Report: Union ink defender Soumare
According to Fox Soccer
on Monday, the Union have bolstered their defense with size and experience by acquiring 6-foot-4, 26-year-old central defender and former MLS Defender of the Year finalist Bakary Soumare.
Union representatives denied comment.
Drafted out of the University of Virginia in 2007, Soumare played for the Chicago Fire in 2008-09 and earned a finalist nod for MLS Defender of the Year before being sold to former French First Division club Boulogne. The French side loaned the Mali-national to Karlsruher SC of the German Division.
Per the report, the Union made a trade deal with the Vancouver Whitecaps to gain the top spot in the MLS Allocation Order. The terms are still unknown.
The move for athleticism and size on the back line is a necessary one for the Union, who began to see issues with defensive depth after the team moved captain Danny Califf to Chivas USA for midfielder Michael Lahoud. As the injury bug struck players like rookie Ray Gaddis, Gabe Farfan and Sheanon Williams, the team was forced to use converted midfielder Amobi Okugo as a center back.
Okugo exceeded expectations in a role that wasn’t natural but not completely foreign to the defensive-minded player. By acquiring Soumare, Okugo will likely move back into the midfield and could easily see an increase in playing time under the favorable eye of Union coach John Hackworth, who was impressed by the young player’s performance.
Soumare, not expected to be in game shape during the European off-season, will not be available to play until June 27, when the summer transfer window opens.
The Union play the Harrisburg City Islanders on Tuesday at PPL Park in U.S. Open Cup action (see story)
and travel to face the Houston Dynamo on Saturday in MLS play.E-mail Ryan Bright at RyanBright13@gmail.com.