“We never replaced David Accam.”
If you ask Chicago Fire supporters what the biggest problem with the team on the pitch is right now, a number of them will say it’s the club’s failure to replace David Accam after trading him to the Philadelphia Union in the offseason.
I think this is mostly right, but a bit more precision is called for. We never replaced 2017 David Accam. That’s who we’re missing. If we didn’t send him to Philly, we would’ve just ended up with 2018 David Accam on the roster. Per MLSSoccer.com, 2018 David Accam has logged 698 minutes, zero goals, zero assists, and seven shots on goal. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have the allocation money.
(For the record: I loved David Accam when he was in Chicago and I was sad to see him go. But the numbers speak for themselves.)
The essential point, however, rings true: we need someone with 2017 David Accam’s creativity and versatility in the attack. We don’t have that right now, and if we don’t want to spend this season lingering below the red line in the Eastern Conference, the Fire should probably fix that.
To the front office’s credit, it’s not for lack of trying. But so far all their big targets have slipped through their fingers. Juan Quintero. Lee Nguyen. Andres Iniesta. Fernando Torres, maybe. (Take that last link with a grain of salt for right now.) You can make defensible arguments for why each of these players would or would not fit in this Fire squad right now. The fact remains that there’s a hole in Chicago’s attack that needs to be filled.
My friends, I submit for your consideration: Keisuke Honda, who MLS reports might be on the market and sounds out the Fire as a possible destination.
Honda spent last season at Pachuca in Liga MX, having previously played four seasons at AC Milan and four seasons before that at CSKA Moscow. In his one season at Pachuca, he posted 13 goals and five assists in 29 appearances. Not bad for someone who’s approaching 32.
(Yes, the age could be an issue. It would’ve been an issue with Torres and Iniesta as well. It’s something that’s already having to be managed with the Big Handsome German in our midfield. We all know this. The age thing is a legitimate concern. Just... bear with me here.)
His numbers with Pachuca show he can still produce. He’s versatile— while primarily a winger or attacking midfielder, he’s also capable of dropping into central midfield if needed. That versatility will definitely come in handy under Veljko Paunovic, who tends to view players’ preferred positions as helpful but nonbinding suggestions. He’s gotten a bit slower, but his top speed and acceleration are still perfectly fine for MLS. And he’s an assassin on set pieces.
Because these kind of articles aren’t complete without a YouTube skills & highlights video (complete with bad techno music):
I’m just saying— this could work.
I don’t know if he’s available this summer. I don’t know if he’d be interested in MLS, and if he is, if he’d consider Chicago as a destination. I definitely don’t know if he’s worth DP Money. (TAM/GAM, for sure.) But it’s worth looking into.
Because the Fire’s alternative at this point might be to keep shuffling along and hope Elliot Collier gets over his rookie jitters soon.