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Union Nearly Got Califf, Frei In Three Team Soumare Deal

Philadelphia would have brought back the team's two-time captain if the trade wasn't nixed, along with Toronto's former starting goalkeeper. A former left back also nearly returned in a separate deal.


Danny Califf was almost a Philadelphia Union player again, but his return to his former team was stopped before it was officially completed.

Toronto FC was part of a three-way deal including the Union and the Chicago Fire that would have sent both Califf and Stefan Frei to Philadelphia and Bakary Soumare to the Windy City. Frei, Toronto's former starting goalkeeper, would have competed with current Union starter Zac MacMath for the no.1 role in net.

The deal would have given Toronto at least the $75,000 in allocation money the Union received from Chicago as part of the trade that eventually was made official (that official package was a second rounder and the aforementioned allocation money in exchange for Soumare).

Instead of completing the three team negotiation, the Union killed off the deal, leaving Toronto fuming, a source with knowledge of the situation said to the Brotherly Game. Union CEO and managing partner Nick Sakiewicz was the party responsible for the cancellation of a deal that was all, but signed, sealed and delivered to Major League Soccer's head quarters, per multiple sources.

Califf has been in and out of talks with the Union for over a year now. After the firing of former head coach Peter Nowak, Philadelphia reached out to Califf and attempted to work out a way for him to return to the Union despite having traded him previously in 2012, according to a source who talked with the Brotherly Game last year.

Team sources also said that a trade for Jordan Harvey was vetoed by Sakiewicz. The terms of a potential trade with the Vancouver Whitecaps for Harvey were not disclosed.

The high ranking Union executive has stated that that he doesn't have authority over player deals, but several team sources have contradicted Sakiewicz's public statements, saying that he had the last say on the Califf and Harvey deals.

Head coach John Hackworth said today, in his weekly press conference, that the Union were looking to acquire two to three new players during the summer transfer window.

"We're certainly looking at" finding someone to come in and start in the back," Hackworth said. "We're two or three spots away from... the most complete roster, but it's not that easy. We're continuing to work, very hard and we have people who are scouting full time for us."

The Union have been looking around the league, Hackworth said, for players to add to the squad and have some ability in terms of money to make it happen.

"We look within league," Hackworth said of the coaching staff's transfer philosophy. "We have to make the right move for this team... "We're better off than we were a couple of weeks ago... but now we have a bit of room on roster spots and cap space."