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Soumare asks Union to trade him

Photo: Earl Gardner

Bakary Soumare has asked Philadelphia Union to trade him, and the Union have agreed to do so.

The 27-year-old center back and former all-star has been relegated to the bench this season after recovering from knee surgeries in 2012. Union manager John Hackworth has instead opted for Amobi Okugo and Jeff Parke as his starting center backs.

“It’s definitely not a role I’m used to, and it’s not a situation I want to be in,” Soumare told the Philly Soccer Page on Monday night in an interview from Bamako, Mali, where he joined Mali’s national team en route to Kigali, Rwanda, for a World Cup qualifier against Rwanda.

“I’ve requested to go elsewhere. We’re working on it, and we’ll see.”

Hackworth indicated the Union will accommodate Soumare.

“Baky has made it clear that he would like to be traded, and we are working to make that happen,” Hackworth said Tuesday in a statement issued by the Union to the Philly Soccer Page.

Philadelphia acquired Soumare last June, but he only played one regular season match due to slow recovery from a knee injury the club knew about prior to his acquisition. Former Union manager Peter Nowak traded captain Danny Califf to Chivas USA to clear room for Soumare, who had known Nowak for years due to shared ties with their former club, the Chicago Fire. Nowak also sent Vancouver a first round draft pick and allocation money for the right to acquire Soumare. Philadelphia fired Nowak two weeks before announcing the Soumare deal.

Soumare said he wonders if he hasn’t gotten opportunities because he was Nowak’s choice, not Hackworth’s, but he doesn’t know.

“I thought it was going to be my job to lose, but I feel wasn’t given a fair chance,” Soumare said. “Not to take away from Amobi. I think he’s one of the best in the league at this position. If I lost my job, that would be one thing. To not be given the job at all …”

Soumare expected to join the starting lineup after center back Carlos Valdes left the Union this winter. But the Union also acquired Parke, a former Seattle Sounders stalwart who grew up in Downingtown, Pa., and wanted to move closer to family after his wife gave birth to their first child last year.

Okugo and Parke have played well this season, and Soumare doesn’t question either player’s quality.

“It’s more the fact that (Hackworth) never gave me the job to begin with, and that’s what I thought I was here for,” Soumare said. “And Amobi, he’s done a fantastic job. And Jeff, Jeff, he was given the spot. And he’s a good player. I thought I was going to be back there with Jeff, and Amobi in midfield.

“Even though I’ve played for eight years, I’m 27. I’m in the prime of my career. The last thing I want to do is watch from the sidelines.”

Soumare said he’s “unsure why” he’s not playing and has “heard different reasons.” Before opening day, Hackworth told Soumare he would not start because of concerns Soumare couldn’t go the full 90 minutes, according to Soumare, who concedes his match fitness isn’t what it would be if he was playing 90-minute games. Soumare said a Union coach told one of his representatives the center back was overweight, despite Soumare weighing the same 210 pounds he weighed while with Chicago. “I shouldn’t have to be told that by my agent,” Soumare said.

Soumare said he asked Union chief executive Nick Sakiewicz for advice because he respected Sakiewicz and felt the executive supported him. Sakiewicz suggested he talk with Hackworth.

Eventually, Soumare resigned himself to leaving Philadelphia after what he calls “the most frustrating part of my career,” adding, “I lose sleep over this.” He said he rejected a call-up to Mali’s national team for the African Cup of Nations in January so he could join the Union in training camp. Mali shocked many by placing third in the tourney.

“The hardest part is that I feel like I can contribute to this team,” Soumare said, adding, “I love my locker room. I love my teammates. I don’t want to say I hate my job. (But) I don’t enjoy getting up in the morning and going to work, and that’s never happened in my seven years as a pro.”

He said his situation makes little sense for Philadelphia either because of his high salary, which has increased from the $240,000 base figure he made last year.

“If you’re not using that guy, why keep him around as a third string (center back)?” Soumare said. “You can get a third string for a fraction of what I cost you.”

Soumare worries that his lack of playing time will raise questions among other teams, who may wonder whether he truly is recovered from last year’s injury problems. “I think there’s a question mark, which is fair,” Soumare said.

