It took George Heitz almost half a decade, but it seems he finally figured out how to have a successful MLS offseason!
The Fire have checked off several boxes off their to-do list after missing out on the playoffs as usual, from acquiring the long-awaited proven DP Striker, Bringing in a USMNT Midfielder, opening up DP spots, offloading underwhelming players, and more.
The offseason additions started with a couple intra-league moves, something the Fire could have done a better job of utilizing in past years. The intra-league moves include acquiring a full back upgrade in Andrew Gutman in return for giving Colorado Miguel Navarro and a little less than $500,000 in GAM Money. The ‘Men in Red’ also bolstered the depth at the striker position, adding MLS-experienced Tom Barlow in return for giving NYRB $250,000.
Then came the acquisition of Tobias Salquist and Allan Arigoni, a pair of starter-quality defenders with proven careers in respectable European leagues. See this article for more info about those moves if you aren’t familiar with the names. Shortly after came the addition of defender Chase Gasper in a very team-friendly trade in which the Fire only gave away a 2026 3rd round draft pick and don’t even have to cover the full salary.
Cuypers came at a high price-tag ($12M) but for good reason, as he netted a total of 34 goals in the 22-23 season for Belgian side KAA Gent and has had incredible success in the UEFA Europa Conference League. It’s no secret we’ve struggled with having a consistent #9 and Hugo provides exactly this. He isn’t the flashiest player with entertaining skill moves or out of box rockets, but he’s extremely clinical in the box and has great positioning. He comes to Chicago at 27 years old and will hopefully provide goals for years to come.
Now as for Kellyn Acosta, if your on Fire fan Twitter, Reddit, Instagram, etc. then chances are you heard of the Kellyn Acosta rumor when it first surfaced a little over than a month ago. It’s finally come to fruition, and while it’s yet to be officially announced, he’s already with the team and there’s been several confirmations that the Fire have landed him. Kellyn is the classic box to box midfielder that every MLS team can benefit from having, and just like the DP9, its a role that the fire have finally found their guy in. Acosta has 58 appearances for the US National Team, and nearly 250 apps in the MLS with close to 40 goal contributions in those appearances. He’s been with several MLS clubs, that being LAFC, Dallas, and Colorado. He’s been good for all three clubs.
To top it off, in order to be in line with the maximum MLS Roster size, the Fire have gotten rid of Jairo Torres via mutual termination (Opens up a YDP spot), and are most likely going to get rid of the underwhelming Przybylko and Frenchman Souquet.
The season is yet to start, and there’s never any guarantees in this sport, but to say the least the Fire have done an excellent job this offseason and are leaving us fans with a good amount of optimism that improvement will be there and that the team will comfortably make the playoffs.