Fire Trade Accam, Lampson on Busy Draft Day

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Chicago Fire General Manager Nelson Rodriguez has been very busy for the last two SuperDrafts. This year’s was no exception, though the biggest trade did not even involve a draft pick.

The day began when they swapped first round picks with Minnesota United with the Fire getting the 5th pick in exchange for the 15th, $75,000 in general allocation money (GAM), $100,000 in targeted allocation money (TAM), and a player to be named later. The 5th pick turned out to be forward Jon Bakero of Wake Forest. The MAC Hermann Trophy winner in men’s soccer in 2017 is the son of former Spanish international and Barcelona player Jose Mari Bakero. Jon Bakero scored 37 goals and 26 assists for the Demon Deacons in four years.

“We feel Jon Bakero will fit in really well with our style and what we’re looking to do, and also give us some versatility,” Rodríguez said, “as we feel he can play underneath Nemanja (Nikolic) or alongside Nemanja. He’s mobile so he can slide outside and then come inside.”

Next, the Fire sent $85,000 in GAM to Real Salt Lake in exchange for the #10 pick which became midfielder Mo Adams from Syracuse. The former Orange player opted to forego his final two years of eligibility to enter the SuperDraft and was second-team All-ACC this past season.

“In Mo Adams, we think we got a bull terrier, we think we got a player who’s a fantastic recoverer of the ball, and both young men,” Rodríguez said of his two top-10 selections, “love and breathe football, which is very important to us.”

Later, the player to be named later from the trade with Minnesota turned out to be goalkeeper Matt Lampson. Lampson leaves the Fire after making 35 league appearances in two seasons and 24 starts last season with a 1.29 goals against average.

Then, the bombshell. The Fire then traded David Accam to the Philadelphia Union in exchange for $300,000 in GAM and $900,000 in TAM. Additionally, the Fire will get a percentage of any transfer fee should Accam move overseas (90% if in 2018, 65% if in the first half of 2019, 50% for the second half of 2019, 40% if during the first half of 2020, and 15% for the second half of 2020).

“In order to advance the building of our championship program and our game style a bold move was required,” said Fire general manager Nelson Rodríguez. “The assets we acquired give us the opportunity to accelerate toward that goal with greater flexibility. Philadelphia got a wonderful person and a player their fans will adore. We appreciate all of David’s efforts and wish him well.”

Accam scored 33 goals and 15 assists in three seasons for the Fire. Last season was his season high in both goals with 14 and assists with eight. However, Accam was also unhappy that he was not selected to be part of the MLS team for the All-Star Game last August at Soldier Field. The Fire picked up his 2018 option before season’s end, but have decided to trade him on Fridayinstead of potentially losing him for nothing after 2018.

“In order to advance the building of our championship program and our game style a bold move was required,” said Fire general manager Nelson Rodríguez. “The assets we acquired give us the opportunity to accelerate toward that goal with greater flexibility. Philadelphia got a wonderful person and a player their fans will adore. We appreciate all of David’s efforts and wish him well.”

Finally, the Fire selected midfielder Diego Campos from Clemson. Campos scored 23 goals and 22 assists in four years with the Tigers. He earned All-South honors in 2017 and was also first-team All-ACC.

Needless to say that Accam’s trade has produced the most shockwaves. The Fire netted $140,000 in GAM and $800,000 in TAM to spend on potential targets over the next two seasons. With the trade of Lampson, could that mean a bonafide #1? With Accam traded, could that mean more leeway in attempting to land Juan Quintero? Rodriguez and coach Veljko Paunovic are holding ther cards close to their vests knowing of the risks.

“There’s an element of risk to the trade. David is an accomplished and quality player who’s still in the prime of his career,” Rodriguez said. “But we set out to build a championship program. We believe in what’s required to fulfill that. We think the next evolution of what we’re trying to build required a bold move and these assets that we’ve acquired give us an opportunity to accelerate towards our goal. As I said, that production won’t be easy to replace, but we did what we felt was necessary.”

It’s going to be a very interesting next few months in Bridgeview just like it was last season when Dax McCarty and Bastian Schweinsteiger came.

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