The Blast released midfielder Waad Hirmez Saturday, seemingly opening itself to second-guessing, criticism and a possible grievance.
Hirmez, who attended the Blast's game against San Diego Saturday night, was smiling, but what he said was not happy talk.
"It's a good strategy, releasing an eight-year veteran to sign someone with no experience," Hirmez said, in reference to the Blast's signing of Maryland Bays forward Jean Harbor. "To be a veteran player and treated like this, shows no class."
Hirmez said he has no beef with owner Ed Hale, who did not know of the decision to release Hirmez until he arrived at the Arena Saturday, or Blast vice president Drew Forrester, but his feelings toward Blast coach Kenny Cooper were different.
"Kenny said I caused problems with the players," Hirmez said. "But the problem was between myself and Kenny. When I came here, he told me to be myself and be vocal, so I was. Then he didn't like that, and told me to be quiet. So I was -- and I got released."
Hale, who said he has great "hopes and expectations" that Harbor will help the Blast, said he is "very sorry it didn't work out" with Hirmez. "But I have to leave that up to Kenny. I've only seen two games and in one of them, Waad scored the winning goal."
But Cooper said it "was impossible to play with Hirmez" on the team. He said he wants a hard working team that is willing to run, "and we have a spot on the carpet at practice where Waad refused to move from."
But the biggest problem in Cooper's eyes was Hirmez's criticism of his teammates.
"He says I was the problem, that I wasn't performing, but my goal production was on the same schedule as it was in San Diego," said Hirmez. "I had three goals, three assists in five games. Hey we're a 1-4 team, what does he expect?
"Cris Vaccaro hasn't been performing the way he has in other years. Billy Ronson has one goal. If I had one goal, I'd be afraid to go out in public. Rusty Troy, the center forward, has two goals. There are a lot of Kenny's players who are not performing."
While other teams, like San Diego and even Cleveland last season, have thrived on it, the Blast has never liked controversy. Hirmez feels otherwise.
"Controversy builds character," Hirmez said. "Only the weak remain weak when there is controversy . . . I was only trying to help. But Kenny didn't see it that way. He treats his players like they're in high school."
Hirmez said he has enjoyed Baltimore and the fans and he will enjoy coming back and playing here.
"Kenny says I was the problem," said Hirmez. "I hope I was and it all goes well for them. But if I wasn't, I'm going to come back and haunt him."
Adding to the problem is the condition of Hirmez's right knee. The former All-Star injured his knee during last week's game in San Diego. He did not practice last week, but X-rays early in the week and an MRI exam Friday all came back negative, indicating there is no ligament or structural damage.
A team can not release a player if he is injured and unable to play.
But Hirmez said his knee continues to hurt, that he has asked for copies of his X-rays and MRI exam, that he is talking to the players' union about a possible grievance.
Cooper seethed over the prospect of a grievance.
"Waady's Waady," said Cooper. "He's got a motorboat mouth and a rowboat brain. But as regards being injured, it's about time owners and coaches start filing grievances against players. Everything that happens, boom, it's a grievance."