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Marry/Boff/Kill: Dilly Duka

Nimble, two-footed winger is entering the final year of his contract - how should the Fire handle him?

Dilly grew into a starter's role over the course of 2013 - will his growth continue in '14?
Dilly grew into a starter's role over the course of 2013 - will his growth continue in '14?
Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

"Marry/F**k/Kill" is a game of the Internet age, and the rules are simple: name a group of three people ("Iron Man and Thor and Captain America," "Blanche, Rose or Dorothy"), and ask the crowd to choose one fate for each of them - one to partner with for good, one explored for a connection but not kept, and one cast off into the outer darkness. Fans of 30 Rock will recognize this game in its safe-for-primetime version, Marry/Boff/Kill, which name we're borrowing because we do not want SB Nation getting angry emails.

Here at Hot Time, we're going to use the game to talk about players - specifically Chicago Fire players, naturally. We're going to use it as a way to talk about the roster. It works like this: ‘Marry' indicates a willingness to keep the player regardless of cap issues or any other considerations; ‘Boff' (i.e., ‘F**k) means that we're, uhh, f**king the player over, asking for modifications to their contract or running them through the Re-Entry Draft process - we're interested but not on these terms; and ‘Kill' means terminating the player's contact with CF97.

We're going to present some kind of argument for each outcome, and let the community have their say. I mean, why not? We already have an entire week of marrying, boffing and killing under our proverbial belts, and if you missed any of it, it can all be found under our Marry/Boff/Kill Story Stream, including our M/B/K: Week 1 Wrap-up. Yesterday, we took a look at Wells Thompson and Mike Magee, while Jeff Larentowicz got the treatment this morning.

Dilaver ‘Dilly' Duka, #8, 24 years old

2013: 31 appearances (24 starts), 1788 minutes, 4 goals, 3 assists

Career: 76 appearances (56 starts), 4420 minutes, 6 goals, 8 assists

$140,000 base salary, $273,000 guaranteed

Dilly Duka solidified himself as a starter in MLS this season, coming into his own on the left wing of the Fire's 2013 team. His quickness and skill with both feet makes him a flexible piece of the Chicago attack, as he can play on either flank or in a roving role more centrally.

The case to ‘Marry'

Duka has qualities that every MLS team covets - he's an American attacker with some flair, a guy who can conjure chances for himself or others, a player who can get the fans standing and going ‘Oh!' - and, (barring injury) he's still got most of his career ahead of him. Dilly grew into the side as the season wore on, playing his best down the stretch as the games grew more meaningful. He also showed a willingness to work for the team, improving defensively by simply trying harder at it. It'd be difficult to improve this position for what Dilly makes.

The case to ‘Boff'

The main knock against Duka is this: He doesn't have the stamina to attack at pace and still play some defense for an entire game, meaning starting him is essentially burning a valuable substitution before the game starts. Duka originally signed a Generation Adidas deal with Columbus in 2010; those deals are generally for four years, plus a single year option held by the club. If the Fire pick up his option, they're kicking the can down the road - sure, $140k isn't bad for what Dilly can do, but it's decent money for a four-goal, three-assist guy who cannot go 90 minutes. And look at the ‘guaranteed' money - there's some crazy bonuses built into the current deal. Should the Fire try to extend him now, possibly at a similar number? Or should they let it ride and hope that he plays lights-out in 2014 to earn a better deal?

The case to ‘Kill'

At his salary, given his play over the second half of the season, I would personally find it difficult to make a case for straight-up cutting Duka. That said, his game is not everyone's cup of tea, and when in poor form can be a liability on both sides of the ball. How does Frank Yallop view him? If the new Frank isn't a Dilly fan, we could see him packaged in a trade for the second off-season in a row - the Jersey native is one of the few Fire players coming into his prime, rather than past it.