Since arriving at D.C. United via a trade with the Philadelphia Union, Lionard Pajoy has started all 10 games that the team has played. That's a stat that not even Chris Pontius can claim. In his time with United, Pajoy has scored two goals and assisted on another. That's a decent strike rate for the Columbian forward, especially when you consider that this team is built around the attacking strength of the midfield. The team has been winning, and Pajoy has been a part of it, even if he's not exactly lighting the league on fire.
And yet Pajoy is still hated by a large percentage of the D.C. fan base. At the very least, he's the most polarizing player on the current roster. Its as if we needed someone new to argue about in the wake of Branko Boskovic's return to form and subsequent contract extension. Pajoy stepped up to fill that need for us.
The differing opinions on Pajoy are understandable. Some see a hard-working forward who can hold the ball up, be physical, run for 90 minutes, challenge defenders into turnovers, and has a powerful shot. Others see a castoff who often makes the wrong decision, loses possession, and is maddeningly hesitant about shooting the ball when he has an opportunity. It certainly doesn't help that Pajoy's continued prominence in our starting lineup is keeping Hamdi Salihi off the field.
On our latest episode of Filibuster, I raised a question that I think needs further exploration. Pajoy was acquired by United in a trade for Danny Cruz, a tenacious and popular young midfielder with plenty of potential. So how much of our hatred of Pajoy is due to the fact that actually gave up something valuable to get him. As opposed to giving up something less useful - you know, like a future supplemental draft pick, or Kurt Morsink.
Because we don't have the same hatred for Mike Chabala or Long Tan, both of whom were acquired this year for future supplemental draft picks. When he was getting playing time, Tan destroyed just as many chances as Pajoy. Chabala was in my opinion the worst player on the field in a reserve match I attended last month, and that includes trialists and Academy players. But no one hates Chabala or Tan. Only Pajoy.
So maybe we hate Pajoy because he seems to get more playing time than he deserves and isn't as productive as we'd like him to be. Or maybe we just hate him because we really liked Cruz, and we hate that we had to give up Cruz to get him. What do you think?