Chicago Fire: Trading Mo Adams another step in wrong direction

TORONTO, ON - April 28 In first half action, Toronto FC forward Sebastian Giovinco (10) and Chicago Fire midfielder Mo Adams (19) battle for the ball.Toronto FC (TFC )tied Chicago Fire 2-2 in MLS soccer action at BMO Field in Toronto.April 28, 2018 (Richard Lautens/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - April 28 In first half action, Toronto FC forward Sebastian Giovinco (10) and Chicago Fire midfielder Mo Adams (19) battle for the ball.Toronto FC (TFC )tied Chicago Fire 2-2 in MLS soccer action at BMO Field in Toronto.April 28, 2018 (Richard Lautens/Toronto Star via Getty Images) /

By trading away a player like Mo Adams, the Chicago Fire are making yet another mistake that will only further disappoint their ever-shrinking fanbase.

Mo Adams was supposed to be the future of the Chicago Fire midfield.

After being taken with the tenth pick in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft, hopes were high. He impressed early on in his rookie campaign, famously shutting down Ignacio Piatti when the Montreal Impact came to town at the start of the season. It would be a bumpy ride for the rest of the year, but the Englishman made the most of the opportunities provided to him.

Adams came into his sophomore year ready to build upon his past success, and he had another electric performance to start the season, man-marking Kaku as the Fire beat the New York Red Bulls. He played a key part in Chicago getting a draw away to Toronto FC the next week and it seemed like everything was starting to click.

However, things just sort of fell apart soon after. Adams was forced to settle for a spot off the bench in most games, and his role only continued to diminish in the team. His last appearance came about three weeks ago in a home draw to Real Salt Lake, where the Englishman was unlucky to give away a penalty for a handball. Since then, Chicago has only picked up three points in four games, with Adams getting a grand total of zero minutes on the field.

Now, it seems his time with the Fire is over, as reports have indicated that the Men In Red are trading him away to reigning MLS Cup champions Atlanta United. It’s not clear what Chicago will be getting in return, but no possible haul will suddenly make this trade a good one.

Chicago doesn’t have much depth on the roster. That is especially true in the middle of the park, proven by the fact that Fabian Herbers, usually a forward, has been forced to play as a central midfielder in the past few games. The usual suspects were unavailable, with Brandt Bronico busy slotting in at right-back while Djordje Mihailovic was out with the U.S. Men’s National Team at the Gold Cup. Meanwhile, the core is not getting any younger. Dax McCarty is already 32 years old and is nearing the final years of his career and Bastian Schweinsteiger is considered a defender as much as a midfielder now.

That’s why this move makes such little sense. He wasn’t quite the finished product just yet, but the promise was there for everyone to see. Adams loved to put in a tackle and defended with pride and passion. That allowed him to win back the ball often and disrupt opposing attacks. He could even chip in offensively; he is an underrated passer and dribbler. Adams should have had a prominent role in this team, both in the present and future. Now he is not at the club at all.

Unfortunately, this is another case of head coach Veljko Paunovic wasting away the potential of a young player. He might’ve won a World Cup at the U-20 level with his native Serbia, but the Fire boss hasn’t been able to help grow any youngsters while in Chicago. The list of players that have either left or been shipped away by Paunovic is long and haunting.

Joey Calistri was the first prominent example of this. The Northwestern alumni scored goals for fun at the collegiate level but never got his chance with the Fire. Collin Fernandez was let go on the same day, and a few months later, Jon Bakero was traded away even though he was the fifth pick in the SuperDraft that very year.

More from MLS Multiplex

This past offseason was the worst by far. The young and dynamic full-back pairing of Matt Polster and Brandon Vincent were both gone, with the former joining Scottish side Rangers and the later simply choosing to retire. Even important role players the year before were forced out as the likes of Jonathan Campbell, Daniel Johnson, and Drew Conner were all released by the Fire.

Even those still at the club are suffering under Paunovic. Diego Campos, who was a part of the same draft class as Adams, now finds himself stuck on the bench after nonsensically being converted into a right-back. Elliot Collier is out on loan once more and might never play for the Fire again. Even Djordje Mihailovic, who was supposed to be Chicago’s beacon of light at the end of the tunnel, has been negatively impacted in recent months. Instead of improving, his career trajectory has stuttered. He is visibly frustrated because of it. The Chicago Fire simply cannot get any usage out of young players with Paunovic at the helm, which has hurt the team no end.

The most disappointing part of this trade is that yet another fan favorite is being shipped away. Adams was someone the Fire fan base loved to root for — the sheer amount of tweets from supporters wishing him the best of luck in his future since the news broke is evident of that.

‘I’m definitely disappointed,’ said Jake Payne, co-founder of Chicago supporters group Black Fires. ‘Adams is an absolute favorite of ours because of his work ethic, his skill, and his potential. It’s a shame that the front office didn’t think the same, because he is definitely someone who should be seeing the field somewhere. I really appreciate what he’s given to the club, so I hope he has the amazing career we all know he can have, and I think the front office is making another giant mistake in trading him away.’

dark. Next. Chicago Fire Vs FC Cincinnati 3 things we learned

At the very least, Chicago Fire fans can take some solace from the fact that Adams will now get to play under a competent head coach and front office, which is what a player of his ability deserves. The less said about what he leaves behind, however, the better.