Allocation Order Leaves The Fire Waiting In Line

For those wondering why the Fire weren't involved in talks to acquire either Charlies Davies or Kenny Cooper, here's a look at the current MLS allocation order.  The current "roster rules" require that National Team players returning to or enteriing MLS be subjected to the allocation process. 

"The allocation ranking is the mechanism used to determine which MLS club has first priority to acquire a U.S. National Team player who signs with MLS after playing abroad, or a former MLS player who returns to the League after having gone to a club abroad for a transfer fee."

The allocation process came into play when the Fire acquired the rights to Brian McBride in 2008.  Since Toronto FC held the top allocation spot at that point in time a trade was required to grant McBride's wish to play in Chicago.  Chad Barrett and a first round pick were shipped north of the border for the US International. 

Current Allocation Order (Davies is currently "on trial")

1. DC United (Charlie Davies)

2. Chivas USA

3. Philadelphia Union

4. New England Revolution

5. Houston Dynamo

6. Toronto FC

7. Chicago Fire

8. Sporting Kansas City

9. Seattle Sounders FC

10. Columbus Crew

11. New York Red Bulls

12. Real Salt Lake

13. San Jose Earthquakes

14. Los Angeles Galaxy

15. FC Dallas

16. Colorado Rapids

17. Vancouver Whitecaps (Jay DeMerit)

18. Portland Timbers (Kenny Cooper)

Although DC United's move to get Davies on the squad is techincally a loan deal the allocation rules still applied since he is a National Team player.  Cooper has 10 caps which also made him allocation eligible but regardless of his USMNT status FC Dallas received compensation for him when he was sold to 1860 Munich in 2009.  The compensation received essentially forfeited Dallas' rights to Cooper upon his eventual MLS return. 

The Fire's case for a player like Chris Rolfe, should he return to MLS is slightly different since Rolfe left on a free transfer.  The Fire/MLS received no compensation when the forward departed for Denmark and it's unlikely the team received any super secret allocation money from the league to compensate for his loss since the player did not transfer out of the league "for value" as stated in MLS' roster rules.  If Rolfe was not a USMNT pool player the Fire would have been able to retain his rights within MLS according to league rules and the CBA.  Since he is indeed a capped US player, Rolfe would likely be subjected to the allocation entry process. 

Unless of course MLS makes up more allocation rules as they go along allowing Rolfe to return to Chicago without the necessity of a trade.  Does a player's status as a US international supercede the fact that he departed the club without the team receiving compensation therefore retaining his rights?  According to what's currently in black and with all things related to MLS rules, it's confusing. 


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  • I know they are trying to keep the teams with more even talent, but it seems to be the returning national team players should only apply to people who have a cap in the last year or over 20 caps. Because lets just say that Pause went to mexico for a year or something and came back he would have to go through the process because of his 2 caps? Seems silly.

  • In reply to lijien:

    A lot of MLS financial rules are silly.

  • In reply to lijien:

    Rolfe is back from injury, he played in a reserve game and had an assist and a goal.

  • In reply to lijien:

    The Fire make less moves and garner less attention than any other team in the league. I fully expect them to be the worst team in MLS this season. they have the remnants of a poor team, albeit with a few good players, and have done nothing of note in either the transfer market or the draft. Chivas have a chance to be worse, and perhaps the Revs or Caps but if Vegas laid odds I would wager on the Fire having the second pick in next years draft after Montreal.

  • Any recent word on Rolfe? Is he back from injury?

  • In reply to Modibo:

    Rolfe is back on the pitch for Aalborg. He came on as a second half sub in their last match.

  • In reply to Modibo:

    We can give all the Credit for the lack of attention the Chicago - Fire is getting or generating to its New President Julian Posada.
    Posada rhymes with "Nada" which we know means nothing.
    So far the Chicago-Fire has nothing to show for itself in the eyes of its fans under his lac luster performance so far.
    This is all we have gotten so far for all the hype surrounding his hiring as president. It is time to do something positive Mr Posada
    for The Chicago-Fire and its Fans.
    We expect and demand more than "Nada" (nothing

  • In reply to Modibo:

    As expected, Deris Umanzor is gone.......

  • In reply to cesba:

    I still remember the game where he suited up. I will always have that fond memory of him. Best wishes to Deris.

  • In reply to cesba:

    This is such a bad rule. Suppose Boca and Beasly wanted to return to the Fire, but only the Fire. The league would bend over backwards to get these players but they would also force the Fire to trade for them. I still think it was dumb that Chicago had to trade Toronto (of all teams) for McBride, when the team he wanted to play for was Chicago. If the Fire refused to pay, would the league have just sat and watched him return to England.

  • In reply to fire1020:

    MLS would have gone all Godfather....
    Toronto would have gotten an offer they couldn't refuse.

  • In reply to fire1020:

    Or you could have watched Chad Barrett continue to miss wide open shots to give Fire fans a heart attack. I will make it trade again due to the fact that McBride was a huge upgrade over Barrett. Toronto FC got Barrett and the Fire's 1st round pick which they selected goalkeeper Stefan Frei from California.

  • In reply to longoria3:

    They scored the same amount of goals and Barrett was traded for value to LA. McBride was a romantic move and he had little left when he came to the Fire. I 'm glad they got him but I agree with Colton that they overpaid, under the circumstances. For all trader Mo's moves, this was the only time Toronto didn't get totally fleeced.

  • In reply to fire1020:

    New All-In podcast with Bratislav Ristic......

  • In reply to fire1020:

    yeah, i think its a bad rule because the same teams get not only the first pick in the super draft, first pick in the supplemental draft, but also first shot at national team players - how much of a boost does the last place team deserve? and the teams that finish middle of the pack really get very little advantage of the drafts and virtually no shot at national team players

    IMO they should have to choose - either first pick in the drafts or first choice of national team player.

  • In reply to CountChocula:

    I don't particularly like the rule either, but I imagine it's to keep salaries in teams can't outbid each other. So in that sense, if it helps keeps the league financially viable, I'm for it.

  • In reply to CountChocula:

    i can't wait for the day when the league gets rid of these allocation and discovery rules(keep the salary cap though). this will make all front offices(including owners) accountable for making their teams competitive.

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