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How much should the Fire give up for McBride?


The Chicago Fire is enjoying a dream start to the season, is leading the Eastern Conference and is doing so with an impressive wealth of talent on a deep and balanced team.

With that all in mind, how much should the Fire give up to acquire former U.S. national team star Brian McBride? The former Fulham captain is ready to return to MLS and wants to play for the Fire, but the Fire will have to make at least one deal to make that happen. There is no question that if Chicago could add McBride without giving anything up you could install the Fire as MLS Cup favorites today (actually, you could probably say it anyway.)

Unfortunately for the Fire, acquiring McBride isn’t going to come cheap and team officials will have to decide whether adding McBride is worth shaking up team on a roll right now.

So here is the question. How much should the Fire be willing to give up? If Chicago has to trade for a designated player slot, as well as an allocation slot from Toronto FC, you would have to wonder just how much of that depth and talent the Fire would be willing to surrender. If McBride is willing to pay for a non-DP salary for the second-half of the MLS season then things would be much easier, but if he wants a multi-year DP deal, the Fire could be forced to make a difficult choice.

Does Chicago mess with some very good chemistry right now or does it sacrifice talent and depth for a chance to add a quality veteran striker in McBride, who has been playing at a high level for years now? Does the Fire pass on the hometown hero and look for a more modest deal to make for a proven striker? Or does Chicago stand pat with its current squad?

Head coach Denis Hamlett and technical director Frank Klopas will certainly be earning their money on this one.

What do you think the Fire should do? Share your thoughts below.


  1. per Steve Davis

    “As for trade material, the men of Toyota have parts to spare. (Although the word is that Justin Mapp was among the first names requested by TFC, and the Fire probably shouldn’t go there.) But Conde? He’s a talent, for sure, one that has barely dented the lineup in ’08. Translation: he’s expendable. And TFC can use a guy like that, one who can brace a defense that’s still too leaky.”

    TFC asking for Mapp??? a possible trade for Conde?? both players have been talked about in this thread… doesnt seem Davis thinks Mapp should go, but rather the Fire should use Conde as leverage… either way, it looks like TFC may in fact get a player, and unless its Mapp i dont see it being any of the starting XI…

  2. Steve- eek an arguement i havent thought of… quite an excellent point there steve… i only thought of the small picture, but the big picture (league’s growth) is quite a new avenue….

    tv ratings… how could i be so foolish to not even think of them >.<

    good points all around steve

  3. Relative to jloome’s post.

    I don’t know anything about Maple Leaf sports and what type of owners they are but I am pretty confident that all the owners in this league are more worried about tv ratings, attendance and jersey sales than winning at this point. And for clarity, I’m talking about league attendance.

    As an owner I’m still pretty worried about stadium situations in other cities regardless of how many seats I’m selling in my own city. COnsidering the collective bargaining agreement is up soon (likely increasing every team’s expenses) and most of the profits in sports come from media its still all about proving greater popularity and players like McBride help that.

    Hence the argument that McHead is more valuable to the league as a whole than to Chicago. Partly because they’re winning but more so because of Blanco and what he brings commercially.

    Which is why there isn’t a lot for TFC to gain by holding the Fire’s feet to the Fire.

    Especially, since with their unique roster restrictions they are proabbly going to need some help from the league in the next few year’s when Canadian nationals decide to do what McBride is doing.

  4. papa bear- ive been trying to tell them this all along… IF DP was an issue we’d be able to deal with several other teams to try to find the best deal for us…

    however, as ive said MANY times before, TFC is going to have to look at the Intl’ players slots and their salary cap… if they get the likes of Barrett, Robinson and/or Mapp they’ll have to remove 2-3 intl’ players and still come up with the right amount of salary cap…

    its not as easy as “i want 2 great players and 1 good player for the allocation slot” but rather “what can we fit into our team??”

    i stand firm, they may get a good player (conde, robinson, etc…) but probably not one in the starting XI… they’ll get allocation, which is good b/c when they get a DP they can drop more allocation on another quality player that would’ve normally exceeded their cap… and probably some form of draft pick….

    dont expect too much TFC, the fire wont be willing to weaken their team as bad as you may want…

  5. @Posted by: bangersandmash | June 02, 2008 at 10:14 PM

    yeah the loophole is there are a 8 other teams who have no DP who pretty much have no intention of using the DP for 2 years who would probably sell it for much cheaper than TFC if McBride does want DP money. So once again, what does TFC really have? Their position is much weaker than it otherwise would be in this kind of situation.