When Soumare signed with the Union the day the 2012 summer transfer window opened, his arrival was highly anticipated. The Union had hinted at a big summer signing, and Soumare was it. In 2007, Chicago made Soumare the second player picked in the MLS amateur draft. In 2008, Soumare made the MLS Best XI and was one of three nominees for Defender of the Year. A year later, he made the all-star team and, after a dust-up with then-coach Denis Hamlett, moved to French club Boulogne on a $2.1 million transfer, at the time the highest such fee for a defender in league history. He later went on loan to Karlsruher in Germany before seeking a return to MLS and the country he now calls home.

Soumare prefers a move to another MLS club. He lives in Chicago during the off-season, and his former team could need a replacement for injured center back Arne Friedrich. New York also has a gaping hole next to Jamison Olave at center back, with Marcus Holgersson no more than a mediocre stopgap and Heath Pearce a better fit at left back in place of Roy Miller. The question is whether Soumare’s salary can fit into a team’s budget, something he said he recognizes.

“I just want to go somewhere now where I feel wanted and needed,” Soumare said. “Whether it’s Chicago or somewhere else, I don’t care. I don’t have the luxury now to pick where I play. I just want to play.”

However, he also said he would give full effort if Hackworth called upon him.

“I think we are at the point where, if I’m called upon, I’ll get the job done because I’m a good pro,” Soumare said. “But I’m at the point where I need to go.”

“The last thing we want,” Soumare said, “is for this to turn into a Freddy Adu type of situation.”

145 Comments

  1. Andrew "Calm" Down says:

    It’s surprising yet unsurprising news of the day.

  2. mismanagement.

    • They are just terrible at scouting. Terrible at a lot of things. Mismanagement is right.

      • they aren’t terrible at scouting. Soumare is a good player. Hackworth is terrible at managing everything. EVERYTHING. this guy is in over his head.

    • Hackworth has no clue and needs to go.
      His tunnel vision an inability to this outside of his universe is going to hurt this team. I can’t believe that he was the best the Union could do.

  3. Another one of those times where Hack is saying one thing publicly – Baky being an integral/core part of the team, one to build around (I’m paraphrasing here) – but does another thing entirely. I agree w Bak (and I realize it’s only one side of the story), but he hasn’t really been given a fair shake this season.

    I wonder how long until Torres puts in a transfer request …

  4. Well that’s just dandy. Why can’t we just have a normal team without all the lies and terrible decisions. I feel for him, and wish we could have seen what he had. All reports said he had an impressive preseason, but then, so did Torres. Back to having no defensive depth it is!!

    • Also, that really sucks that he turned down 3rd place in afcon for this.

      • There’s one quote I left out of the article because the story was getting too long. But he called that “the biggest disappointment of my career.”

        • Well one good thing to come out of this article is that MLS.com referenced you as the source in their article. Is that a first?

          • It’s happened a few times, usually when we break stories. (Like when we broke the news last year about Diego Gutierrez getting fired.) Never enough, but we’re getting broader readership these days, which is nice. The more our readers spread the word, the more readers we gain, and the more sustainable PSP becomes.

  5. This is truly the first OH MY GOD HORRIBLE decision from Hackworth. I can’t believe it’s come to that.
    All accounts had Soumare as a All Star level MLS defender and that he was 100% healthy. To sacrifice him possible adding so much more to our defense, in the name of keeping Okugo there who will help us 1000000000 times more by playing at CDM, is a disgrace.
    This is the first mistake that I can say Hackworth owns completely, and it’s a TERRIBLE one.
    So not only do we lose Soumare (and a chance to play Okugo at CDM which would make the team better overall) we go back to the days of having 0 CB depth.
    Terrible, absolutely insulting mismanagement by Hackworth.

    • JediLos117 says:

      Awfully speculative, no? Now I’ll give it a try…Okugo is 1000000000000 times better than Soumare at CB

      • Okugo is a good center back but would be better used in the MF in place of Lohuod or Keon both of which are no where near as skilled. Also Soumare is a big tall physical player something they have on the roster with Parke and Casey but Hack refuses to play so they keep getting owned in the air. The real issue is Hack is a teach and developer of talent not a true manger or personnel or a tactician. The man has been in over his head since day one and he keep trotting out Marfan as an every game starter when he has been probably the worst of the starter this season. This is a poor decision by a manger that is just a petty as those made by Nowak.

      • Okugo is a good CB, but I would still say a fully fit Soumare is better then him.

      • +1000000000000

      • And CDM is stacked… and Soumare is slow as shit compared to Okugo and Parke. And he has a Juan Diego Gonzalez salary.

