Is Bakary Soumare still on the trade block? Philadelphia Union say "not so fast"
CHESTER, Pa. — It’s been more than a month since Bakary Soumaré went public with his request to be traded from the Philadelphia Union.
And there apparently have been few new developments since then.
Despite the recent rumor that there could be something in the works with the Chicago Fire – Soumaré’s first professional club – Union manager John Hackworth rejected the idea that a trade is imminent.
“I haven’t read any of those things but I’ve been asked about it a bunch internally,” Hackworth said during his weekly press conference Wednesday. “And I have no idea where it’s coming from. We’re actively trying to find a solution for Baky and for the Philadelphia Union. Baky’s been a good professional in every aspect. He’s still available for selection. As of now, he’s a Philadelphia Union player and he does his job quite well.”
But just because he’s available for selection doesn’t mean he’ll ever see the field.
Since signing with Philly last June, Soumaré has played in just one game – none this season. And even though the Union have given up two goals in each of the past two games, it doesn’t look like Soumaré will be called upon to offer any defensive help.
“I feel like our defense has been a strong point for us this year,” Hackworth said. “That hasn’t been one of our issues.”
The Union manager also pointed out the backline foursome of center backs Jeff Parke and Amobi Okugo and fullbacks Sheanon Williams and Ray Gaddis should only get better as they play more games together.
That means Soumaré will almost certainly remain a high-priced practice player unless until he’s traded – or until someone gets injured. But having the luxury of him on the bench might not be the worst thing for the Union.
While conceding that “right now we have three center backs that are pretty highly paid and we only need two,” Union CEO Nick Sakiewicz noted the Union haven’t felt the need to actively shop Soumaré because of the possibility of injuries to the starters.
“We really haven’t been out in the marketplace with him because we’re hoping he can help our team,” Sakiewicz said. “In case Amobi gets called into the national team, we’re going to lose him. If Jeff gets called back in, we’re going to lose him. If an injury happens, we’re going to lose them. So right now, we’re hoping the three of them continue to compete for two starting spots and the best guy that practice during the week get the nod. But we have to reevaluate that position in the offseason.”
Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.