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CHGO Fire Notebook: Offor traded as MLS transfer window closes, Heitz speaks, and more!

Patrick McCraney Avatar
August 5, 2022

The MLS transfer window closes today, and it doesn’t appear the Chicago Fire are bringing in any first team help. With both Wyatt Omsberg and now Carlos Terán out with injuries, the club was in the market for a right footed centerback, but didn’t get a deal done.

A source tells CHGO the domestic market was tough, and most teams weren’t willing to part with surplus defenders for what the Fire could pay under the salary cap. The club feels Mauricio Pineda is a good option going forward while Omsberg and Terán get healthy, and with both guys coming back, they felt overpaying for short-term help was a bad idea.

We’re also hearing the Fire are still interested in Danish centerback Tobias Salquist, and could go after him again this winter. For now, they’ll make a playoff push with Pineda alongside Rafael Czichos, with Kendall Burks, Boris Sekulic or even Jonathan Bornstein able to step into that right-sided centerback role if necessary.

Offor traded to Montreal

As MLSsoccer.com’s Tom Bogert first reported, the Fire traded Chinonso Offor to CF Montreal for $325k in General Allocation Money at the deadline. Offor, who is Nigerian, joined the Fire from FK Rigas Futbola Skola in Latvia, and has one of the wildest stories you’ll ever hear in his journey to MLS. He struggled for playing time in Chicago, and never made the impact the Fire had hoped. The move frees up cap space next season, and frees up an international spot.

Heitz Speaks

Sporting Director Georg Heitz spoke to the media on Wednesday, following the announcement that the club sold Gaga Slonina to Chelsea for a club record $15 million. Slonina will return on loan for the remainder of the 2022 MLS season, before heading to West London over the winter. At 18, it’s unlikely he’ll compete for a starting role at Stamford Bridge anytime soon, so he may end up going on loan yet again, and it’s not out of the question that he’d return to the Fire.

“We bought some time now due to the fact that we loaned him back,” Heitz said. “Of course, it is a great idea to also maybe loan him for the 2023 season, but this is to be discussed, also, with Chelsea, of course. We haven’t discussed it so far.”

Heitz was, not surprisingly, asked several questions about the Slonina transfer, but he also weighed in on a number of other topics. He said he likes the job Ezra Hendrickson is doing as head coach, and praised his three designated players–Xherdan Shaqiri, Jairo Torres and Gastón Giménez–after a question regarding their contributions in relation to their salaries.

Heitz wouldn’t bite when we asked him to evaluate his own performance, however.

“I don’t want to assess myself,” he said. “I think that’s not my role here. Other people have to do this, maybe you from the media.”

NYCFC Game Moved to SeatGeek Stadium

The Fire have five home matches left in 2022, and now three of them will be played at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview. Two were previously announced because of conflicts with the Bears schedule–Sept. 10 vs. Inter Miami, and Oct. 9–the regular season finale–vs. the New England Revolution.

Today, the club announced the Aug. 21 game vs. NYCFC will also move to Bridgeview, because the pitch is expected to be in bad shape after a Bears preseason game and a Bad Bunny concert. It’s not ideal, but it’s also not a terrible move–last season the field was various degrees of poor during the Bears season, with the pitch conditions in a 0-0 draw with Nashville SC absolutely horrible. For those who miss seeing the Fire play in Bridgeview, you’ll now have three chances to see them play there this season.

Ezra’s Arsenal vs. Gaga’s Chelsea

Ezra Hendrickson at Fire training this week – Courtesy of the Fire

As the Premier League season kicks off this weekend, Ezra Hendrickson is getting ready to cheer on his beloved Arsenal. Hendrickson is a die-hard Gooner, so we asked what he’ll do if Slonina starts for Chelsea in a match against Arsenal.

“I love Gaga but I love Arsenal even more, so it will be Arsenal,” Hendrickson said with zero hesitation, and a smile. “It will be Arsenal.”

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