At the end of last season, we hoped that the Chicago Fire would be competitive in the transfer market during the 2019 preseason and, to our surprise, they were. The Fire signed a centerback, a winger, a proven MLS goalkeeper and a solid backup forward. Despite the 2-1 loss against the LA Galaxy last Saturday night, these new signings have already shown that they are capable to bring the team back to the top.
However, moments like these feel few and far between for the club. So let’s take a look at the Fire’s worst signings in recent memory, in no particular order.
In 2010, Castillo was signed by the Fire as a designated player on loan from Ukrainian side FC Shakhtar Donetsk. Castillo, who was a regular with Mexico’s national team, made his mark in Greece with Olympiacos before moving to Ukraine. The Fire were hoping that he could recreate the magic that compatriot Cuauhtemoc Blanco did a few years back.
But as we all know, he couldn’t even come close. During his spell with the Fire, he tallied zero goals in eight league appearances.
With the likes of Chris Rolfe, Marco Pappa, and Patrick Nyarko on the squad, the Fire were making themselves a strong contender for the MLS Cup with the addition of MacDonald during the summer of 2012. “Big Mac” scored his first goal that August in a 2-1 win against the New England Revolution. For the 2012 season in general, he had four goals and assists to his name. For the 2013 season, MacDonald was nonexistent. He was released from the club in August of that year.
For a lot of Fire fans, whenever Harrington’s name would appear in the Starting XI they would be instantly filled with misery and despair.
Look, Harrington is probably a good person, but as a soccer player, he was just horrendous. Most of time, he was bullied by the opposition wingers on the flanks and would wander out of position, leading to a steady increase in the Fire’s Goals Against stat. There were even times when his own teammates would scold him for his performances.
I really enjoyed Schweinsteiger signaling to Harrington to slow it down and then see Harrington push forward and cross to no one. #cf97— Danny Santaromita (@TheDanSanto) April 1, 2017
Maloney was a player with a lot of promise when he arrived in Chicago back in 2015. He previously played for Aston Villa, Celtic and was an FA Cup hero with Wigan Athletic. Maloney could of have been the gamechanger the Fire desperately needed.
But Maloney felt unsettled with the club and couldn’t play at the same level he did back home. After 14 appearances and three goals with the Fire, he was transferred to Hull City.
Despite his shortcomings, let’s appreciate the commentary from Dan Kelly on his first Fire goal.
When Arshakyan was signed by the Fire, Nelson Rodriguez said, “[The Fire] were impressed by his winning attitude and ability to score goals in a variety of different ways.”
Arshakyan ended up being the total opposite of that.
In his 17 league (including postseason) appearances, he tallied a whopping zero goals, with only two shots on goal. To see how bad that stat truly is: Harrington, a defender, managed one shot on goal. There were also rumors floating around that he claimed he was “too good” to be loaned out to the club’s then-USL affiliate Tulsa Roughnecks.
If there is one .gif that would sum up Big Dave it would be this:
Never forget - David "The Armenian Ibra Arshakyan #cf97 pic.twitter.com/NBX9d87ngd— RJ (@rga_02) March 3, 2019
Honorable Mentions go to Federico Puppo, Juan Luis Anangano and Gilberto.
Who’s your pick for the worst signing in Fire history? Let us know in the comments!