The Chicago Fire have traded for former Philadelphia Union striker Kacper Przybylko (shuh-BILL-koh). The Fire will send Philadelphia $1.15 million in General Allocation Money that will be split across the next two seasons.
Philadelphia Union head coach and former Fire player Jim Curtin did confirm rumors of Przybylko’s departure earlier this week saying “[The rumors are] factual, but nothing is official.” Przybylko did not attend Union training beginning on Wednesday.
Rumors of Przybylko’s departure from Philadelphia began to swirl when the Polish striker did an interview last week in Polish revealing Chicago was interested in trading for him. Przybylko said Chicago wanted to offer him a three-year guaranteed deal and that he wanted the Union to accept the offer.
Fire Get MLS-Proven Striker
Przybylko has performed very well during his time in Philadelphia, scoring 35 goals and assisting on a further 14 during his three seasons with the club.
The Union have finished no worse than third in the Eastern Conference since Przybylko’s arrival and have won a Supporters’ Shield (2020) and appeared in a CONCACAF Champion’s League semifinal (2021).
The Fire have focused on building their back line so far this offseason. All four of the Fire draft picks were defenders and the club’s lone signing thus far is defender Rafael Czichos.
When asked about the Fire focusing on attacking positions moving forward, Fire head coach Ezra Hendrickson said, “Well, certainly.”
Hendrickson continued, “We’ve stacked up on a lot of defenders and our focus is to now complement that with some attacking players, some attacking quality…Hopefully we cross that line with these players that we are looking at shortly.”
How to Best Use Przybylko
Kacper Przybylko likely walks into the Fire first team that lost attacking players such as Robert Beric and Luka Stojanovic, among others. His goal contributions in Philadelphia are also good reason to start him.
But interesting stats from Sean Griswold highlight the potential best way to utilize Przybylko.
It seems Przybylko is best suited playing up top alongside another striker. His goals per game are double the same stat when playing as the sole striker. Who are candidates to play alongside the Fire’s newest player?
Chinonso Offor played the most at striker among players that were with the Fire last season. While Hendrickson will certainly give Offor a chance to prove he has grown, the striker only scored one goal in 1,320 minutes of play.
Another candidate is Jhon Jader Duran, the 18-year old Colombian striker who scored seven goals for Colombian side Enviago. The youngster comes to Chicago with plenty of promise and high hopes from Hendrickson.
“I think he’s going to score some goals for us this year,” Hendrickson said of Duran. “We could possibly play him on the wing, but he’s someone that we are going to look to be somewhere on the front three.”
Przybylko will not occupy a Designated Player spot nor an International spot.
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