BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- Shortly after Thursday’s first stage of the MLS Re-Entry Process, Fire head coach and Director of Soccer Frank Yallop made his first trade in his new role dealing midfielder Daniel Paladini's rights to the Columbus Crew in exchange for a fourth round selection in next month’s MLS SuperDraft.
In three seasons with the Fire, the 29-year-old midfielder tallied four goals and six assists across 58 games, often proving a reliable reserve when the likes of Logan Pause, Pavel Pardo or Jeff Larentowicz were suspended or injured.
With a new coach in tow though, Paladini’s departure seems to have come down to a numbers game, more in terms of age between he and Brazilian midfielder Alex.
“The positions they play are the same,” Yallop told Chicago-Fire.com Thursday. “Danny’s been here for three seasons and Alex is up and coming and turns 25 in a few days. I wanted to give Alex a real good go at the club and obviously Danny is one of the favorites here but I felt for him to try and make himself a starter in the league -- I didn’t see it happening with us.”
Yallop also said the salary budget maneuvering he’s undertaken since starting the job in late October was a smaller consideration in the deal.
“Daniel’s not a really high cap number but we have a view towards some younger guys coming in and I’d rather give them a chance and I didn’t see him as a starter. Columbus came in and said they wanted him so I felt ‘let’s try to get the player to where he wants to be in terms of time and salary.’”
Reached for comment Thursday, Paladini was gracious when speaking about his time at the Fire, the club that brought him back into MLS after spending two years at the second division level with the Carolina RailHawks.
“This is our business,” Paladini told Chicago-Fire.com on Thursday. “The Fire will always have a place in my heart and I’ll cherish my time with the club. Chicago has a great, passionate fan base that never failed to show me their support. I’m thankful for the friendships and experiences I’ve gained there but I’m also excited for what the future holds.”