Fire adds midfielder Wells Thompson to boost depth
BY SETH GRUEN For Sun-Times Media September 10, 2012 8:58PM
Real Salt Lake v Colorado Rapids
Updated: October 12, 2012 6:18AM
When midfielder Marco Pappa left late last month on a transfer to SC Heerenveen, the financial compensation provided the Fire with some salary-cap relief ahead of the 2013 season. But it also raised questions as to how the Fire could compete for a playoff spot while thin at the outside midfield position.
Those questions were answered Monday when the Fire agreed to terms on a trade with the Colorado Rapids that sent midfielder Wells Thompson to the Fire in exchange for a conditional draft pick in either 2013 or 2014.
Thompson is expected to fill the super-sub role on the outside that was occupied by Rafael Robayo earlier this season. He also could see spot starts, should starters Patrick Nyarko and Alvaro Fernandez need time off.
Thompson comes with some baggage, having had a public dispute with first-year Rapids coach Oscar Pareja over his playing time. Thompson is not guaranteed to get starting minutes, but his attitude is welcomed by Fire coach Frank Klopas.
‘‘He knows the situation that he’s in, but also you want a guy that’s going to compete and not feel like he’s here because there are two guys playing in front of him,’’ Klopas said. ‘‘You respect that, but you also come in with the attitude that you want to be the guy that’s going to be starting the next game.’’
Klopas said the Fire might not be finished dealing for players. The MLS trade deadline is Saturday.
The Fire currently sits in fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings with 44 points. A win Wednesday in Toronto would vault the Fire into second place, three points behind conference-leading Sporting Kansas City.
Thompson is a piece that will help the Fire solidify its playoff position, but Klopas said the Fire might not be finished dealing for players. The MLS trade deadline is Saturday.
Klopas likes to build up play with his outside midfielders which causes them to be among the first to tire. Bringing in a fresh Thompson late in games will help the Fire sustain its attack.
“I could tell that I wasn’t in the future plans of the club and those are things that happen and you have to deal with and no hard feelings there,” Thompson said.
“It’s new and it’s exciting and it’s fun. I’m just excited to contribute any way the coaches want me to.”