Shea Salinas is in Vancouver. The Vancouver Whitecaps, one of the two new expansion teams in Major League Soccer (the other being the Portland Timbers) drafted Salinas with the eighth overall pick in the 2010 expansion draft, second selection of the fourth round. In the Philadelphia Union's inagural season Salinas played in 17 games, starting 7 of them and scored a goal.
The bright spots from Salinas mostly revolved around his speed and his versatility. He could play on the wing, the outside of the midfield or as a fullback. This provided the Union with cover at all three positions prior to him suffering a leg injury on July 10. His ability to play at multiple positions sparked a comparison in my mind to another soccer player, albeit one with vastly more technical skill and ability: James Milner. [Editor's note] This is not to say that Salinas is on the level of Milner but rather to compare how versatility aids a team (in this case fullback and midfield).
Aaron Campeau, of 7500 to Holte, was nice enough to write a short summary of Milner as a player to give Union fans a look at how his versatility aided Aston Villa under the tutiledge of former coach Martin O'Neil.
After the jump, a local Union reporter's take on what doomed Salinas as a Union player.
Dave Zeitlin of CSN Philly and more recently MLSsoccer.com, wrote a piece on how Salinas’ injuries doomed his status as a needed player on the Union:
For Union Manager Peter Nowak, it all came down to that fateful game against the Earthquakes when Salinas suffered a stress fracture that put him out of commission for two months.
“Unfortunately for Shea, he started seven games and played in a little bit more than half of our games,” Nowak said. “Of course we have to look at that. As much as we’d love to have him with us this season, that’s the unfortunate beauty of the expansion draft.”
When it came down to it for the protection list, Zeitlin says that Nowak implied “that it would be unfair to protect him over players that had done more to prove it on the field.” It appears that if naught for the leg injury that Salinas suffered in July that he would still have remained a member of the Union.