Yesterday the Chicago Fire finally got around to announcing news that broke last weekend. Mo Adams has been loaned out to Memphis 901 FC, ostensibly in order to make room on the roster for their newest player, Argentine attacking midfielder Nico Gaitán.
This move is a huge mistake.
Mo Adams is, or should be, the linchpin of the Fire’s midfield. Ever since he had his coming out party against Montreal last year, myself and others have been advocating for him to get more minutes. I believe that the Fire are better with him on the pitch than off— and I’m not alone.
Mistake or no, this move had been coming. The club were in a difficult position of their own making, stemming from a single decision made in the offseason— re-signing Bastian Schweinsteiger.
I understand the sacrilege I’m about to commit and the wrath I’m incurring from the internet. Bastian Schweinsteiger is nothing short of a legend of the game. He’s won everything there is to win in the game, for both club and country, at every level he’s played at. I’ve seen him do things with the ball at his feet I’ve seen no one else do before or since. He is one of the best mid- and long-passers of all time.
But he can’t play anymore. Re-signing him was a mistake.
His presence is a bottleneck. You can’t not play him, for precisely the reasons stated above. Plus, at times, he does still show flashes of brilliance on the field, especially with his passing ability. Balls are still hit fifty to sixty yards with pinpoint accuracy, with perfect pace and force.
But these moments of brilliance are overshadowed by his lack of ability on things players at his position need to be really good at. His mobility has declined drastically. He’s on an island defensively. Raul Ruidiaz and Jordan Morris took his lunch money several times during last weekend’s loss to Seattle, and a few times, he ended up on his backside— something you’d expect from scrubs on the playground, not gods of the game.
Mentally, he seems checked out of games and frustrated. Which makes sense— he’s realizing that his body can’t cash the checks his mind keeps writing. Basti is still one of the smartest players I’ve ever seen. But it’s clear that his body is slowing down and can’t do the things he wants to do, and the team is suffering as a result.
It’s sad and tragic to watch something like this. It’s really something I’ve never had to experience before. I didn’t have to watch MJ go through this, He was in Washington for the end and I didn’t have to watch it every day. Griffey and Manny Ramirez were already at the very end when Kenny Williams got his paws on them. Seeing one of the best players in a generation break down like this is heartbreaking to watch.
Mo Adams needs to play to get better. He needs quality minutes if he is to become the Fire’s long term solution at defensive midfield. He’s capable of playing right now, and I think we all know it. But because the team has a living legend in front of him on the depth chart, he can’t get them here. He has to be loaned out to get playing time.
The Fire may be sacrificing their future for their past, and there’s no present to be found.