MLS trades finalized on first day of offseason

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by RYAN BRISTER

Less than 24 hours after MLS Cup, the league opened its doors to the wheeling and dealing of the offseason. Several players are now free agents for the first time in league history, while several teams were quick to finalize deals for those players still under contract. The Philadelphia Union were the big movers on the first day of the offseason.

Cristian Maidana and Andrew Wenger to Houston: Earnie Stewart wasted no time in digging into the Union’s roster. Philly has sent two regular starters down to Houston. In a bad season, Maidana was a rare bright spot; his 15 assists were second in the league. Wenger, once the first pick of the draft, had a setback of a season playing out wide. Heading in the other direction are a reportedly large chunk of allocation money and the sixth pick in this year’s SuperDraft. Philadelphia already has the third pick as a result of their record this past season.

Chris Pontius to Philadelphia: The first big acquisition of the Stewart era is Chris Pontius, who comes via a trade with DC. Pontius posted 12 goals in 2012, but has seen diminishing returns (and health) since. Pontius has just four goals over the last two seasons, during which he has missed significant time due to injury.

Lamar Neagle to DC: With Pontius heading out, DC brought in a player capable of replacing him. United traded allocation money to Seattle for Lamar Neagle. Neagle had trouble getting playing time with the Sounders, but his numbers are comparable to Pontius’. Neagle also happens to be younger and cheaper than the man he is replacing.