Philadelphia Union Trade Sheanon Williams to Dynamo

In a move that surprised just about everyone, the Philadelphia Union announced they had traded defender Sheanon Williams to the Houston Dynamo Thursday afternoon for allocation money and future considerations.  Houston also received an international roster spot in the deal.  Williams is the Union’s all-time leader in games and minutes played and had been with the team since their inaugural season, joining the team midway through 2010 from the Harrisburg City Islanders of the USL.

Williams is a natural right back, but has played all over the back line for the Union in his career.   Former Union manager Peter Nowak played him at center back for a time and current manager Jim Curtin has played at both right and left back.  Earlier this season, Curtin announced that Ray Gaddis would become the starting right back over Williams.  Gaddis had been playing at left back despite being a natural right back because Williams had been there.

However, Curtin decided it was time for Gaddis to make the move to his natural position and that Williams would battle the Brazilian Fabinho for the left back spot.  It was then that the writing was on the wall for Williams and many fans and journalists began thinking that Williams’ time with the Union was just about over.

Soon after Curtin announced Gaddis as the starting right back he got hurt, allowing Williams to shift back to the right.  Gaddis returned after a few games but Fabinho, much-maligned for his lack of defensive skill but possessing the ability to use his left foot, has been playing well.  So Williams returned to the bench.  Williams and Fabinho are similar in that they are both attacking fullbacks, preferring to get forward with the ball instead of staying at home. This is why Curtin prefers Gaddis on the right, because he is more of a stay-at-home defender and can cover for the other defenders when they go forward in attack.

Williams was a fan favorite in Philadelphia and will be missed on and off the field, especially in the attack, but the Union were able to free up salary cap space and get allocation money for him.  They have been linked to several players this summer but no moves have been made yet.  They needed to move salary and are still trying to rid themselves of Algerian goalkeeper Rais M’Bolhi, but several deals have fallen through so far.  Instead, they moved Williams who can find success within MLS on another side.  Houston will keep the international roster spot trough the 2016 season.

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