Marking the Fire’s first new offseason addition, they have traded for RBNY Forward Tom Barlow.
The striker position is undoubtedly a category the Fire need to improve in, and while he isn’t exactly the star striker signing most fans are waiting for, adding an MLS-experienced forward in his prime could be good for depth.
Who is Tom Barlow?
Barlow, a 28 year old who is a St. Louis native, was drafted out of NCAA D1 powerhouse Wisconsin in 2018 by the New York Red Bulls, and he was first called up to the senior team the following year and has since appeared in 123 MLS games. In those 123 games, 50 were starts and 73 coming off the bench. Across his career in RBNY he has totaled 19 G/A for the team.
This year, he’s appeared in 37 games and has 5 goals and 2 assists. While that may not sound great, his 5 goals if they were for the Fire this season would have put him tied for second highest goal scorer, accompanying Kei Kamara and Shaqiri.
Barlow finished this season on form, netting two goals in the playoffs. One in the wild card match against Charlotte and the other was the lone goal in a 1-1 draw to Cincinnati.
Trade Details and Value
So what did the Fire have to give up for their new striker? According to The Athletic’s Tom Bogert, the New York Red Bulls will receive $400,000 in GAM (General Allocation Money), $250,000 of the $400,000 being paid upfront.
$400,000 in the grand scheme of things is not a big amount by any means, especially with MLS teams amping up their spending every year. If Barlow turns out to be a good bench piece that provides a handful of goals and proves to be a capable backup to injuries/fatigue then I would say the Fire are getting their fair value.
What To Expect From Him
He’s not expected to be the starter come week one, but he will probably be coming off the bench consistently and I would expect him to get a couple starts from US Open Cup games
And potential injury or fatigue issues. I personally don’t have high expectations for him as far as play time goes, maybe roughly 500 minutes in MLS play, so even just 3-4 goals and an assist or two on the season would mean he meets his expectations in my opinion.
While some people may be calling for a bigger signing and find themselves disappointed with the move, I don’t mind it, every championship caliber team has good depth and that’s what Barlow brings. Just because they signed Barlow, that doesn’t mean the Fire aren’t in pursuit of a DP #9 anymore!