Fire make deal with Philadelphia to allow Alejandro Bedoya to join Union

Fire make deal with Philadelphia to allow Alejandro Bedoya to join Union

The chapter on Major League Soccer's notable player acquisitions that first required a trade of intangible assets just got a bit longer.

The latest U.S. Men's National Team player to join MLS is Alejandro Bedoya. The Philadelphia Union made a move for the 29-year-old midfielder on Wednesday, the final day before the summer transfer window closes. Bedoya has played his entire professional career in Europe since leaving Boston College in 2008.

Where the Chicago Fire come into play is through the league's often confusing allocation order. Bedoya, as a national team player, is subject to the allocation order. The Fire, as the worst team in the league last year, had the top spot in that order. That means that even if Bedoya was set on going to Philadelphia, the Fire still had some negotiating rights that were worth enough to force the Union to fork over some intangible assets.

The Fire, which confirmed the details of the deal later on Wednesday afternoon, acquired Philadelphia's first round pick in 2017, both general and targeted allocation money and discovery rights on a player not named. The teams also swapped spots in the allocation order, with the Union moving up from No. 2 to No. 1. The Fire will return to the top spot in the allocation order with Philly using the top spot to get Bedoya, but that won't mean much because the order resets in 2017 and today is the last day teams can add players from outside MLS.

“This move is directly tied to other deals today and transactions to be completed in the coming months that will allow us to execute our plan and realize our on-field goals," Fire general manager Nelson Rodriguez in the club's press release.

Earlier this year, the Fire traded the top allocation spot to the Colorado Rapids and in return moved up a few spots in the draft. Colorado used that spot in the allocation order to sign goalkeeper Tim Howard.

Chicago isn't hosting the 2026 World Cup, but fans should still be excited

Chicago isn't hosting the 2026 World Cup, but fans should still be excited

After failing to qualify to play in this summer’s World Cup, the United States’ pain was alleviated on Wednesday morning after earning a joint bid to host the 2026 World Cup.

But why is this bittersweet for Chicagoans?

Even though the World Cup will be hosted by the U.S., Mexico and Canada in eight years, matches will not be played in Chicago.

The city chose not to be one of the potential hosts of the world’s largest sporting event, despite using Soldier Field as a venue for the 1994 World Cup.

One of the reasons could be the low seating capacity of Chicago’s historic stadium. Soldier Field would be the second smallest spot out of any World Cup host option, seating only 61,500. The massive competition also draws enormous crowds, possibly causing logistical concerns for a highly-populated place like Chicago.

Ten out of 17 different cities in the United States will be gifted the opportunity to host 2026 World Cup games. The list includes Cincinnati (Paul Brown Stadium), Kansas City (Arrowhead Stadium) and Nashville (Nissan Stadium), which are the closest domestic locations to Chicago.

The bright side is that fans from the Midwest won’t have to travel very far to see a match. For bigtime soccer fans in the Chicago area, having the chance to attend world-class matches in United States could be exciting enough.

Out of the 80 games taking place in 2026, 60 of them will be located in the United States.

Can this bid with Mexico and Canada at least help the relevancy of U.S. Soccer in the Chicago area?

The U.S. men’s national team missed this year’s World Cup at a very unideal time, just when it seemed like the sport of soccer was gaining more and more popularity in the United States.

Plus, the United States might not even get an automatic bid to play in their own World Cup as hosts.

But becoming a member of the first trio in FIFA history to host the World Cup, coupled with the expanded 48-team field in 2026, could help the United States retain the fans they have across the nation and around Chicago.

The World Cup might not be coming to the Windy City, but Chicagoans will still have something to be excited about in 2026 with games being played right around the corner. If the U.S. can qualify for the upcoming World Cups, having the tournament in North America will be much sweeter.

Until then, the 2018 World Cup kicks off this Thursday night in Russia.

Ever wonder what a Portillo's soccer jersey would look like?


Ever wonder what a Portillo's soccer jersey would look like?

Portillo's has become a staple in the Chicagoland area due to its popular hot dogs, Italian beef sandwiches and now, its soccer jerseys.

OK, maybe one of these does not belong with the others. Regardless, Twitter user @JTHazzard created mock-up soccer jerseys mashing MLS teams and restaurants based in that team's city, and the Portillo's jersey is sweet. 

From the Portillo's logo taking center-stage to the picnic blanket pattern to the discrete Chicago Fire logo, this jersey is absolutely brilliant. The only change this writer would make is including the logo below instead.

Valspar is the current sponsor featured on the Fire's uniforms. If the team ever needs a new sponsor, though, Portillo's would be an excellent replacement.