  6. Sean Doyle says:

    I sometimes feel the Union are that guy in your fantasy league that everyone loves to do trades deals with.

    • Sean Doyle says:

      That being said, maybe this is an opportunity for the Union to bring back Eric Schoenle, a player they drafted and liked but who lost the numbers game. Hackworth said of Schoenle back in February “He’s a guy we really like and he’s a fantastic soccer player, and if we had a way to keep him we would certainly keep him. He’s a guy we want to put on a developmental path.”
      Defensive depth, low cap number, knows the team and the system. Might be a good, low risk add.

  7. What the fudge?! seriously union? This was the teams chance to fill the offensive void that Carroll leaves with Okugo or if you do not agree with that to at least move him to the midfield. This is such a huge lost. I was at the game Soumare played and sure he was a little rusty but man he looked pretty damn good for not being 100% with his knee. Just dumb…

  8. sieve!!!!!! says:

    II could see this coming, especiallly with a high priced DP in the pipeline. But I wished they TRIED to get him and Okugo on the field. I mean if theey arre willing to put Gaddis out on Left Wing despite being a 2nd year player and not a Left Winger you would trot out this obvious formation ONCE.

    Torres is as good as gone, probably would be gone aleady if they thought they could get away with it.

  9. This entire situation is ridiculous, and it’s embarrassing for the Union.

  10. I am not sure exactly what to say about this. At a certain point, this is just embarrassing. The union had a chance to continue to have strength in the backline, as well as depth, while also making their midfield stronger by moving Okugo up. All reports say he can do the defensive work Carroll adds, which we’ve seen during his time at CB, as well as adding to the offense in significant ways. Okugo has even said he would rather play in the midfield, and Carroll would be a great option coming in as a sub when the added defense was needed. I having a feeling that this season is going to get ugly quick. I won’t be upset to see someone other than Hackworth roaming the sidelines next season.

    • Totally agree, Carroll subbing in would make me feel better than Albright subbing in, he is just too old for it now. Okugo in the back was supposed to be temporary, or so we were made to believe

  11. His attitude that “they owed the job to him” says it all. He didn’t prove himself and I don’t mind seeing him go. There is always 2 sides to every story. Did anyone notice that we have 6 points? We’ll be just fine.

    • Thats not the issue. The point is he should not have been acquired in the first place. Blame Nowak again. But there is going to be a point where they won’t be able to do that anymore. These things happen with management changes. But the Union seems terrible at dealing with everyone in an honest straight forward way.

      • That could be true but there’s always two sides to every story. He didn’t impress me in preseason and obviously didn’t impress Hackworth either.

    • It isn’t so much as he was owed a job. It was he was promised a job and he never got the chance to lose it. We have 6 points. But we owe those 6 points but those are a damn shaky 6 points. I would rather see a well played loss at this point than another win where you are hoping snipers put the opposing team out of their misery.

    • The Black Hand says:

      We have 6 points…yes, but I wouldn’t say that we look like a team that is going to be just fine. In truth, we look like a team that is going to have six points for a long time. I really don’t know what to say about the way this club is managed. Where does this arrogance come from?

    • JediLos117 says:

      Exactly what i was thinking…I remember he sh@t the bed last season in his one appearance…everybody is holding on to what he was.

  12. Should have just started him in the back with Okugo alongside Carroll. Not sure where all this money is coming from to pay him and Adu. And with that money we could actually – or could HAVE actually – spent that money on a real life DP, because I hear they exist in far away lands like Los Angeles and Montreal.

  13. HACKWORTHLESS.

  14. 1)Okugo and Beesler are the two best centerback options the USMNT has under 23.
    2)Hack has a history with the national team.
    3)There is no way he is going to move Amobi from center back.

    That said we will need depth at centerback, if for no other reason than because Amobi may get called up for Gold Cup.

  15. I don’t really blame Hackworth. It really is stupid to have a high priced 3rd string CB when Okugo and Parke are in great form. Plus the idea to snap up Soumare was a Nowak half-thought out scheme. In all fairness I hope we get to see Parke Okugo and Soumare on the field together for the NYRB match or, at the very least, the Pumas friendly.`

    • No there was a logic behind Soumare when he came in. He was younger, cheaper, and had a higher potential upside potential upside than Danny Califf If he was able to slowly work his way into the lineup other than being forced into it via Danny’s early departure I suspect we would be in better shape right now.

