Union future excites Cruz

New signing thrilled to be at PPL Park

Getting traded is never easy.

In Danny Cruz’s case, it wasn’t that traumatic. Moving from D.C. United to the Philadelphia Union for Lionard Pajoy was a bit of a surprise to Cruz.

When Cruz arrived in Philadelphia, he was soon reunited with a number of familiar players. It made the transition a bit easier in advance of Sunday’s matchup at D.C. United.

“It’s obviously a life-changing move for anybody,” Cruz said at a press conference Friday afternoon at PPL Park. “I don’t think I could have gone to a better team. I’m fortunate enough to have played for coach (John) Hackworth when I was younger. I’m very comfortable with him, not only as a coach, but as a person.  I know other guys in the locker room.

“As far as transitioning, with anything, it’s going to take a little bit of time. By no means do I feel uncomfortable, I wouldn’t even say nervous. I’m excited to get going. I thoroughly enjoyed training today, meeting the guys and being part of the group. I’m just looking forward to finishing the year strong for the club.

The 22-year-old Cruz was the 41st overall pick in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft by the Houston Dynamo. He started all four of the club’s MLS Cup playoff matches and advanced to the MLS Cup Final before losing 1-0 to the LA Galaxy in '11.

Cruz was traded in January to D.C. United and started 12 games this season with one goal and three assists.

The next chapter of his career starts now with the Union, his third club in four seasons.

“As I’ve said to other people, there’s no ill will,” Cruz said of being traded. “I’m really excited about being here. And I walk in the locker room, I know Coach already. I know a lot of these guys. I played with Freddy (Adu). I played with Jack (McInerney) with the 23s and Amobi (Okugo) and most of those guys I’ve known for a while.

“I talked to (Michael) Lahoud for a little bit and he’s like, ‘It’s a little bit better when you’re coming to a team when you know people as opposed to just coming to a locker room and not knowing anybody.’ I’m very comfortable already. I think a little bit of nerves as far as just excitement. That’s where I’m at.”

Cruz is a steady midfielder and is thrilled about competing for the Union. His plan is to work hard and prove his mettle to the Union.

“Absolutely, anytime someone trades for you, you want to show them they made the right move,” Cruz said. “And I can promise you I’m going to do everything I can to make sure people see that it was. While there’s no ill will, no one goes to a team and says, ‘Hey I want to be traded.’ There’s certainly a chip on my shoulder. I’m going to do everything I can for this club while I’m here. That’s the past now. I’m completely OK with that and excited for the future.”