COLUMBUS, Ohio – The dismantling of the Columbus Crew’s 2008 championship team continued Monday, when midfielder Brian Carroll was traded to the Philadelphia Union for a conditional pick in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft and allocation money.
Carroll spent the past three seasons as the defensive midfielder and helped the Crew win the 2008 and ’09 Supporters’ Shields – running his personal streak to four after snagging a pair with D.C. United – as well as MLS Cup in ‘08.
“I wanted to continue playing with some of the teammates I had built relationships over the past couple of years and enjoyed playing with,” Carroll said of his time in Columbus. “That was difficult, and the fact that my wife enjoyed her job, enjoyed teaching tennis here and we just had our first son here – there’s a lot of memories that have taken place over the course of three years.”
The wheels for the trade began churning when the Crew opted to leave Carroll, 29, unprotected for Wednesday’s Expansion Draft. Columbus hoped that Carroll would not be chosen, but learned that he would be.
“We felt that if that was the case, that an expansion team was going to get him, we better get something rather than nothing,” Crew coach Robert Warzycha said.
He said the Crew’s pick from the Union could be from the fifth through 12th spots. That’s key because Columbus previously had one pick in each of the first and third rounds. More important, though, is the allocation money, as the Crew look to reconfigure their squad for next season.
Last week, they decided not to pick up the options for high-paid veterans Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Gino Padula and Frankie Hejduk, along with those of Duncan Oughton, Jason Garey and Leandre Griffit (only Griffit was not part of the championship team).
Carroll scored one goal in 27 starts this season and was thought to be a candidate to replace Hejduk as captain.
“He’s been here for three years and played a big part on this team,” Warzycha said. “He was an excellent professional. He brings his ‘A’ game to every practice and every single game.”
Despite being a bit sad to be leaving Columbus, Carroll is excited to be returning closer to his native Virginia and seeing some familiar faces on the Union.
Former Columbus teammates Alejandro Moreno and Stefani Miglioranzi – both left unprotected by Philly – played for the expansion Union and manager Peter Nowak was his coach at D.C. United when they won an MLS Cup together in 2004.
“I like Peter’s coaching style and learned a lot under him when I first entered the league [in 2003], and hopefully we can build on that relationship and I can continue to improve,” Carroll said. “I’ll miss my friends and fans in Columbus. I had a great time here, but I guess it’s time to move on.”
Warzycha said the most likely choice to replace Carroll is Danny O'Rourke, who was on the Crew’s protected list.