The Chicago Fire were routinely criticized this off-season for not doing enough to boost their attacking options. The club selected former DC United striker Maicon Santos in the Re-Entry Draft this past December, but it was clear they could use more help.
When Toronto FC striker Quincy Amarikwa joined the Fire during the club's training out west, he managed to impress both the coaches and fans a bit. It quickly became clear that acquiring his rights from TFC was a mere formality.
And on Wednesday morning, that deal became official. The Men in Red acquired Amarikwa from the Canadian side in exchange for their 2014 first round supplemental pick.
In my opinion, this is a low-risk, high-reward move for the Fire. After the club cleared house this off-season in releasing Guillermo Franco, trading Dominic Oduro and sending out Federico Puppo on loan again, the club weren't able to find any other clear-cut striking options throughout the preseason. They focused on strengthening the midfield, while electing not to bring in any high-profile international forwards.
Clearly, it will be Chris Rolfe and Sherjill MacDonald's job to lead this team offensively. Amarikwa and Santos will get their minutes. As some point, Kellen Gulley will as well. Will the club try to get that another big-name striker in the summer? It's possible, but how the club starts the season will play a big role in that decision. If they start out strong, perhaps they stick with what they got. If they have issues, look for head coach Frank Klopas to start searching again.
Here's the club's release on the acquisition:
The Chicago Fire announced Wednesday that the club has acquired forward Quincy Amarikwa from Toronto FC in exchange for a first round selection in the 2014 MLS Supplemental Draft. Per league and team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed. Amarikwa will be available for selection by Fire head coach Frank Klopas for the Fire's MLS Opening match against the LA Galaxy at The Home Depot Center on Sunday, March 3 at 4:00 p.m. CT (Univision).
"We are pleased to add Quincy to our roster," said Fire President of Soccer Operations Javier Leon. "We were able to evaluate him during preseason to see how well he fits in our system. He's a talented player and will strengthen our squad as we begin the 2013 season."
A Bakersfield, Calif. product, Amarikwa was selected by the San Jose Earthquakes in the third round (32nd overall) of the 2009 MLS SuperDraft after a standout collegiate career at UC Davis. In four seasons with the Aggies, Amarikwa appeared in 77 games and recorded 31 goals and seven assists. In his 2009 rookie season, Amarikwa scored one goal and added two assists in 24 appearances for the Earthquakes. On April 7, 2010, Amarikwa was traded to the Colorado Rapids where he made 31 appearances and scored 3 goals and added one assist across three seasons from 2010-12. Along with current Fire midfielders Jeff Larentowicz and Wells Thompson, Amarikwa was a member of the Rapids squad that captured the 2010 MLS Cup with a 2-1 win over FC Dallas.
Amarikwa signed with Toronto FC on July 21, 2012 and tallied two goals and one assist in 14 appearances with the Reds.
Name: Quincy Amarikwa
Weight: 180 lbs.
Date of Birth: October 29, 1987
Place of Birth: Bakersfield, CA
Hometown: Bakersfield, CA
Acquired: Acquired from Toronto FC on February 27, 2013