  6. for the 90th time…

    if McBride is asking for DP money, then Chicago ONLY has to trade for the DP slot NOT the TFC allocation slot as well.

    If DP’s were subject to that then why the hell didn’t every team in the league lay a claim on Beckham, Blanco, Angel etc…? I’m sick of seeing people screw that up.

    Since it looks like it’s non-DP money, TFC isn’t in that great of a position. McBride doesn’t want to play there and all rumors have him retiring if he doesn’t get to play in Chicago so what are TFC REALLY holding? If Chicago passes they get nothing and their top slot is due to expire in half a year. Who knows if anyone else will try to come back into the league in that time.

    I’m guessing the most they’ll get is one player (Barrett or Carr most likely, MAYBE Mapp or Robinson)+ a little allocation money and a lower round draft pick.

  7. Brett:

    I’m sure you’re right about him ending up with the Fire or Columbus. I was really just saying what I would like or thought would be best. Obviously McBride has a lot of say in where he will go. Realistically I think he will end up with Columbus.

  8. You can keep your Chad Barrett and take our Cunningham. It’s funny all of you Fire fans want to get rid of Barrett b/c he is shite and we want Cunningham gone b/c he is lazy and shite!!!

  9. I love this assertion that just because of some past shenanigans the league is simply going to make whatever deal it wants; wake up, people, TFC’s owners are one of the richest groups in the league, and none of the other teams that make up the league ownership group have much of a vested interest in giving Chicago, already the strongest in the league this season, this much of a boost.

    What, you really think these people are so “mom, dad and apple pie” sentimental that they’re going to go against their own individual best interests with nothing to gain for it but a heroic homecoming for a 36-year-old striker?

    No, they’ll put the screws to Chicago on this one big time. And regardless of the “he’d never play in Canada!” sentiment, I guarantee you that after playing in England in front of rabid football crowds, he’d play in Toronto before he’d play in Columbus again. Plus, Toronto will pay him DP money as a striker, because that’s what they’re looking for.

    So either:

    a) He goes to Chicago, a Toronto gets a couple of good players and possible more;

    b) he plays in Canada. Boy, I bet they’d love that in Columbus.

  10. To all the folks insisting that Chicago doesn’t need to bargin with TFC for McBride if McBride wants to be a DP… that all hinges on Chicago having a DP slot available, which it doesn’t. They’d need to get Toronto’s unused DP slot. As Ives himself said:

    “So you have the Fire, which has the trade pieces to get the allocation from Toronto, but not that AND a designated player slot, and you have the Crew, which has the available designated player slot, but not the trade pieces to get the allocation from Toronto.”

    Chicago needs to bargain either way. The league will probably step in and make this easy. The idea that Toronto should get to run rampant over a twist of fate is a bit stupid (said the TFC fan). But as the rules stand, TFC has both the allocation and the DP spot that Chicago need. But this is the mls, there must be a loophole somewhere.

  11. I think it’s already been said he would play for cap space money so let’s see…allocation for a player that wouldn’t play for TFC anyway.

    A draft pick or two and money and that’s a pretty dam good deal for nothing. Of course TFC could just pass and get nothing and he would go to the next team in line. Someone will get a moderate freebie bonus for sucking last year just who will it be.

  12. Clone Rooney is scoring goals this year so I think we should keep him around. For all the hooplah Frankowski has been a bust. Send him to Toronto. Perhaps McBride will search his heart and realize he’s made good money during his career and play on the cheap for just half a year re-working the deal next season to put more cash in his pocket.