      • True in regards to the merits of Soumare over Califf. However, he was picked up with a known injury that has a long, very long healing processes. We essentially bought an injured player who isn’t entirely match fit at a high price. To make matters more dicey, Okugo turned out to be a strong CB.

        • If you keep Califf with the intent of trying out Soumare and slowly taking him into your stating 11. You take that all day. I think he could have played last year and worked into fitness. In all honestly even with the uncertainty it is a deal i pull the trigger on.

          • I see your point, but maybe I’m too cautious or too weary of knee/joint injuries. Unfortunately, Soumare re-injured himself and Califf was gone be he arrived. I still think he deserves a chance to play, but probably won’t get it.

        • The same Danny Califf who is still performing at a high level this year.

    • The Black Hand says:

      Okugo has performed admirably at CB. I’m not sure how he would look without Parke by his side. I think that Soumare would equal Okugo at CB, not to mention he has way more size than Amobi. Amobi Okugo would run circles around Brian Carroll at the CDM. He is a good passer that would add support to our attacking players AND be able to shut it down defensively. To me, this appeared to be a move that would of strengthened our club. Why would Hackworth not even give it a thought? Why the undying loyalty to Carroll?

      Bakary Soumare has shown that he is very capable of playing quality football at a high level. He has not even had the slightest of chances to succeed with the Union. Losing him is going to be a mistake.

      • Like I said I think it’s more a monetary issue. Okugo and Parke are fine together. Why have all this money riding the bench? After naming Carroll captain there is no way in hell Okugo is starting at CDM over him. That said, Hackworth has to either take back the armband or drop Soumare. He can save face by dropping Soumare – maybe picking up something decent via trade- and basically blame the injury/fitness [Soumare self-admits that he isn't at a full 90]. The assumption here is that Hackworth values Carroll on the field more than Soumare on the field For what reason, I’m unsure. I DO agree that it is a mistake, but I don’t blame him for wanting to free up some room/money for another option. As far as easing Soumare into the line-up, it seems to me that Nowak picked Soumare up while injured with the intention of getting him playing time towards the end of last season or the start of this one. His injury and fitness obviously have factored into that start date. He was given playing time in pre-season and did fairly well. Hackworth must feel that for the price, Soumare isn’t worth it, or that Soumare doesn’t mesh well with either Parke or Okugo. BUT I strongly feel that at some point in the near future Parke Soumare and Okugo need to be on the field together to end the debate.

  16. Just not to the NYRB, please. It’s bad enough having to hear about Pajoy scoring for DC. Imagine how annoying it’d be to have to hear about another Union castoff performing well for a direct rival. And how lame must Mali’s talent be for them to call up Soumare when he’s played 1 club game in the last — what — year?

    • We survived LeToux to Red Bulls pretty OK. But to be honest The Red Bulls defense could use some help.

    • The Black Hand says:

      Maybe they called him up because of how he played prior to the injury. Look him up. He was pretty good.

      • I doubt that NYRB has room in the bank. They did just pick up Luyindula from PSG and probably not on that cheap-cheap. Let him got to Chicago, it’ll make the player, Chicago might play half-way decent, and maybe we can grab some cash, re-entry spot, or a draft pick.

    • not to mention that mali finished 3rd in africa. team can’t be that bad.

  17. okugo to midfield and soumare in center back. okugo could probably even be wingerin midfield. we might really regret letting soumare go.

  18. Jeremy Lane says:

    Oy. I still give Hack the benefit of the doubt, but his leash is getting shorter by the day. Better see results, is all I’ll say.

    • The Black Hand says:

      Longest leash ever. I don’t see the positives of Hack’s management.

      • my leash lasts as long as this season as long as he doesn’t completely shit the bed. that said i can’t say i’ve been impressed since about sometime in the summer last year.

        • agreed. I figure that this is Hack’s first FULL season to manage the team his way. I want to see how it pans out before I hop on the “ask Hackworth to resign” bandwagon. That said, we’ve had decent performances against mediocre teams. The true test comes when we play a truly competative club.

  19. There is a lot of revisionist history from Soumare and in some of the comments bashing Hack and the team. Baky was picked up a month and a half after Califf was traded. He wasn’t fit enough to play until August. In that game he looked slow and three steps behind everything. He got injured again and it ended his season. Amobi came in last year and solidified the back. Baky was unreliable and Valdes wanted to head home, so they pick up Parke. I have no reason to believe the defense would be nearly as good with Baky there instead of Amobi. The same complainers would be second-guessing Hack if he played a lackluster Soumare. Hack made the right choice. And he can’t exactly going around saying Baky is worthless if they are looking to trade him, right?

