Danny Cruz arrived late – August 16, to be exact – in exchange for Lionard Pajoy going to D.C. United.
But the short stint with the Philadelphia Union was long enough to figure out where he wants to be.
“I loved my time here with the Union,” Cruz told philadelphiaunion.com. “I wasn’t here too long, but it’s been special. The organization, my teammates, the coaches and the fans have been incredible. I heard about the passion here in this town and until you experience it, you don’t really know. This is where I want to be and I hope to be here in this jersey for a long time.
“I’ve enjoyed every aspect of it. I think we have a young club which is getting better and better. We had some tough results and some games where I thought we deserved points and didn’t get them for one reason or another. It will be exciting to see this group grow and improve.”
Watch: 2012 Union season in review
Cruz wound up playing in 12 games for the Union with one goal and one assist. His playing time was cut a bit short with an ankle injury sustained late in the season.
The Union are fully aware of what the midfielder can do on the pitch. They like his game. Cruz likes being here.
It’s the perfect marriage.
“There’s nothing not to like,” said Cruz, who was drafted 41st overall in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft by the Houston Dynamo. “My teammates are great, the coaches work extremely hard to prepare us and we know where they’re coming from. The fans are the best as I said. I think the points will come as we keep improving and getting better.”
Philadelphia managed just 10 victories in a roller coaster-type of season which had its share of ups and downs.
There was a coaching change, numerous trades, roster movement and injuries to contend with on a daily basis.
“I’m sure the organization will take a long, hard look and make some moves,” Cruz said. “In terms of what they’re going to do, I don’t know. You’d have to ask them. One thing about being here – they’re committed to winning. You see it. I know they’re going to do all they can to put a winning product on the field. I hope to be part of it for a long time.”
For now, Cruz plans to get his body healthy, rest a little bit and start vigorously preparing for the 2013 season.
There is so much still to prove.
“We have players on this club with a lot of pride,” Cruz said. “I’ve said it before a lot – we have a ton of talent on this club. We have guys with international experience. We have the talent. We need to bring it all together. I think as this group grows and matures, it’s going to be a lot of fun to watch. I, personally, can’t wait for next season.”
Contact Union writer Andy Jasner at firstname.lastname@example.org