The Fire have completed a trade sending midfielder Patrick Nyarko to DC United in exchange for the 33rd pick in next week’s MLS SuperDraft. The move came at the request of Nyarko, who desired a fresh start with a new team as he enters his 30’s and what could be his last chance to compete for a championship as a starter playing significant minutes. The deal clears considerable budget space on the senior roster as Nyarko’s contract value was at $215,750.00 guaranteed last season according to the latest MLSPU numbers.
Nyarko suffered a serious knee injury near the conclusion of the 2014 season, but signed a new deal with the club that would have taken him to an option for 2017. He showed glimpses of his old form upon his return in 2015 but apparently decided late last summer that he needed to make a change after being part of the two worst seasons in club history. The change in technical staffs evidently couldn’t reverse the decision with an apparent rebuilding season on the way.
Sources indicate that a list of preferred destinations were part of Nyarko’s request if a trade was possible and the Fire tried to accommodate those wishes. DC United was one of those teams. Nyarko played collegiate soccer nearby at Virginia Tech, and will be reunited with former teammate Chris Rolfe, who he once called the best player he’d ever played with.
Nyarko leaves the Fire having finished 7th in all time games played with 196, 8th in minutes with 13,453 logged, and 3rd in assists with 39. Only Peter Nowak and Chris Armas had more career assists in a Fire kit than he did.
Including the ‘knockout’ game in 2012, he was the last field player on the roster to have appeared in a playoff match for the club. Only Sean Johnson remains in terms of participants in that 2012 postseason contest. He’s also one of only nine players to have played eight or more seasons in Chicago. CJ Brown, Logan Pause, Gonzalo Segares, Zach Thornton, Armas, Jesse Marsch, Rolfe, and Justin Mapp are the others.
Always available and thoughtful, win, lose, or draw, Nyarko had developed into a leader in the locker room. Replacing his contributions on and off the field will be a challenge.
With the pick acquired from DC, the Fire now have the 1st, 33rd, 57th, and 62nd selections next Thursday.