    • That maybe true. The problem is that we can’t tell. He had no playing time. The bottom line for me is not whether he plays or not but his description of their dealings. It sounds so familiar with what we heard from other players. It has the ring of truth. They are underhanded in their dealings with players.
      /
      Baky may not be telling the truth. We will hopefully find out after a trade is completed. But a good coach needs to be straight forward with his players I.e… this is why you are not playing and this is what you need to improve.
      /
      The thing is if he wasn’t doing well you would think that the Union would be the one looking to get rid of him not visa versa. He is expensive after all. So mny similar stories trim this young team. Too many.

    • JediLos117 says:

      Hear hear!
      .
      At this point into the season, ya gotta give it to Hack and the coaching staff…it hasnt been pretty but it dont have to be.
      .
      3 game, 6 points…good for 2nd place.
      .
      4 goals against, 4 goals for.
      .
      Something is working.

      • Our play shitty teams strategy is working to perfection.

        • Other teams have also had some pretty poor finishing as well.

        • JediLos117 says:

          We all knew before the season that we have a crappy team…Im pretty sure PSP predicted we would finish in 7th or 8th place this season…we as a whole just aint that good.
          .
          Moving Okugo into the midfield or any other simple change aint all of the sudden gonna make us title contenders.
          .
          Our current issue and main needs are in our attacking midfield corp.
          .
          I dont get why everyone is so focused on the Carroll/Okugo and now Soumare issue.

          • because carroll is where attacks go to die.

          • JediLos117 says:

            Isn’t that his job and how its suppose to go?

          • The Black Hand says:

            It’s not about automatically becoming a contender. It’s about the manager focussing on improving the play of his club, not cutting oout options. We have 6 points in three games. Good stuff, without a doubt. Not the most convincing of showings, though. The club looked far more lucky, than cohesive.
            .

            Carroll doesn’t provide any linkage between the back four and our attackers. That, coupled with him looking very soft when challenging, leaves me questioning his placement in our starting XI. I think that Okugo would provide us with a much more versatile and effective CDM. Soumare, if healthy, might just work out to be a solid CB. Thus, we might have improved our club. The fact that this has not even been explored by Hackworth, is what I have a problem with. We are now left thin at CB and desperate for Brian Carroll to improve his form. I don’t know if Soumare would have improved our club, as a whole, but I think the option should have been looked at.

          • yes, it’s carroll’s job to stifle union attacks…[shakes head]

    • No… the Saumare deal was in the works for a while. This was the signing the front office would hint at for the longest time. So obviously one of our center backs was becoming expendable and I doubt it was Valdes. So it is safe to say Nowaks deals were with Saumare coming in mind,

      • I know. That’s my point. Califf was moved to make room for Soumare. Soumare couldn’t play. Okugo plays extremely well. Soumare loses his job. That’s the simplified version.

  20. John O'Donnell Jr. says:

    I think that because of his injury, Amboi got an opportunity which he has far exceeded at. Nobody saw this coming the day he started his first game. There is also a chance we might get Carlos back and have this problem again. I can’t blame Hack but if they can get some value out of a trade for him, well just win baby.

  21. Don’t doubt that Soumare is and would be great at CB for the UNION but right now its Amobi spot to lose during preseason Carroll was made Captain It’s his to lose. Soumare believed it was his spot until Parke was brought in so Soumare and Amobi at CB if Parke wasn’t brought in OK. If Carroll wasn’t Capt. Amobi in the Midfield and CB would be Soumare and Parke great for the UNION but right now you have a highly paid player that doesn’t want to be a part of the UNION enough to seat the bench and we are only three matches into the season Trade him before the Club house becomes a poison well. Player either want to be a part of this Club or not. If not best thing is to move them on and play with the ones that do.

    • players want to have careers and opportunity. that’s just about where the loyalty ends. any player who thought they were good enough to say so would do the same with few exceptions.

  22. This is a real shame and another potential black mark on the Union. I hope they play him to test how it could work rather than making assumptions based on three league games.

