Sheanon Williams was deemed a disposable piece for the Philadelphia Union halfway through the season this year, thanks to the emergence of Ray Gaddis as the preferred starting right back for Coach Jim Curtin. Going through the stats as explained below will seem to say this was a bit of a hard pill to swallow since the season has come to a close, but hey we got Tranquillo Barnetta with the allocation money!
Other than being the longest-tenured member of the Union roster until his departure, Sheanon Williams was known around these parts for two things that his new club, the Houston Dynamo, are figuring out now.
He's as dependable as anyone else in MLS at right back, and BOOM. Ignoring the debate on whether or not long throw-ins are a useful tool, many MLS clubs like to use them in the attacking third - and realistically more options never hurt a manager on the pitch. In his 15 appearances for the U this year, Sheanon posted more of his status quo. Modest attacking numbers with Williams setting up two goals for both clubs this season, and a respectable two shots on target in nine attempts. His defensive status quo is really impressive however, which only twists the knife a bit more given the Union need to find a quality replacement at RB. Williams committed 16 fouls with the Union which saw him pick up two yellow cards. Williams also negated a lot of the fouls he committed by managing to draw 15 fouls. That doesn't seem like a big deal, but if a defensive player can draw that many fouls, that leads to a lot of chances for his team. Sheanon actually ended up drawing more fouls than he committed in league play given that in Houston he committed six and drew eight. Williams also posted the lowest GAA for anyone on the Union which would be awesome if he still played here.
Let's take a look at if the Union should have kept Sheanon around.
Williams is so consistent in a position that the Union are not. Ray Gaddis went from a guy pushing for starting minutes to someone who looked a bit hesitant to start. Andrew Wenger, default backup for any position that has the word "right" involved in it's title is assuredly clutching to his ACC defensive player of the year award in agony. He's just not that player anymore. Long throw-ins aside, Sheanon was a stable force in a very unstable back four.
TRANQUILLO. Heir apparent to the "biggest signing in Union history" tag before Earnie Stewart rained on his parade, Barnetta provides Champions League and national team experience to a MLS club that desperately needed some. On top of that Barnetta played pretty well for having to adapt to MLS after playing the last few years at Schalke. Obviously future considerations is one of those vague buzzwords used in trades to ensure a better return on investment, but with some quality players becoming available from other teams in MLS and a definite logjam for the U at midfield, the Barnetta move might be a way for Earnie Stewart to clear up some space for a much needed right or center back.