The Chicago Fire on Monday announced it has traded third-year center back Austin Berry to the Philadelphia Union.
Berry, the 2012 MLS Rookie of the Year, was a first-round draft pick out of Louisville and a product of the Fire Academy.
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In exchange, the Fire will receive allocation money.
"This move was necessary in order to get to cap compliant by March 1," Fire coach and director of soccer Frank Yallop said in a statement released by the club. "We thank Austin for his service to the club over the past two years and wish him the best as he takes the next steps of his career."
Trading Berry, 25, was possible because the Fire acquired center backs Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and Patrick Ianni on Jan. 15 from Seattle in exchange for another young defender, Jalil Anibaba. Hurtado seems the best bet to pair with Bakary Soumare, reacquired via trade with Philadelphia last May, in the center of a new-look back line that has allowed just one goal this preseason.
Berry and Anibaba were the only players to play every minute of every MLS game for the Fire last season.
The Fire also announced the expected news that it has cut ties with forward Federico Puppo. The Uruguayan spent last season on loan in Ecuador after struggling to make an impact as a designated player in the first half of the 2012 season.
Dropping both players from the roster, especially Puppo, will help the Fire get its salary-cap situation under control ahead of the March 9 season opener at Chivas USA.
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