If there’s an MLS address where Danny Cruz can develop and reach his top potential, the young man has found it at PPL Park.
Coach John Hackworth (technically still the “interim” coach – so all of this assumes he keeps the spot, which seems increasingly likely) has something special brewing.
Depending on how you count a couple of players, somewhere around nine Philadelphia starters are 24 or younger. Cruz gives the Union one more.
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The Union will not see the post-season in 2012. So it’s smart to use this time to re-set, take a fresh look at younger players and keep both eyes on the future. Adding Cruz, 22, can only abet the cause.
Michael Farfan is developing as a creative midfielder. Freddy Adu can fill that role, too. U.S. under-23 talent Amobi Okugo is playing center back for the time being, but he remains the future at holding midfielder around PPL Park. So Cruz, a bundle of hustle and bustle in the wide areas, adds some balance to the midfield.
And here’s something else that makes Thursday’s move intriguing from Philly’s side: Hackworth knows exactly what he’s getting in the energetic right-sided midfielder. Hackworth had Cruz under his care in a previous post with the Under-17 national team.
Cruz is guaranteed at $106,000 this year, almost half of Lionard Pajoy’s guaranteed amount ($195,000).
Pajoy, by the way, is 31 – practically a grandpa on the young side in Chester.