With the recent trade of Philadelphia Union forward Lionard Pajoy for D.C. United midfielder Danny Cruz, a new level of intrigue was added to the Philadelphia vs. Washington match scheduled for Sunday at 5:00 PM ET on the NBC Sports Network.
Cruz said that his trade was unexpected, but noted that he is excited to join the Philadelphia club. At 22, Cruz is a younger midfielder who was brought to D.C. from the Houston Dynamo last year. He started the United season as a starter in the midfield, but saw his playing time diminish significantly until his recent trade.
Pajoy is expected to start right away for D.C., as the 31-year-old Colombian has five goals and two assists over 20 appearances during his first MLS season. He should be expected to fill in for currently injured Maicon Santos and, according to United Coach Ben Olsen, he "fits pretty high" on United’s depth chart.
Philadelphia has struggled on the road this season, going just 2-7-1 outside of PPL Park and are, as a result, not currently in the MLS Playoffs discussion. A win, or even points, against D.C. in RFK stadium could signal the beginning of a push for contention over their final 12 games of the season. The Union have met the United twice this season, once on June 5, where the Union won a 1-0 contest in a U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal game, and again on June 16 in PPL Park, where the United were victorious, 1-0.
On their June 16 home defeat against the United, Union Coach John Hackworth said that his club "want[s] to go and make sure we give them a taste of their own medicine" in Washington. They will get that opportunity Sunday, at 5:00 PM Eastern.