  13. get rid of CONDE he doesn’t want to be there. they don’t really want him eating up salary cap, some how manipulate the trade to send conde to LA

  14. we dont need McBride with the Fire. I would love to have him. Send Barrett or Carr to TFC and some draft picks and see if they want that. The way this league is, if the front office of the league want McBride to be in the league and he signs a contract he will be with the Fire. Its stupid but that will happen. It doesnt really matter because he wants to be with the Olympic team and he couldnt be with the Fire until July 15th anyway so its still a long way off. McBride wants to be in Chicago and Klopas wants him here so they will make it happen.

  15. I’d give Houston’s DP slot for Rolfe, the rights to Cervi (since Onstad is near the end and Wells got traded), and another quality player.

    Plus, I’d give you Caraccio for Nyarko. 🙂

  16. aristotle- the thing is you wont see him in SJ even if they had the rights…. you’ll see McBride in 1 of 2 uniforms… Fire or Crew…. simple as that…. altho im guessing if a deal isnt reached by the fire, he’ll look to the Crew… if a deal isnt reached there, most likely it’ll be retirement… and i couldnt think of a player that deserves it more…

  17. jeff- except that McBride is still a quality player even by EPL standards… but he stands the chance of coming here and floppying…there is one major difference between him and Renya (cept the obvious)… BMB will have Blanco passing to him (not to mention a thriving Chicago Fire starting XI)….

  18. The Fire should let well enough alone. They certainly shouldn’t try to get McBride as a DP. At his age and already having missed more than half the past season, who knows what will happen with him? I’d like to see him go to San Jose as a maximum salary player. San Jose got a real bad break with Peguerro.

  19. Conde, Marmol, Mapp and Rolfe. Toronto FC should settle for NOTHING less.

    Posted by: Tim F.”

    This is just silly. The Fire don’t need McBride. Giving up two of our best defenders and two of our best offensive players for a year and a half of McBride is just silly. I don’t have a problem with Toronto. But if they want this kind of talent for the rights to McBride, the Fire should politely say no. This isn’t a situation like NY/Conde, where NY desperately needed a defender. The Fire are doing just fine, and gutting their future for a year and a half of McBride would be ridiculous.

  20. The Fire would be dumb to give up much for him. He could be another Reyna in MLS. He like Reyna has a bad hiostory of injuries and he’s like 35 or 36. I wouldnt bother with him.

  21. When you factor in the amount of time McBride spends injured, he should factor in medical costs in Canada vs the USA and do the math.

  22. Mo Johnston seemed to suggest in his comments that he was fielding offers from various teams. Why would he say that if the league was forcing him to trade with Chicago? I don’t think he’d shut up about that if it were the case.

    Posted by: Will | June 02, 2008 at 01:36 PM

    You don’t know Mo.

    Actually neither do I but his chatting about it makes all the sense in the world. Trying to get some leverage out of it. Makes perfect sense to me and if I were in his shoes, I’d do the same thing.

  23. Will- of course Mo is saying that… its a business bluff… fact is that McBride is coming back to play at home… whether it be Chicago or Crew, but no other team is in the running… his brother even said “off the record” that its either Chicago or no where…

    Toronto truely has little opportunity here… if McBride wants to play at chicago, and if TFC wants anything out of it, then they’d be smart to accept the allocation for future developement… if they deny the trade and mcbride retires, then no harm no foul, except the league will be out of an american legend… the fire truely dont need him, altho we’d love to have him….

  24. well chicago suppsidly has plenty of allocation money.. so they could in essence pay him like 600 and buy it with the allocation money to 400 or more..

  25. McBride is a stand-up guy but I don’t see him playing for non-DP money. Not a chance.

    Chicago needs to do anything it can to acquire him. Whoever the team gives up, it still will see greater returns in the bank and popularity with McBride on the team.

  26. If McBride wants to be a DP, then Toronto is SOL for compensation… A DP isn’t subject to the allocation draft.

    If he chooses to go that route, I think you would see him end up with New England on a short term deal (18-30 months). They’ve been that second striker away from winning 3 straight titles.

    Chicago isn’t going to have a significant increase in shirt sales by bringing in McBride, so why would they mortgage what they have right now? It would cost them plenty to get a DP spot from TOR, DCU, NE, CLB, HOU, RSL or SJ.


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