  23. Hmmmm… High-priced player with bad knees, drawing a salary but not playing… Are we talking about the Union or the 76ers? Soumare sounds like a nice guy, but in his one start last year he was awful (yes, I know he was rusty, but still awful). At nearly a quarter million for a 3rd CB, it’s a gift for him to ask to be traded – we can easily get 2 quality backups for his salary and then some. Now if we could only dump Adu and his ridiculous salary (at least I didn’t say Soumare was OVER-priced)…

  24. Last year was the first time Brian Carroll did not make the playoffs in his career I think…the little things he does in the DM roll and filling in space when Sheanon is out of position or Keon turns the ball over again are why he is on the field. I don’t get the hate for Brian, all he does is work hard. Amobi seems to like the switch to CB and has flourished. If we can turn another one of Nowak’s bad moves from last year into a true LB than that would be great.

  25. So, is his salary plus Freddy’s salary enough to pay Kléberson what he wants?

  26. If people want to live in some kind of fantasy land where the Union Ownership has a wad of money burning a whole in their collective pockets so be it. I for one don’t believe this to be true.

    And you know what, that does kind of suck.

    Reality: Adu = Nowak, Soumare = Nowak

    They both make large salaries and at the moment neither fit into the team’s plans. If the team clears all that money from the books I, for one, would really like to see what Hack does with the money. Remember Amobi, Zac and Jack all graduated gen adidas. When you have a player demanding to start while making a comparatively large salary it’s gonna turn ugly quick. Might as well work with him to find a new home.
    Oh, and I guarantee he’s easier to move than Adu.

    • I tried to post that 30 minutes ago my connection cut out.

    • seems to me most people here understand the situation and if anything are finding fault with the union for letting it get to this point(again) when there were other paths to take. hell, i think the shittiest thing is soumare not playing for mali to train with a team that he wasn’t gonna get time for. the union had an idea of that and should be faulted for it. i am glad however they aren’t standing in his way as he asks to be traded though i think it sucks he never had a shot.

  27. Pingback: Philadelphia Union defender Bakary Soumare asks for a trade | MajorLeagueSoccer.Info

  28. Just want to say, job well done by the PSP crew on this and the other stories recently broken in addition to the regular coverage and analysis. We’re pretty fortunate to have this site covering our team.

    • Is this a record for PSP comments? Don’t remember what it looked like when Seba was traded, but this is a bit more than I would have expected. Good on ya PSP! Further solidifying your place as my first stop for soccer surfing.

      • Yea. I kind of thing the Soumare deal isn’t that horrible on its own but kind of the straw that broke the camels back for fans that have a lot of little frustrations about what this team is doing and where it is going.
        Now when Torres gets traded that is going to be a shitstorm.

      • The record is 147. Mwanga’s trade was higher. So was Conor’s gay chicken post.
        -
        And thanks, Spugger. Appreciate the nice words. We’re trying. ;)

    • Thanks. We really appreciate you saying so.

  29. Philly Cheese says:

    Need to put best 11 on the pitch. Carroll is consistently mediocre…..and not getting any better. Okugo would be an upgrade in that slot. An injury to CB mid year, and Hack will only have shuffling of Williams as stopgap. Depth is important and Bakary should be getting fit and forcing his way into CB start, not quitting because he is not in top two.

    • Soumare is asking to leave precisely because he is one of our top two CB’s but isn’t getting the playing time he deserves. Okugo is a CDM being played out of position and if played in his correct position would benefit the team by playing from box to box. The overarching issue is that Hackworth is a coach and not a manager.

  30. Pingback: Kick Off: All eyes on USMNT, Jurgen Klinsmann following Sporting ...

  31. He should only have been given a shot if he deserved it. He did not look good in pre-season. I wish Baky all the best but I think Hack is making a good choice.

  32. OneManWolfpack says:

    The fact that Brian Carroll starts when Okugo should be the holding mid is ridiculous. I’m not saying Soumare was gonna be a beast… hell he may have been a total bust, but we’ll never know. Parke and Soumare with Okugo as your holding mid… backed up by Lahoud in case of injury or formation change or whatever. Now we lose a player that we never saw play. I don’t like it at all. Despite the fact that the Union play in Chester… this is a Philly team. Things like this ALWAYS come back to bite Philly teams.

  33. I totally get that Soumare wants to play, but what is Hackworth supposed to do here? Okugo and Parke have been excellent. We can harp all day about putting Okugo in midfield but honestly why would he break up that partnership that has been largely successful for the first three games? Hackworth clearly believes that Okugo is one of his two best CBs, and on current evidence how can we say he’s wrong?

