Despite having no picks in the early rounds, the Philadelphia Union still made some noise during the 2018 Major League Soccer SuperDraft by acquiring Ghanaian winger David Accam from the Chicago Fire in exchange for $1.2 million in General Allocation Money (GAM) and Targeted Allocation Money (TAM).
Union fans have been starving for some real action by the front office, and today they finally got fed. Accam is a quality winger who scored 14 goals and provided 8 assists for Chicago in 2017. His performance helped the Fire reach the playoffs after scraping the bottom of the table the previous couple of seasons. He will be an upgrade over Chris Pontius on the wing. If the Union succeed in finding a central attacking midfielder, we should see more goals this year with speedy Fafa Picault on the wing and C.J. Sapong on top.
The first question I had when I heard this news was, “Why would Chicago let him go?” As it turns out, Accam was unhappy in Chicago and had a sour relationship with head coach (and former Union player) Veljko Paunovic. While $1.2 million sounds like a lot of money, it was all TAM and GAM, which means the Union didn’t need to break out owner Jay Sugarman’s wallet. Allocation Money are funds given to clubs by MLS which they can use to buy down a player’s salary cap hit.
Accam will be a Designated Player for the Union. He’s making about $800,000 per year, which will be a good use for the $750,000 they cleared off the payroll when they released Maurice Edu. Since he received his green card in 2015, Accam will not take up an international player slot.
Of course, the Union love the 4-2-3-1 formation and this does not satisfy the need for a playmaking number 10. Fortunately, in his news conference to discuss the trade, head coach Jim Curtin said they are “absolutely” actively looking for one. Having Accam will make the Union more attractive to any potential CAMs out there.
If they are unsuccessful finding that number 10, I wouldn’t mind seeing a 4-3-3 with Haris Medujanin, Alejandro Bedoya, and Derrick Jones in the midfield, and Picault, Sapong, and Accam up top. But that’s probably wishful thinking.
Union fans may remember this goal from 2016 when Accam scored in the second minute. The Union would end up getting a hat trick from Roland Alberg which powered them ot a 4-3 win.
David Accam scores in the second minute