Baltimore Blast coach Kenny Cooper said yesterday that he has had conversations with "a number of teams" about a possible one-for-one trade that could take place in the next few days.
Cooper refused to mention names or teams before he left with the team for tonight's 8:35 game against the Dallas Sidekicks at Reunion Arena.
But it is no secret he has been unhappy with the play of veterans Richard Chinapoo and Mike Stankovic in the past couple of weeks.
Chinapoo and Stankovic were moved from defenders to midfielders by Cooper after making mistakes that cost the team goals in a 5-4 loss to the San Diego Sockers on Dec. 22 at the Baltimore Arena.
Cooper said Chinapoo was involved in a "bad line change" that resulted in a goal by Paul Wright for a 5-2 lead, and Stankovic "took a bad penalty" that led to a power-play goal by Paul Dougherty.
Cooper pulled Stankovic out of the San Diego game at halftime and told him to "take a shower."
When Stankovic showed up for the next practice session, he and Cooper glared at each other.
"We were like a gladiator and a matador," said Cooper. "But then I gave him a hug for Christmas."
There is an outside chance that forward Dale Mitchell (a disappointing third on the team in scoring with 17 goals and 10 assists) could be traded.
Blast midfielder Tim Wittman said last night that Cooper scoffed at the thought of trading Mitchell and Mark Mettrick for Kia and Neil Megson.
Any trade involving Mitchell seems highly unlikely unless another team would offer the likes of Dallas forward Tatu or St. Louis Storm midfielder Preki for Mitchell, who recently moved into fourth place on the all-time Major Soccer League scoring list.
Dallas (8-13) is in last place in the MSL Western Division, even though Tatu (33 goals, 31 assists) leads the league in scoring, and the Sidekicks might be more inclined to make a trade than St. Louis (13-10), which is one game out of first in the West.
But Dallas coach Billy Phillips said last night: "Tatu is not available. He means more to the team and the community than just the number of goals he scores. The fans love him here."