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Fire trade Austin Berry to Union

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The Chicago Fire are preparing to sign reigning MLS MVP Mike Magee to a new contact, and took a major step toward making that happening by making a pair of moves to clear the salary cap room.

The Fire traded former MLS Rookie of the Year Austin Berry to the Philadelphia Union in exchange for allocation money, reported on Monday.

Berry joins the Union after two seasons as a regular starter for the Fire, where he was a steady force in the middle. He will slot into central defense alongside Amobi Okugo, giving the Union the aerial force in central defense the club has lacked for some time.

The Fire have a wealth of centerback options, with Bakary Soumare and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado expected to start, and Patrick Ianni providing depth.

What do you think of this deal? Excited to see the Union’s new lineup take the field? Think Magee is worthy of a Designated Player contract?

Share your thoughts below.





  1. This is a much better situation for the Union than had they signed Zat Knight from Bolton. Berry has experience and is strong on the ball. Now just focus on the depth of this team and we should be fine in the EAST. DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOP!!

    • This is the most quality depth that this team has ever had. I am interested to see how our young guys (Pfeffer, Fernandes, Hernandez and McLaughlin) will be incorporated into the team this year.

  2. Yea the trade for Soumare was stupid he’s stinks and always makes mistakes and is expensive I laughed when Philly got him originally …the stopped laughing when the Fire got him.

    Then they got TWO more overpriced defenders from Seattle it’s like the Fire are mandated by the league to take Seatles overpaid crap.

    Anibaba and Berry aren’t great and are seriviceable. Certainly no better than Hurtado Soumare and Ianna…but no worse either but cheaper.

    • Berry showed his actual understanding and ability when he didn’t have a world class defender next to him pulling his strings. I read another comment that said he showed very limited offensive abilities (except for set pieces in the box) and if a team hopes to build out of the back it won’t happen with Berry. I agree. The upside is that he was starting his third year and has potential. I’m more disappointed that Anibaba was traded. For two years he was a nightmare with the ball at his feet and finally showed some real growth this past year. I wish they would have kept him, but they needed something to offer as a trade to plug the Mack truck sized hole in the center of their defense. Made me wish CJ Brown would come out of retirement. At his age he would be better than what was there last year.

  3. Chicago Fire proving once again that they have absolutely no clue how to run an MLS team. If the league hadn’t gifted them Magee last year and Joya this year they would be rock bottom in the league. Really sad to see a great franchise crash and burn.

    • I can’t say I agree. At the very least Hauptman doesn’t operate with knee jerk responses. He allowed Frank #1 a couple years to right the ship and his teams followed the same pattern each year: slow start, mediocre mid season, and a strong push towards the end. Players worked hard for him, but his tactics were suspect and his player aquisitions were expensive and too often flamed out. Now Frank #2 has to remake the team and I believe his proven record at San Jose will pay dividens if Hauptman gives him a couple years. The new Frank had very dynamic teams with Donovan and DeRo and my hope is that with an owner that is willing to spend – although not Toronto, LA, NY, or Seattle money – this will be a good team to watch and a playoff team.

  4. Berry was terrible last year. It was blatantly obvious when Freidrich left he was certainly exposed. CB is probably the easiest position to fill through the draft.

    His Rookie of the year award should have been addressed to Arne.

    That said why get rid of your youngest and cheapest cb?

    Couldn’t we dump Soumare back on them or Ianni?

    As for McGee as a DP I don’t know about that had a career year the first in his 10 yr playing career and he wants to renegotiate ? What is this The MLB?

    Dumb move by fire but before you Philly fans get excited he’s really not that good

    • I’m not super excited about the move, but he is a somewhat experienced CB with height. Okugo has the IQ and is vocal enough to be able to put him in the right spots. Also I think with Ethan White on his heels he will either have to perform or step aside.

  5. Kudos to the Union FO for a great offseason.

    Not sure how Hackworth will fit all the pieces together, but at least he’s got much better options that Keon Daniel and Ray Gaddis now.

  6. April Fools, Chicago Fire!

    Haha. Trading away your best young player–a center back none the less–so Mike Magee can have a new contract. Couldn’t find that money anywhere else, huh?

    Better hope HURTado doesn’t live up to his name.

    • as a Fire season ticket holder, I can state he Berry looks best on his “trading card” and not when he actually plays! Please look at goals allowed by the Fire, with a good goalie (Johnson) and I can tell you first hand, Berry was a cause for many! He can’t read the game and his ball movement is never clever forward, mostly sideways and backwards….scared to make a mistake….of which he made many! Why do you think Yallop loaded up on “D” after watching game tapes of the whole season! Good luck, he’s a nice guy, and I hope he does well, but we won’t miss him. When the German centerback World Cup player played along side of him and told him constantly what to do he was decent, after the German got hurt and retired, Berry was all down hill! Sorry can’t recall German player name. Bob B.

      • Hate to say I agree with someone who can’t remember Arne Friedrich’s name, yet positions himself as a season ticket holder. But, I bet Berry’s out of the league in a couple of years. Good college player (read athletic), but lacks the soccer skills & IQ for the pros.

      • I talked to Frank Yallop at the Fire Xmas party. The first thing we agreed on was that the team failed to make the playoffs last year because of the number of goals we gave up. It was obvious that the defense needed an overhaul. I agree that Berry looked pretty good next to Arne 2 years ago but not nearly as good last season. And the Fire needed someone (like Hurtado) to be an organizer in the back. Baky has more experience and is a stronger player (but also not an organizer) so Berry was the one to go. Yallop knows what he’s doing and obviously has the full support of ownership.

      • Hell, I.m old, and my memory isn’t as good as it should be…and I was too lazy to look it up. Hey, it’s be kind to old farts weeks…didn’t you know! And besides I go all the way back to the beginning of Pro Soccer in Chicago…the Chicago Spurs and the Chicago Mustangs, way before the Chicago Sting! There is lot of memories and players to remember. By the way Arne Friedich never lived up to his reputation here and seemed to be on “vacation” more than at practice or game ready on a regular basis. P.S. He really injured himself skiing on holiday and was never the same…he “retired” because he was ashamed of taking the money and sitting home in Germany watching the games ion the internet. He couldn’t rehab in Chicago….didn’t fit his lifestyle.

  7. This is a good example showing how much timing matters. I have to believe Berry had more value before the Fire had a “wealth of centerback options”.

    • yeah, but they probably wouldn’t have been willing to trade him until they had said “wealth of options”, so that higher value was not able to be realized. If they could have worked both moves at once, that would have worked out well, but there’s the third move of resigning magee

  8. Agreed. Great move by the Union, and Fire still looking very solid given their earlier pick-up of Hurtado. Win-win for both sides, at least on paper.


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