    By the way, we’ve played THREE GAMES. This is a long season, and in my opinion it seems awfully early for Soumare, or anyone for that matter to be openly asking for a trade. Soumare seems like a good guy and if he really feels like he hasn’t been given a fair shake, I guess you can’t really tell him shouldn’t feel that way, but count me out of jumping on Hack or the front office for this one.

    • the reason is simple. it’s because our midfield looks like shit and this is one step towards addressing that.
      maybe soumare steps in and is an as good or better option than okugo at cb. obviously that speculation but even if he were to be not as good but serviceable it would allow us to use okugo in the midfield as cdm which would improve the range of the midfield and the attack potentially outweighing a potential loss in the centerback pairing.
      the time to try that out would have been when playing crap teams like colorado and new england. that is the reason people are thinking hackworth messed this up.

  34. Pingback: Philadelphia Union defender Bakary Soumare asks for a trade | Local Philadelphia News Aggregator

  35. “And Amobi, he’s done a fantastic job. And Jeff, Jeff, he was given the spot. And he’s a good player. I thought I was going to be back there with Jeff, and Amobi in midfield.”

    SO DID I!

  36. The Soumare pickup was a good move. A bad move was making BC captain. I think it guarantees him a spot in the starting IX which effectively pushes Soumare out of it. I’d love to see an Okugo/Kleberson midfield but it won’t happen.

  37. Pingback: MLS Ticker: Keane not ready to walk away, MLS Cup winning coach sacked, and more | Soccer By Ives

  38. Being a manager is not as easy as a lot of posts seem to think it is.
    a) are you or I in the room and at training every day with the team? We are not.
    b) let’s say that in the next league match Baky gets in, which pushes Okugo up. And in that match the Union give up 15 chances and 3+ goals. What will the reaction then be?
    c) it is a luxury to have someone like Baky on the roster. Without him, what does the depth chart show for defenders? Albright, Garfan? As any manager or head coach will state -its a problem, but a good problem to have.
    d) Baky’s reaction is EXACTLY what you would expect of a player who is not getting playing time. All they want to do is play. I just think it is unfortunate that this situation has been opened up to the media and public.
    I am tiring of the comments about Hack not knowing what he is doing. Those who make the comment are not giving him or the Union a chance. Let’s wait on judging the Manager and team as a whole until the summer break.
    Unrelated: I am much more concerned about USMNT qualifying. That keeps me up at night.

    • The Black Hand says:

      Being a professional manager is very hard. Dealing with the criticisms is part of the job. Another part is improving upon your clubs weaknesses. We have the same shortcomings, that we had at the end if the last campaign. I haven’t seen them addressed. There in lies my problem with John Hackworth.

    • b) the reaction would be exactly what you’d expect but the point is that it could perhaps be ruled out.

      sure no one on this blog is seeing the players as much as hackworth but i’d imagine there’s quite a bit of playing, reffing, and coaching experience present.

      hackworth hasn’t really done anything to deserve the benefit of the doubt. he has a 10-12-4 record with the union and consistently looks out managed. i’m still all for giving him the season and i’d like to eat my words at that point but it doesn’t mean i won’t criticize.

  39. It is truly a shame when one current player uses a current/soon to be former player’s situation to describe the risks inherent in his own situation. When you quote Soumare as saying that we don’t want this to develop into another Adu situation, I worry about all of the players and their perception of management. I was worried all of the end of last season, and through the early off season when the Union front office publicly disparaged their DP, Freddy Adu. Now, they are sitting a player that could provide decent trade value, and acknowledging that they are trying to move him. I just don’t understand why anybody would be moved to give value for an asset that you clearly don’t use, and don’t appear to value at all. It is a unique negotiation strategy, at the very least. “Buy my car, please? It doesn’t meet my needs, and doesn’t work that well, but I am sure that you will give me a huge amount for it.”

