Dallas Soccer DFW

Nunez asks FC Dallas for trade

Published 7/28/2007 10:22:22 AM by staff from mlsnet.com

Disgruntled FC Dallas midfielder Ramon Nunez, unhappy over a lack of playing time, has asked for a trade from the club, head coach Steve Morrow said on Thursday.  Nunez, a Dallas native who is in his fourth season with FCD after being the Hoops' sixth overall pick in the 2004 MLS SuperDraft, had started 10 of the first 11 matches of 2007 at the attacking midfield spot and had a pair of goals in a 3-1 win at Colorado. But other than that two-goal game, his performance was lacking and Morrow explored other options in the midfield.  For Tuesday's 1-1 draw with CD Guadalajara in the opening match of SuperLiga 2007, Nunez had been left off the 18-man game roster and afterwards told the media he was looking to leave.

"Ramon came and asked me for a trade," Morrow said. "If he isn't prepared to do what I expect from everyone else on the team and that is work hard to get his place back in his lineup, which everyone here knows that they have to do, and thinks his career is best somewhere else, that's fine with me."

Nunez entered the 2007 season not just with a new head coach in Morrow, but also with a chance for a new beginning after last season ended on a down note.

In the 18-man roster for the second leg of the 2006 Western Conference Semifinal Series against Colorado last fall at Pizza Hut Park, then-head coach Colin Clarke opted not to use the young midfielder. Toward the end of the match, Nunez threw a practice jersey on the ground and headed toward the locker room to show his obvious displeasure.

When Morrow came in, he made a point to say that any issues that persisted under Clarke would be forgotten and every one of his players would have a clean slate, including Nunez. The FCD boss remains adamant that there isn't any bad blood between him and his young midfielder.

"Ramon and I don't have any issues," Morrow said. "He doesn't seem to be prepared to want to stay here and fight for his spot. He played in the first 12 games and I gave him a lot of responsibility and a chance to win a spot on the team. But when he got left out (of games), he didn't show that he was prepared enough to work hard and have the right attitude to get back into the team again. So, that's fine with me. We don't have any issues. He feels at this moment that he needs to leave Dallas and be somewhere else."

His last action for FCD came in a 2-1 win against Chivas USA on July 4 in Frisco. Nunez entered the match in the 12th minute after Marcelo Saragosa was injured and scored his third goal of the year in the 41st minute, his first goal since he netted two against the Rapids on April 22.

Nunez's post-goal celebration consisted of him putting his index finger in front of his mouth as a gesture designed to silence his critics. But the 21-year-old midfielder has not been on the field since and, after a training session on Monday, got into a scuffle with teammate Bobby Rhine.  Morrow is optimistic that FCD can put together a trade for Nunez that will be beneficial for both parties involved.

"In my eyes, I will do what's best for FC Dallas," he said. "He's a valuable player and if he wants to be traded, I've got to do the right thing not only by Ramon, but by the team as well. There are a couple of possibilities out there at the moment that I'm looking at. I want to make sure that my main concern is what is best for the team."

The FCD boss added that he would prefer to get any potential deal consummated sooner rather than later.  "I think in these situations when the player feels like that, it's best to do it as quickly as possible," Morrow said. "I would like to get something organized soon, both for the team in general and for Ramon as well."

But Morrow was quick to add that the entire situation has not become a distraction for the Hoops, neither on the training field nor in the locker room.  "I've addressed it with Ramon and with the team," Morrow said. "He knows that in the meantime, I expect him to be professional and he needs to do that to look after himself. If he wants to go to somewhere else, he needs to be professional and take care of himself. It hasn't affected the team in any way at the moment. We've addressed it and we all want the situation resolved."

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