The Fire reached out to MLS to see what was happening with Mexican star Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez. No luck. He would command an “astronomical” fee and isn’t coming to the United States.
The Fire still think there’s a chance for Wigan Athletic and Scotland midfielder Shaun Maloney, but he is reportedly close to joining the English Premier League’s Leicester City.
So the quest to sign their third Designated Player continues. They would like to fill that spot before the season begins March 6 against defending champion Los Angeles.
Coach Frank Yallop made it clear he wants to bring in another DP sooner rather than later.
“In talks with [chairman] Andrew [Hauptman], we want to use it right now and get this team moving and going in the right direction early,” said Yallop on Wednesday, one day before the MLS SuperDraft in Philadelphia. ‘‘We’re trying to use it now.”
Another DP signing would make a bigger splash than anyone the Fire could get in Thursday’s draft. Holding the seventh pick in what isn’t considered a great draft, the Fire will be trying to find another piece for their renovated roster.
The team has already signed David Accam and Kennedy Igboananike as their first two Designate Players and Yallop doesn’t want to make any panic moves.
“We’re trying to fill that spot, the third DP right now,” Yallop said. “Let’s hope we can.”
Chicharito or Maloney don’t have much in common but one trait they do share is that they are attacking players. So are Accam and Igboananike, the two biggest additions so far this winter, leading some to wonder whether the Fire still need to fortify the back line.
Yallop mentioned that center back is one position they could fill during the draft or the transfer market. That said, he didn’t single out the defense as an area of need, especially after the additions of Adailton, Joevin Jones, Eric Gehrig and Homegrown player Patrick Doody.
“I’ve thought we’ve done a good job of making sure that we’ve covered all our bases, done it early and tried to get ahead of the curve,” Yallop said. “I think that’s the big thing. We want to hit the ground running.”