As expected, the Fire have re-signed midfielder Patrick Nyarko to a new deal. The parties had been working on a revised contract for several months and an tentative agreement had been reached to restructure the previous deal before Nyarko's injury occurred on October 18. The injury didn't change the team's intentions to bring Nyarko back although it won't be at the same salary that was reported by the MLS Player's Union in 2014.
According to MLSPU's latest release, Nyarko made $284,500.00 in guaranteed compensation last season. With a restructured contract in lieu of an option renewal, Nyarko will have additional years added to his deal in exchange for a reduced rate. He underwent surgery to repair a torn ACL in his right knee on November 6 and is expected to miss the next 6-8 months while undergoing rehabilitation.
Frank Yallop made it pretty clear that he wanted Nyarko back before the injury and the club honored that decision. “I’m glad we were able to work out a deal for Patrick to stay in Chicago,” said Yallop . “I’ve had the pleasure of working with him this past season and he’s a steady, positive influence in the locker room. It’s unfortunate that he suffered the knee injury at the conclusion of the season but we’re fully behind his recovery efforts and we look forward to seeing him return to the field.”
Yallop, Brian Bliss, and Head of Scouting Trevor James are still working the circuit in search of new players for next season. A center back, central midfielder, and striker are still the big items on the shopping list. Yallop's post season trip included discussions with players in England, Sweden, Germany, and South America but no deals have apparently been struck yet. The main players scouted are all currently playing in the top flight of each country although it may be January before anything is finalized.
In the meantime, the Fire will select 13th in tomorrow's Chivas USA dispersal draft. Don't expect any of the more expensive veteran players to be on the Fire's radar but some of the younger players on the squad may good a look for depth heading into camp.
Options picked up and declined
The Fire have made the projected roster house cleaning official by announcing that they have picked up the options for Alec Kann, Kyle Reynish, Greg Cochrane, Chris Ritter, Matt Watson, and Qunicy Amarikwa while declining options on eleven players.
Among the eleven whose options were not exercised are Marco Franco, Patrick Ianni, Hunter Jumper, Steven Kinney, Gonzalo Segares, Alex, Sanna Nyassi, Robert Earnshaw, Matt Fondy, and Florent Sinama-Pongolle. Loan deals for Benji Joya and Grant Ward have also expired. Joya won't be back but the Fire are still hopeful on a return for Ward.
“We’re currently working towards new deals for several players who are out of contract or whose options have been declined and look to finalize those in the coming weeks," said Yallop via press release.
The club also confirmed that Sean Johnson, Jeff Larentowicz, Lovel Palmer, Razvan Cocis, Nyarko, Harry Shipp, Juan Luis Anangono, and Mike Magee are all under contract for next season.
Now to use that roster space and cap room wisely......
MLS Draft-o-rama Schedule
Here's the schedule for MLS' busy offseason of drafting and player relocation. The league will open a half day trade window on December 8 followed by the Expansion Draft two days later.
November 19: Chivas USA Dispersal Draft
December 8: Half day trade window from 9am to 1pm EDT. Teams can trade and re-sign players during this period. Expect clubs to announce option decisions at this point.
December 10: Expansion Draft - Orlando City FC and New York City FC can pick up to 2 players from each club.
December 10: Trade window re-opens after the Expansion Draft and closes at 5pm EDT on December 11.
December 10: MLS Waiver Draft. Teams can choose from players released by their clubs.
December 12: MLS Re-Entry Draft Phase One. Teams can select players whose options were declined but must honor the current contract option.
December 12: Trade window re-opens at conclusion of Re-Entry Draft and closes on December 17 at 11 EDT.
December 18: MLS Re-Entry Draft Phase Two. Teams can select players whose options were declined and negotiate new contracts.
January 15: MLS Superdraft.