In the midst of a four-game losing streak and in need of a shakeup, the Chicago Fire announced Friday forward Quincy Amarikwa will head to the San Jose Earthquakes in exchange for veteran defender Ty Harden.
The divisive forward came to the Fire on Feb. 27, 2013, from Toronto FC and went on to score 11 goals in 60 appearances. He showed some flashes of promise in his 2013 campaign, scoring 3 goals in 14 appearances, but it was in 2014 when it looked like the journeyman may have found his form.
With Frank Klopas off to Montreal and Frank Yallop starting his first season with the club, Amarikwa seem re-energized with a chance to show the new manager he deserved a spot in the starting XI. Amarikwa’s 2014 season started off well enough with two goals in the first four games and started his most memorable run with the team in April of that year.
Quincy launched into his finest run of form with a goal in Montreal on April 12 that was accompanied by the memorable “Welcome to Amarikwa” call by Dan Kelly as Qunicy got some revenge on former coach Frank Klopas. Starting with that game, Amarikwa scored a goal in three straight appearances and seemed poised to be a dangerous compliment with then-reigning MVP Mike Magee.
Sadly, after ending that three-game run of goals, Amarikwa would go on to score only three more goals the entire season and his reputation as a high-motor, ineffective finisher would be cemented. Most supporters appreciated the constant hustle of Amarikwa, but it led to great frustration as he would take on multiple defenders before sending in an errant shot or go down easy. Referees quickly began to view Amarikwa as a bit of a flopper, which meant even legitimate fouls would go uncalled at times because of Quincy’s penchant for crying wolf one too many times.
Amarikwa’s struggles have continued this season with his lone goal coming against Louisville City FC in the Open Cup.
While Amarikwa seems like a great guy, the move should come as a bit of a refreshing change of pace for a fan base looking for something to spark this team to a victory. The Fire received veteran defender Ty Harden. Harden debuted in the league with the LA Galaxy, but has spent the last two and a half seasons with San Jose.
Making only 19 league appearances in the last year and a half, Harden should not be seen as some savior for the struggling Fire, but he comes with a fine reputation and will add depth to the backline. The depth could be even more important if Joevin Jones spends more time in the midfield. It is expected Harden will play center back and right back.
I personally was a bit surprised by the news, but am more than fine with the trade. In the short term, we may have to hope for the best with the Guly do Prado experience, but a break from Amarikwa was probably needed by both the player and fan base.
And let’s not feel too bad for Amarikwa. He is going to live in California, play for a team on the rise and has already shown he has the charisma and articulation to have a career in soccer media after his playing days are over. He also gets a chance at redemption at the club where he made his professional debut.
A win-win for all involved.