BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- The Chicago Fire made further moves to open up space in the salary budget Thursday by sending forward Juan Luis Anangono on loan to Ecuadorian club LDU Quito.
Fire head coach Frank Yallop said the move had been in the works for a while.
“We’ve been talking over the last two months with Juan about his long-term future,” Yallop told Chicago-Fire.com. “Juan’s been in that situation where he wasn’t getting consistent minutes. Not to say he was unhappy, he wasn’t but he wanted to get first team soccer and play 90 minutes each week.
"He wasn’t getting that here.”
Anangono appeared in all 15 matches for the Fire this year but started only four after losing his spot to veteran MLS forward Quincy Amarikwa.
The Ecuadorian scored just two goals in league play but perhaps had his best performance in a Fire shirt last week, scoring two goals and setting up the winner in the team’s 4-2 extra time victory over the Columbus Crew in U.S. Open Cup play.
“I think for us it’s making sure to find places for our players to go play regularly,” Yallop said. “We’re looking forward to keeping tabs and monitoring his progress.”
With Amarikwa suspended after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season in Wednesday’s 1-1 draw vs. Toronto FC, Anangono’s loan, at least in the short term, will leave the Fire a bit thin up top for Sunday’s visit to Sporting KC with Mike Magee the only out-and-out forward available for selection in the match.
Leading Rookie of the Year candidate Harry Shipp, who's scored the team's last three league goals, has also played as a withdrawn forward this season and the move likely implies the club will be looking to add more in the attack going forward.
Yallop admitted the intricacies and long-term work that went into Anangono’s loan deal meant the timing wasn’t ideal for the Fire. It was however done with a view towards the opening of the MLS transfer window on July 8.
“It’s not great timing but the loan obviously frees up some cap space for us to make some moves when we can. Obviously each time you make a decision, you have to make another one to try and fill a gap.
"For us it gives us a chance to look outside of MLS for players because the window is coming up as well as look inside MLS. We want to make sure that we strengthen our team and look to the future with every move we make.”