Paul Tenorio broke news Monday evening that rippled through the Chicago Fire fanbase: Mo Adams is being traded to Atlanta United for... something.
Per multiple other league sources, #ATLUTD has agreed to a trade with #cf97 for midfielder Mo Adams, pending league approval. Sources could not confirm what Atlanta is sending to Chicago.— Paul Tenorio (@PaulTenorio) July 15, 2019
At the time of writing this, we don’t know the return that the Fire got back in the trade. Knowing Atlanta themselves are thin at the fullback position, I have a hard time believing Nelson Rodriguez acquired a position of need in this trade, so that’s what I am going to react to.
Here’s my instant reaction: plain and simple, I don’t like this. I don’t like it for a couple reasons.
Let’s start with on the field. Is Mo Adams a bonafide starting MLS defensive midfielder right now? No, definitely not. The kid needs polish, needs to be cleaner on the ball and collects far too many fouls. What Mo Adams is though is a young, green card holding, cost-effective defensive midfielder who absolutely can carve out a role on a good team in MLS. He’s a perfect depth piece to stick behind or beside Dax McCarty, to learn and build confidence as he gains minutes and exposure at the professional level.
Which leads me to my second point; this speaks to the attitude this club has towards maximizing their return on youth development. Boy, are the Chicago Fire light years behind some of the others in the league when it comes to developing youth talent and reaping the rewards of doing so, whether that be in the win column or the transfer market. How many young, promising players who need development get a chance under Veljko Paunovic and the Chicago Fire? Why is there not a more defined path for players who may not be first team ready but need game minutes to potentially develop into one?
Mo Adams was not a polished first teamer, he needed to be better on the ball and be better tactically at the professional level. You do that by playing professional minutes! That’s how you learn! The Fire don’t have the proper pipeline to the first team for Homegrowns and draft picks to do that. Maybe that’s why we’ve seen Homegrown talent spurn the club for others in MLS and abroad. Just a thought.
Lastly, some might say this signals plans to gather as much TAM, GAM or any assets they can to start a rebuild. I can buy that logic. What I can’t buy though is the decision to sell Mo Adams, and the decision to sell him now. You’re probably selling him at what might be his lowest value this season after not making an appearance in a while, and someone who might benefit from minutes during a rebuild! You give him the time to find a role on the team moving forward, increase his value for a transfer later on, or you let him go knowing you gave the kid every opportunity in the book. IIf this signals a rebuild, I can get behind that. I don’t love shipping out young assets early in the process.
Jeremiah Gutjhar immediately becomes the defensive midfield depth and the Dax McCarty replacement on the roster. I like Gutjhar and think he’s going to be a very steady pro for this club. I would’ve liked him more if Adams was there to help him if we needed it.