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Coming Full Circle: Wells Thompson, Jeff Larentowicz, Yazid Atouba

01 March 4:30 pm

Coming Full Circle: Wells Thompson, Jeff Larentowicz, Yazid Atouba

By Jeff Crandall

It’s always interesting when things come full circle in MLS… Follow me if you will…

Take a ride back to last September when the Fire acquired midfielder Wells Thompson from Colorado in exchange for a conditional MLS SuperDraft selection.

The condition stated that if Thompson appeared in four of the team’s remaining regular season matches, the Fire would surrender their second round selection at the 2013 SuperDraft to the Rapids. He did and the Fire bid farewell to the pick.

Not so fast…


Wells Thompson: Trade Revolutionary?

Then consider the news out of the Denver Post today where Rapids President Tim Hinchey said Larentowicz was nearly traded to the Columbus Crew instead of the Fire.

Flash forward to the night before the MLS SuperDraft in Indianapolis when the teams did another deal, this time with the Fire acquiring central midfielder Jeff Larentowicz as well as the same second round pick they’d surrendered to the Rapids (30th overall) in exchange for their first round selection (11th overall), an international roster spot and allocation money.

Apparently the Rapids had turned down “better offers” from other teams in order to grant Larentowicz his wish of coming to Chicago rather than Columbus.

One of the main pieces at play in that potential deal was the MLS rights to midfielder Robbie Rogers, which the Fire also ended up acquiring in the trade that brought Dilly Duka to Chicago.

Not the Fire or Rapids could have predicted Rogers would retire but beyond that, you almost wonder if the other part of the potential Crew/Rapids deal could have been Duka?

But I’m getting off topic here…

Things officially came full circle today when Yazid Atouba, the player selected with the 30th pick that went back and forth between the Rapids and Fire, officially signed with the Men in Red. Slightly unheralded at the SuperDraft, Atouba gained confidence in every preseason match and dazzled Fire fans towards the end. 

Certainly a pleasant surprise at #30 overall...

Take it all in and let me leave you with a few parting shots…

* Let me point out that this type of juicy “after-the-fact” trade possibility is something we just don’t hear about enough in MLS.

* It says something about the culture created internally when an MLS veteran like Jeff Larentowicz chooses to come to your club.

* Kudos to the Rapids for doing well by the player.

* Who knows who the Fire would have selected with the 11th overall pick but my safe money is on the fact that Yazid Atouba wouldn’t have been it.

* No offense whatsoever meant to Wells Thompson, but who’d have thought this all would have come from his slightly under the radar trade last fall?