WASHINGTON — Midfielder Emmanuel Boateng was training with the LA Galaxy Tuesday when his now former teammate Chris Pontius pulled him aside to show him a tweet.
“He played in D.C. for years and was the one who showed me a tweet saying D.C. is really in active talks with Galaxy. He said, ‘I think this might happen soon,’” Boateng told Pro Soccer USA. “I have been trying to get out of LA for a little bit to get a new challenge. They kept saying, ‘no,’ so I didn’t really expect it to happen this transfer window.”
A few hours later, Boateng was in the LA offices talking about the official trade to D.C. United. The Galaxy acquired $250,000 in Targeted Allocation Money from United in exchange for Boateng. The Galaxy’s biggest benefit from the trade was clearing space for Argentine playmaker Cristian Pavón.
“They needed to make room to sign a player that they really wanted and I have wanted to get out for a little bit too,” Boateng said. “I am really happy it is a place like D.C. because I think I can really try to help with the cause and get into the playoffs.”
While the 25-year-old gets a change of scenery after playing for the Galaxy for the past four seasons, United adds pace to its wing.
“We were in discussions with LA prior to the window opening,” United general manager Dave Kasper said. “We wanted more speed on the flank and more space to get in behind. There are a lot of things we liked about Ema.”
Boateng caught a redeye flight Tuesday night and was in training with United Wednesday morning.
“I didn’t even go to the hotel,” Boateng said. “I went straight to practice.”
United is currently at a turning point following the news of Wayne Rooney’s departure in January. Boateng is hoping he can add a spark on the wing after falling out of favor with Galaxy coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto.
When Boateng first joined LA from Swedish side Helsingborgs IF in 2016, he played a role in 27 games for Bruce Arena. In 2017 he played 34 games for Curt Onalfo, but the coaching carousel in LA continued and the winger dropped down the depth chart.
“The coach that had me at LA, Bruce, left after a year and since then it has been different coaches,” Boateng said. “When I found out Ben was really interested in having me here as part of the team, that is what you want as a player and when you thrive the most because everyone is putting in the effort to make sure you succeed.”
Boateng barely had time to get settle before facing his former team. United host the LA Galaxy Sunday, Aug. 11 at 7:30 p.m. ET.
“It is strange. I have never been in this situation,” Boateng said. “My approach is, whatever shirt that I am wearing, that is the team I play for.”
He is currently staying in a hotel while United’s team administrators find him a more permanent place to live. Ironically, Boateng’s current hotel is the same as the team hotel for the Galaxy.
“I am still in a group chat with them. Actually, one of the group chats they removed me from, but there are three or four other group chats that I am in,” Boateng said. “We still banter.”
Jokingly he continued: “I might just jump into their team meeting, hop in the back and record everything. Maybe broadcast it on Instagram Live.”