chances seemed to be growing in quality. He is a young, developing player, so time will tell if finishing becomes a part of his game.
The Union have been playing for next year for quite some time now. A lot of players are working hard for a spot on next year’s roster. As Coach John Hackworth continues to build around the young core, Danny Cruz looks like he will be a large piece of future of the Philadelphia Union.
NOTE: This post was originally credited to Ed Farnsworth erroneously. It was actually written by Greg Orlandini.