Veteran midfield Arturo Alvarez is on his way back to his hometown. The Fire traded Alvarez to the Houston Dynamo in exchange for their natural second round pick in the 2019 SuperDraft.
In two seasons with the Fire, Alvarez scored 8 goals and added 11 assists in 55 appearances. He was a valuable role player off the bench and as a spot starter. The move further depletes what is already a thin bench, but the offseason is just getting underway. The Fire will have ample opportunity to add depth with 11 of a possible 30 roster spots currently open.
With the expansion draft ahead on Tuesday. The Fire also announced their eleven protected players that will not be made available for LAFC.
David Accam, Jonathan Campbell, Johan Kappelhof, Dax McCarty, Nemanja Nikolic, Juninho, Matt Polster, Richard Sanchez, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Luis Solignac, and Brandon Vincent were protected.
David Arshakyan, Jorge Bava, Brandt Bronico, Stefan Cleveland, Jorge Corrales, Michael de Leeuw, Christian Dean, Matej Dekovic, John Goossens, Michael Harrington, Daniel Johnson, Matt Lampson, and Joao Meira are available for selection.
Homegrown players Drew Conner and Djordje Mihailovic are exempt from the expansion draft. Joey Calistri, Patrick Doody, and Collin Fernandez technically are as well.
Deciding to protect Juninho over Michael de Leeuw can be seen as a bit of a gamble. The Fire must feel that LAFC will not be willing to wait on a player recovering from knee surgery and they retain the rights to Juninho should they be interested in a player whose loan option was declined. Daniel Johnson could draw some interest as a young player who can compete for a roster spot.
The Fire are close to resigning goalkeeper Richard Sanchez to a renegotiated deal.