As reported everywhere in the last 24 hours, our Chicago Fire dealt defender Austin Berry to the Philadelphia Union for a reported $100,000 of allocation money. Terms of the deal were not released, except apparently to Alexi Lalas.
I'm told Austin Berry was traded for $100k in allocation. See @MLS, that wasn't so painful, was it?— Alexi Lalas (@AlexiLalas) February 25, 2014
Berry, the 2012 MLS Rookie of the Year, played every minute of the 2013 season for the Fire, but had seen himself shuffled down the pecking order after off-season shoulder surgery and the addition of Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and Patrick Ianni from Seattle. In the end, the third-year player's discomfort with the ball at his feet and his part in 2013's porous defense made him expendable, just as the Fire's cap woes made a deal necessary.
CF97 Send Two To Hall
Former Fire manager Bob Bradley and striker Brian McBride were named to the 2014 class of the US Soccer Federation's National Soccer Hall of Fame, along with women's national-team legend Kristine Lilly.
Bradley, of course, was the first manager for CF97, helming the team from 1998 to 2002. Under Bradley, the Fire won the double in ‘98 and the US Open Cup in 2000.
McBride, a native of Buffalo Grove, IL, was the first draft pick in MLS history, and played eight years with Columbus before making the leap to England, where stints with Preston North End, Everton and (most notably) Fulham made him a cult figure. McBride returned home in 2008, playing with his hometown Fire for more than two seasons before retiring. ‘Bake' scored a total of 144 goals in 450 appearances as a professional.
The two join Eric Wynalda as former Fire in the Hall of Fame.
Fire Ink Franco
Tuesday morning, the club announced they'd finally gotten a contract signed with right back Marco Franco, whom the club had selected in the first round of this year's SuperDraft. A 22-year-old out of Chino Hills, CA, Franco appeared 76 times for UC-Irvine, racking up 10 assists and winning the 2013 Big West Defensive Player of the Year award.
Around MLS: Vancouver Gets Laba, CUSA Ink Moore
One of the talking points in this preseason has been how Toronto, now laden with four Designated Players, planned to make their roster work. As expected, the solution was for ballhawking midfielder Matias Laba, 22, to make way, and he has, sort of - yesterday the club announced they are loaning Laba to Vancouver for 2014. Apparently intraleague loans are a thing now, which is nice, because it's unsettling as a fan of MLS if a month goes by without the rules on player acquisition and roster structure changing. I give you permanent revolution!
Also, Chivas USA is still doing things! Exciting. Today they inked Englishman Luke Moore, who'd been trialing with the team for some time. Moore is fresh off a poor stint in the Turkish league, but if you've not heard of Elazigspor, you're surely familiar with some of his earlier employers: Swansea, West Bromwich Albion, and Aston Villa.
Well, for 2014, at least. The club announced its full television broadcast schedule Tuesday, with local station WPWR My50 Chicago on board as its Official Television Partner. My50 will broadcast 26 Fire matches in glorious HD.
Don't worry your head about the rest of the matches, though. My50 may be the Official Partner, but apparently they're okay with an open relationship. Time Warner Wisconsin is on board for 23 matches, while 13 matches will go out nationally to a variety of networks - ESPN, UniMas, etc. Full details on the broadcast schedule are here.
The announcing team grows by one, as the previous team of Dan Kelly and Kevin Egan are joined by new sideline reporter Brooke Weisbrod.
CF97 Hosting Fighting Irish
Notre Dame University released its 2014 spring soccer schedule Tuesday, and it includes a friendly with none other than our own Chicago Fire. The Fire will host the Irish, the 2013 NCAA national champions, on March 11. Details - such as location and kickoff time - were not clear at the time of publication.
UEFA CL: ManU Staggered In Greece
Costa Rica's Joel Campbell scored the pick of the goals as Greek side Olympiakos stunned Manchester United, 2-0, in the first leg of their quarterfinal UEFA Champions League tie. The Red Devils reached "a new low" with the sluggish performance, but take nothing away from Olympiakos - especially their supporters, whose badass tifo set the tone.
Elsewhere, Zenit St. Petersburg came out to play with Dortmund, though they might think better of it after getting pasted 4-2 at home. Borussia Dortmund are now heavy favorites to move.
In today's action, Real Madrid hosts Schalke while Chelsea squares off with former Blues man Didier Drogba and Galatasaray.