Despite pretty consistent buzz on draft day, the two teams could not broker a deal in Indianapolis. However, consistent reports would continue to surface that a deal was still being worked on. The most widely held view was that of compensation. The Crew originally were asking a lot for Duka, and considering there was a falling out between both parties, the price was too high for the Fire. It was clear that whatever happened in Columbus destroyed any hope of reconciliation, so it was just really a waiting game. The Crew were ready to part ways and move forward, and must have known that they would have to drop the price to unload him.
Ives Galarcep of Soccer By Ives first reported the move today. Both players also confirmed the deal via their respective Twitter accounts. While the clubs have not officially announced the deal, I would expect that to happen soon, possibly even tomorrow. Duka comes into a robust midfield picture for the Fire, while Dominic heads to a Crew team in need of some speed and goal scoring. While I am hopeful that this deal works out in the best interests of the Fire, it's always hard to see a well liked player like Dom leave.
Oduro was a favorite among many Fire fans, and always gave 100% out on the pitch. His work ethic was always top notch, and he was well liked by teammates and fans alike. He came to a Fire team that was in transition in 2011 and trying to find an identity for itself. Dom was able to slot in and ended up surprising almost everyone in the league after a 12 goal campaign. Although the Fire would fall short of the playoffs, the Men in Red finally had a double digit goal scorer again. Although Oduro would fall off that pace in 2012 and tally 6 goals, he helped lead the Men in Red back to the playoffs in what seemed like an eternity to the fans.
Oduro's play could be frustrating at times, and his inconsistent finishing did show up at intervals throughout his time in the Windy City. I know I was sometimes critical of this fact and was harsh on him. Despite this, I have nothing but respect for him and how he played the game the right way in his time in Chicago. He helped lead the Fire back up the standings and into the playoffs. While he may not have been the most prolific striker in the world, he made up for some of those misses with hustle, hard work, and being dedicated to his team and the fans. And that's something every Fire fan should be able to get behind and appreciate.
I think all of us were hoping that Dominic would hang around at least another year as a good option off the bench, whether that be for late speed (as we saw the latter part of last season), or even as an option on the wing. Unfortunately, that didn't seem to be in Oduro's sights. There was rumor of friction between Frank Klopas and Dominic over playing time in the recent past. I did hear that the situation had been smoothed over recently, but it would appear in the end both parties saw the writing on the wall.
In Duka's case, he had made 45 appearances for the Crew since his draft in 2010. The former United States U20 and U23 player has had an up and down time in Columbus. From positive impressions initially, Dilly has seen his time in Columbus slide downhill since then. A hamstring injury cost him some time last season, and there was clearly some sort of fallout with the club that lead to the inevitable divorce from the Crew. Though I am not privy to the inside dealing in Columbus, I would have to assume that whatever went on was substantial enough to give up on the young talent and want to send him elsewhere. Hopefully this is a case of both parties needing a change of scenery. The Crew now get to move on and get a know commodity and veteran player in Oduro. The Fire get a young talent that will ideally be a very positive contributor in Chicago. Only time will tell the full outcome of the transaction.
It is expected that Duka will compete for a wide midfield role, specifically the left wing spot. While Patrick Nyarko has the right side on lock down, the spot opposite his is still up in the air. Duka will likely compete with newly minted Fire midfielder Brendan King and possibly even Alex for the left wing role. Regardless of who wins the spot, we need positive production out of that position. It would be a boon for the Fire to have a dangerous winger opposite the always dangerous Patrick Nyarko. let's hope that player materializes somewhere out of the small village that is the Fire midfield right now.
Thanks for all you have done for us Dominic. You will be missed, and best of luck in the next step of your career (just not against us).
The Fire have in fact acquired Robbie Rogers rights. He played sparingly for Leeds United, and went on loan to Stevenage. He played sparingly there too, and his contract is now up. Hat tip to Jeff Crandall and Joel Biden for the help/info on this. So Robbie is out of contract.
I think that we have a good chance of landing him. It's hard to see why the Fire would ask for his rights if they didn't think there was a chance to persuade him to join. With him being out of contract (and likely few if any serious Euro offers), it makes sense for him to come back to MLS and try to get his career back on track.
As I said in the comments, the Fire can't lose in this situation. If for some reason they would decide to trade his rights, I am confident we could get a decent little haul for them. Whether that be cash to re-invest in the team or a trade for another needed player (striker anyone?), the Fire hold most of the bargaining chips. And, if we decide to bring him back, that makes our midfield that much better and allows us some different options to go with.
Either way, it would seem the Fire have done well to give Oduro an exit and playing time somewhere else, while getting some solid to very good value in return. If Rogers does join hopefully it can be tied up quickly so he gets a bit of pre-season time in.
The Fire just officially announced the deal. And it does include right of first refusal for Robbie Rogers, as expected. Here's a link to the release here. The Fire are set in midfield and then some. We could still use another body for back line depth and we should be st there considering Kinney is showing well and word out of camp is that Logan Pause could win the RB spot (which I strongly disagree with).
The main thing missing now is someone in the forward department. Any injury would really hamper us as there isn't anyone formidable behind Rolfe, Mackie, and Santos. I don't expect any big signing until the summer, but hopefully Frank can add another forward piece before the season starts.