Greg Cochrane, a second-year left back, is about to be without a team.
Cochrane, an alumnus of Council Rock South, spent the first two years of his collegiate career at Virginia Tech before transferring to Louisville. Though he was a starter since his sophomore year in Blacksburg, Cochrane was not exactly a highly coveted player coming into the 2013 MLS SuperDraft. A former Reading United player, many thought he would be a good match for the Philadelphia Union, who were in need of a left back. In one of his most infamous quotes, then-Manager John Hackworth declared the fans' clamoring for a left back "laughable," opting instead to pick Don Anding and Stephen Okai, neither of whom are still in the league. Cochrane earned Mr. Irrelevant honors, as the LA Galaxy landed him with the final pick of the second round.
Thanks to an injury to Todd Dunivant early in the season, Cochrane saw some time at left back in his first season with the Galaxy. His willingness to get forward was easily Cochrane's best attribute, but he was also a solid defender for a rookie.
After making 12 league appearances for the Galaxy, he was traded to Chicago ahead of the 2014 season. He also made 12 appearances in Chicago, again due to an injury to the starting left back.
Despite Cochrane providing good value for his minimum salary contract, Chicago seemingly wants to go in a different direction. Gonzalo Segares, the Fire's starting left back, is also reportedly on the way out, indicating that Chicago has already found their new left back.
At the moment, Fabinho is the Union's only true left back. The Brazilian makes twice as much as Cochrane, and occupies an international spot. With Ray Gaddis firmly entrenched as the Union's starting left back, it's hard to see Fabinho back in Philadlephia next season.
For on the field reasons, Greg Cochrane is a perfect signing. He'll serve as a good, cheap back-up to Gaddis, or whoever is starting on the left side next season. His attacking style of play fits in with what the Union has demanded from their full backs in the past.
Off the field, signing Cochrane makes sense in two ways. His addition would continue the theme of the Union bringing Philadelphia-area guys home (Chris Albright, Jeff Parke, Andrew Wenger, Jim Curtin). Secondly, it would make amends for the Hackworth Era, at least in microcosm. Greg Cochrane is effectively the player that Hackworth passed on in 2013. And while Cochrane's name was never mentioned in the whole debacle, this incident was the beginning of a year-and-a-half-long call for Hackworth's removal.
Wow, that's a lot of fuss about a back-up left back! What do you think? Would Greg Cochrane be a solid reserve left back? Was passing on him in 2013 the root of all the Union's problems? Will his signing fix everything? Let me know in the comments!