Fire

David Accam admits there are 'a lot of offers' for him, but doesn't give a hint about his future

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USA TODAY

David Accam admits there are 'a lot of offers' for him, but doesn't give a hint about his future

The drama surrounding David Accam may not be going away anytime soon, but while getting grilled by reporters about his future after Saturday's win against New England, he made it sound more likely that he could stay at least through the end of the season with the Fire.

After coming off the bench, and scoring, in each of the past two matches, Accam started and played 65 minutes in the 4-1 win against the Revolution. He admitted to some frustration over not starting those matches, but was happy to be back in the lineup again.

“You want to play every game,” Accam said. “For me, I’m just happy I came back today and helped the team.”

The Fire winger has created some drama in recent weeks with comments about how he was upset about being left off the MLS All-Star team by coach Veljko Paunovic, who selected 11 of the players on the roster. The story continued when his request to be sold abroad was reported.

When he also came off the bench last weekend in Kansas City that only fanned the flames of the rumors. The latest report comes out of Germany, where kicker is reporting Bundesliga club Hannover have made an offer for Accam.

On Saturday though, Accam returned to the starting lineup and helped the Fire snap a three-match winless streak. When asked about what changed with Accam since he came off the bench the last two weeks, Paunovic didn’t directly respond.

“We believe that the guys who are ready to perform and to give us performance obviously, but give us what we need in order to win the games,” Paunovic said. “We choose these guys to play. It’s always about the team. It’s always about trying to do our best to win.”

Accam said that the Fire have picked up his contract option for the 2018 season. That was largely a formality at this point because the Fire weren’t about to let him go for free and having him under contract for another year will give the team more leverage in any negotiations with a club outside MLS.

“It shows their commitment to me, that they really want me to be here,” Accam said. “For me, I’m happy they’re taking my option for next year. Just concentrate on the team and help the team win MLS Cup.”

Accam also admitted that there are offers for him. While he wouldn’t say if he wanted to leave, Accam’s words after Saturday’s game make it sound more possible than before that he will at least finish this season with the Fire.

“I’ll be honest there’s a lot of offers from teams,” Accam said. “For me it shows that I’m doing really well. I’m playing well. I’m playing on a good team and that’s just a testament of what we’re doing here. My performance is showing and we’re winning games so for me my head is still here and the rumors will always be there.”

Fire's protected list for expansion draft hints at possible moves

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USA TODAY

Fire's protected list for expansion draft hints at possible moves

The MLS offseason doesn't take long to get in gear.

The Fire traded Arturo Alvarez earlier on Sunday, the same day which the list of protected players was to be announced ahead of Tuesday's expansion draft for Los Angeles FC.

LAFC will take five players in the expansion draft, which is set for 1 p.m. on Tuesday. A team can only lose one player. Each team can protect 11 players and homegrown players aren't eligible for selection. For the Fire that means Drew Conner and Djordje Mihailovic can't be taken.

The Fire protected David Accam, Jonathan Campbell, Johan Kappelhof, Dax McCarty, Nemanja Nikolic, Juninho, Matt Polster, Richard Sanchez, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Luis Solignac and Brandon Vincent.

While Sanchez and Schweinsteiger are out of contract, the Fire have said they are negotiating with both players. Protecting Juninho is a bit of a surprise because it implies that the Fire have some intention of keeping him for next year, or at least keeping his rights to be traded.

The Fire left David Arshakyan, Jorge Bava, Brandt Bronico, Stefan Cleveland, Jorge Corrales, Michael de Leeuw, Christian Dean, Daniel Johnson and Matt Lampson unprotected. De Leeuw would be a worthwhile pickup for LA if it thinks he is worth it after his ACL tear suffered late in the season.

With only five players being selected it's fairly likely no Fire players are taken by LAFC, but it's arguable that de Leeuw will end up being one of the best five players available. The 31-year-old tied for the team lead with eight assists and scored three goals.

Fire open offseason by sending Arturo Alvarez home

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USA TODAY

Fire open offseason by sending Arturo Alvarez home

And they're off.

MLS Cup finished just last night with Toronto completing arguably the best season in league history, but the offseason doesn't wait long to get going. The Fire took advantage of Sunday's short trade window before Los Angeles FC's expansion draft takes place on Tuesday by trading Arturo Alvarez to the Houston Dynamo.

Alvarez, a Houston native, gets to go home and could finish his career with the Dynamo. The Fire received a second-round pick in the 2019 draft.

Alvarez, 32, made 55 regular season MLS appearances with the Fire in two years. He had five goals and nine assists in 2016, leading the team in assists. This past season he saw his minutes get nearly cut in half although he did regain a regular spot in the team towards the end of the season and finished with three goals and two assists.

“Arturo had perhaps his two best years wearing our red and we appreciate all that he gave to our club,” Fire general manager Nelson Rodríguez said in the team's statement. “We saw this as a chance to allow him to return home while opening up his minutes for some other players.”

The question is which players Rodriguez is referring to. Alvarez played primarily at right midfield, frequently cutting inside with his dangerous left foot. Two players come to mind as possible fill-ins already on the roster: Daniel Johnson and Brandt Bronico.

Johnson was the Fire's first-round pick in the 2017 draft and showed flashes of ability, but dealt with injuries through much of the season and made eight substitute appearances totaling 125 minutes. He is a wide player, but was the opposite of Alvarez, typically playing on the left and cutting in on his right foot.

Bronico was the 2017 third-round pick and made only four sub appearances adding up to 53 minutes played. With such limited action it was difficult to gauge whether he could be a wide midfielder or should be played centrally. Either way, with Alvarez gone and Michael de Leeuw and Djordje Mihailovic out for the first few months of 2018 with ACL tears, both Johnson and Bronico will have opportunities the way the roster is currently constructed.

More news is due later today with the expansion draft set for Tuesday. The Fire will announce the 11 players they are protecting. Homegrown players (Drew Conner and Mihailovic) won't need to be protected. The Fire have 17 others players that will be eligible for the expansion draft.