  40. My biggest concern with this is did the team really have to pick up Jeff Parke in the offseason if they had wanted to keep Okugo at CB? I like Parke and think he’s been great this year, but let’s face it, he’s going to be 31 in a few days. What if this becomes another Califf situation in a few years where an already slow defender begins to drop off? Then the team is back at square one with trying to find a quality CB (I’m assuming Valdes is all but gone after his loan stint), and by that time Okugo could be on his way to Europe. With Soumare, they had a guy who’s 27, already tested Europe, and could be a stalwart on the defense for the forseeable future.
    .
    If Soumare looked terrible in preseason then I understand, but at least in the exibitions he looked capable of being a starting caliber CB. His defending was solid and his passing out of the back was pretty impressive. Sure, it’s only one part of the story, but it seemed like he was capable of starting for the team.
    .
    Now, we’re stuck with a player who wants out, and the team will most likely get very little in return. It seems as if the front office and coaching staff is a little short-sighted on this one.

    • The Black Hand says:

      Comparing Parke to Califf is way off. Parke is far better than Califf. Not to mention, the best player on our club. His acquisition was Hackworth’s best decision as manager and he is making the COACH look better every match. Can’t see how bringing in Parke could be bad for the club. Now playing Okugo out of position, on the other hand, thats another story.

      • Definitely not way off. In terms of age, it’s a completely appropriate comparison. I do agree that Parke has been very good, and I hope he continues to be a rock at CB for the rest of his career. But we need to consider he’s turning 31 and already lacks for speed. In two years we could potentially see a huge dropoff. It’s a risk that the team could have to replace both Okugo and Parke in a couple of years.
        .
        If you don’t think a player’s ability can sharply drop off once they hit their 30s, then you haven’t been following the Carlos Bocanegra situation, who is a far better defender than either Califf or Parke.

  41. I think the biggest frustration of most of the fans is that Hackworth refuses to even TRY what most people seem to feel is the best option. Ok not much was said of Soumare during the preseason, but Torres was certainly on fire throughout. Why has neither of them played?

    It’s pretty safe to say that BY FAR, our midfield is the weakest of the 3 units. Lahoud is what he is, and I don’t think you’ll find anyone who would argue he’s a better option than Okugo. Carroll has looked significantly worse these first few games, compared even to last year. I’m not a Keon fan in the slightest, but to be fair let’s say he is “good” Keon 50% of the time, that still leaves half the game where he passes to no one and is as slow as anyone ever. I like Marfan as much as anyone, but he has been totally lost thus far.

    Would not Okugo and/or Torres be IMMEDIATE upgrades? Back to my original point, we have no idea, because Hackworth refuses to even attempt it. Keon and Carroll would be perfect for closing out a game when you’re ahead. Slow, steady, smart. But to start a game they offer little to nothing going forward, and rarely come back to make a good connection between defense and attack.

    I thank god every day that we somehow have 6 points from these first 3 games. Let’s not waste this fortune by trotting out the same people who just don’t get it done. Use this Pumas game to try out our best lineup.

  42. Well, Hackworth gave his explanation. He feels that Okugo is the better option at CB. Its his team to run. Its Baky’s option to ask for a transfer. As long as he is being forth coming with the player (and the fans), I have no problem with the transfer.

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  44. Great job as usual phillysoccerpage. You guys make following the team a total blast!
    -
    I’m kind of disappointed in Baky wanting to bail out so soon. Was he promised a starting job? Was Adu promised the offense would flow through him? Why us?does this happen elsewhere in mls?
    -
    I’m truly not sure what to think other than It’s Hack’s prerogative to play who he deems is the best “team” not the best eleven players. Me personally, I wanted to see Baky and Parke in the middle forming an impregnable shield. Okugo in the midfield but my balls aren’t on the line over the decision like Hack’s are.

  45. players come and players go but my concern is what effect does this have on our credibility on the open market. At some points agents and players have to say to there fringe stars. look at adu, how they treated califf, le toux, mwanga, soumare. all players likede at some point by fans but who saw there crrerrs at least side tracked if not toilet bowled by mismangaement. all this means it costs more to get people to take a chance. I don’t want to sound silly but in a sport where money is tight cred counts.

  46. Pingback: Take him or leave him: Philadelphia Union’s John Hackworth "comfortable" with … | Local Philadelphia News Aggregator

  47. Pingback: Bakary Soumare to be traded to Chicago

  48. Pingback: Good News: Baky returns to Sweet Home Chicago | On The Fire

  49. Did you ever hear of players like Sergio Santimaria? How about Florent Sinama-Pongollel? Those two like the likes Cesc Fabregas, Toni Kroos and our own Landon Donovan all won the Golden Ball at the U-17 World Cup. Showing prmoise as a youngster doesn’t guarantee you will have a successful senior career.

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