Monday, March 30, 2015

Union trade for Chicago Fire defender Austin Berry

I've been told by a source with direct knowledge of the situation that the Union are finalizing a trade with the Chicago Fire for the 2012 MLS Rookie of the Year.

Union trade for Chicago Fire defender Austin Berry

Austin Berry (left) was Major League Soccer´s Rookie of the Year in 2012. (Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Austin Berry (left) was Major League Soccer's Rookie of the Year in 2012. (Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

Updated Tuesday morning with word of what the Union gave up in the deal.

There’s been a fair amount of chatter in recent days about the Union not having a central defender who’s quite good enough to start alongside Amobi Okugo. John Hackworth has even acknowledged that he’s done a bit of fishing to see what’s out there.

Well, Hackworth reeled in his catch on Monday. The Union have acquired Chicago Fire defender Austin Berry in exchange for allocation money.

It will have to be a lot of allocation money for the Union to not get the better of this deal, because Berry is a very good player. ESPN's Alexi Lalas reports that the amount in question was $100,000. If that's so, the Union still easily win the deal.

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The 25-year-old Louisville product stands 6-foot-2 and 188 pounds. He won MLS Rookie of the Year honors in 2012, after playing every minute of 29 games in his first season as a pro. Berry followed up his debut campaign with a strong 2013, playing every minute of all 34 regular-seasons games.

But he was deemed surplus to requirements after new Fire manager Frank Yallop brought in veteran defenders Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and Patrick Ianni this offseason. Chicago also needed to clear salary cap space in order to give reigning MLS MVP Mike Magee a raise.

Just as impressively, he has received just two yellow cards in each of his two seasons so far, and no red cards.

Assuming the deal goes through, here's what the starting lineup should look like on Opening Night:

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The Goalkeeper is your home for the latest news about the Philadelphia Union, Major League Soccer, U.S. national teams and the rest of the world's most popular sport. It's also a place for fans to gather and celebrate the culture of soccer and its unique place on the sports landscape.

Jonathan Tannenwald
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