United trades Perkins to Portland, acquires Cronin

By Steven Goff
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, December 18, 2010

Troy Perkins's second stint with D.C. United lasted only one season.

The veteran goalkeeper was traded Friday to the expansion Portland Timbers for goalkeeper Steve Cronin and allocation money, the MLS clubs announced.

"I'm pretty shocked," Perkins, 29, said, "but all in all, it's a good move for me."

After returning to Washington last winter from Norwegian club Valerenga, Perkins started 22 of 30 regular season matches but didn't play at the same level that helped earn him MLS goalkeeper of the year honors in 2006. He and rookie Bill Hamid alternated starting assignments until Hamid's shoulder and knee injuries thrust Perkins back into the lineup for good.

Cronin, 27, was with United on loan from Portland at the end of the 2009 season, starting twice. He was the Timbers' starter for two years in the second division. Previously, he played for the San Jose Earthquakes and Los Angeles Galaxy.

"We are very familiar with Steve's ability in goal and we are pleased to welcome him back," General Manager Dave Kasper said. "He is a solid, young goalkeeper with several years of experience under his belt, and we fully expect him to compete for the starting goalkeeper job."

The move unloads another significant contract from United's payroll. Perkins was the second highest-paid keeper in the league last year at $200,000, behind Seattle's Kasey Keller. However, as part of the agreement with the Timbers, a portion of Perkins's salary will remain on United's books in 2011 only.

In order to reacquire Perkins's rights last winter, United had to trade starting midfielder Fred, a first-round pick and allocation money to Philadelphia. Perkins started the season poorly, lost the No. 1 slot to Hamid, regained it and then took over for good late in the year.

"Someone had to take the fall for our season," said Perkins, who was the U.S. national team's third-string keeper until five months remained before the 2010 World Cup. "I'm the goalkeeper and I'm going to be blamed for a lot - that comes with the position. I'm not saying I had a good year; I had a terrible year. They've seen me at my best and at my worst, but I just think [new coach Ben Olsen] wants to build his own team. I understand that."

Perkins said he was approached by front-office officials about restructuring his contract two weeks ago. He never heard back from them, he said, until he was informed of the trade on Friday.

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