Strong Union debut for Cruz against old club

Posted: August 21, 2012

WASHINGTON - He has been with the Union for only about 48 hours, but when speaking, he already refers to his new team as "we," "us" and "ours."

Danny Cruz, the latest Union signing in the deal that sent Lionard Pajoy to D.C. United, made an emotional return to RFK Stadium to start Sunday night's match for his new club - against his former. He played 57 minutes in his debut for the Union, before succumbing to leg cramps.

"I think emotions were running high from the beginning," Cruz said. "I was excited to be back here playing regardless of the side I was on, and I am more proud to be here now and hopefully be a part of something special in the coming years."

Cruz, 22, showed tremendous work rate in his outside attacking role and bucked the notion that short attackers can't hang. Listed at just 5-8, 170 pounds, Cruz muscled his way past defenders and used elusive speed to create space, proving - at least in this match - to be the missing link in the Union's 4-3-3 formation.

To be honest, it was a refreshing take from the norm. 

"Danny played well," said Union interim coach John Hackworth. "For him, it was a emotional game obviously, but he did what he needed to do ... it was planned to see if we could get 60 minutes out of him; it's what we wanted."


Contact Kerith Gabriel at gabrielk@phillynews.com. Follow him on Twitter @sprtswtr.

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