Fire trades Alex, adjusts to added bye week
With time on its hands because of a second consecutive unscheduled bye week, the Chicago Fire on Monday traded utility midfielder Alex to the Houston Dynamo for little-used forward Jason Johnson.
The Fire had a match scheduled for Wednesday night at New England, but that was rescheduled for June due to the international games set for this week. The match Saturday at Montreal was rescheduled for September because the Impact has advanced to the CONCACAF Champions League final, with the first leg April 22.
Fire coach and director of soccer Frank Yallop said on his weekly conference call Monday that MLS made the decision to move the Montreal match, giving the Fire no choice in the matter. The legue wants to give Montreal every advantage in the final.
The Fire will have three weeks between games by the time it plays again April 24 at Toyota Park. The Fire (2-3-0, 6 points) defeated Toronto FC on April 4 for its second straight victory.
"Ideally you don't want that," Yallop said, adding he's trying to make the best of the situation.
Yallop said he also wanted to do what was best for Alex. The Brazilian was one of the few remaining players acquired by the previous Fire front office.
The emergence of first-round draft pick Matt Polster, Naperville native Michael Stephens and the signing of Victor Perez from Spain made Alex available, Yallop said.
The speedy Johnson, 24, has yet to play this season. He had 1 goal and 0 assists in 2013. Alex had 3 goals and 2 assists in 76 MLS matches in the middle of the 2012 season.
"Maybe a change of scenery will help him," Yallop said of Johnson, adding the Fire will acquire some salary-cap space next season from the trade.
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