Yesterday the Chicago Fire announced their big move in the transfer window, acquiring 24-year-old central defender Christian Dean from the Vancouver Whitecaps in exchange for some MLS Funny Money. It’s not the sexiest deal that went down in Major League Soccer during the summer window, and no doubt some Fire fans will be underwhelmed by the deal. But there are reasonable hopes that Dean will help solve some problems with defensive depth and give the Fire enough muscle to qualify for the playoffs and then make a respectably deep run.
Hot Time In Old Town: How are Caps fans feeling about the deal? Are there regrets over losing a promising young talent that didn't pan out? Or are fans not too sad to see him go?
Eighty Six Forever: I believe fans will have mixed feelings about Dean’s departure. It has been expected for a while, as he was initially rumored to be heading to Minnesota. During his entire time with the Whitecaps he has not played much, so I don’t believe his loss will be felt on the field. However, he has always carried himself well and been a great professional. As a result, many, including myself, wanted to see him succeed. Because of that desire, we are also happy to see him move on and potentially get that opportunity. I believe he needed a change of scenery and the Whitecaps needed the cap space freed up from his $200,000 salary (yes, you read that correctly).
Hot Time In Old Town: From what you did see of him in a Vancouver kit, how would you describe Dean's quality and style?
Eighty Six Forever: Dean is a big, lanky, strong central defender. He began to develop a bit of a good mean streak and started to get more vocal, but those were two areas that he always was a bit lacking. He is faster than you expect. The Whitecaps tried three-at-the-back a few times, with Dean on the outside, and he was able to display his acceleration. However, he did get beat several times one-on-one.
Hot Time In Old Town: If roles were reversed and the Whitecaps had just acquired Dean, what would make you feel optimistic? What concerns might you have?
Eighty Six Forever: There was a reason why Christian Dean was taken third overall in the 2014 SuperDraft, behind Andre Blake and Steve Birnbaum. That reason is that he is good. As I noted above, he has speed and strength, and I think he has good soccer IQ. Everyone with the Whitecaps hopes that Dean is successful going forward and actually believes that he can be successful. It is just that he was not going to be successful with the Whitecaps. That is, there is a belief that he needs a change of scenery to get going again more than that he is not a good player.
My biggest concern would be health. While other center backs have come in and overtaken Dean on the depth chart based on play, a major element has been his injuries. If you search his name, you will see that most of the articles are about his injuries.
For more insight, check out ESF’s report on Dean from earlier this year.