Magee a no-show at Fire training camp; Berry, Puppo gone
BY BRIAN SANDALOW For Sun-Times Media February 24, 2014 10:40PM
Updated: February 25, 2014 12:04AM
The Fire bid goodbye to Austin Berry and Federico Puppo on Monday but would like to say hello to high-scoring Mike Magee, who remains a no-show at training camp.
Magee, the reigning MLS MVP, is in the Chicago area and not at the team’s Tucson, Ariz., camp. A report Monday said he was holding out for a better contract. Acquired last year from the L.A. Galaxy for the rights to Robbie Rogers, Magee had 15 goals in 22 appearances for the Fire, getting himself back on the radar of the national team.
According to a team spokesperson, Magee was part of a marketing tour last week and was scheduled to come back to camp last Tuesday, but he went back to the Chicago area. The team said it was for a “personal reason.” Magee’s contract runs through the 2015 season.
When reached for comment Monday, Magee said he was in the gym and unable to talk.
Meanwhile, the Fire freed salary-cap space by dealing Berry, the 2012 rookie of the year, to the Philadelphia Union for allocation money and reaching a mutual agreement with Puppo to terminate his contract.
Berry played 34 games for the Fire last season and scored once. But the Fire acquired fellow central defenders Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and Patrick Ianni from the Seattle Sounders, perhaps squeezing out Berry and pushing the team closer to the salary cap.
In a statement, coach Frank Yallop said the move “was necessary in order to get to cap compliant by March 1.”
For Puppo, it had been clear that he was leaving the team. A forward, Puppo made 12 appearances for the Fire in 2012 before being loaned to the Uruguayan team Defensor Sporting. The next year he was loaned to Ecuador’s LDU Quito.
On the team’s Twitter feed, technical director Brian Bliss hinted at more similar moves.
“This is one of several moves that needed to be made in terms of some older contracts with guys no longer on the team,” Bliss wrote.
In a separate statement, Yallop said “parting ways with Puppo allows us to get closer to cap compliance. We wish Federico well.
“I want to express my thanks to ownership for this significant undertaking. It’s part of a number of difficult moves which help our team going forward.”
Bradley, McBride named Hall of Famers
Former Fire coach Bob Bradley and Buffalo Grove native Brian McBride were announced as members of the National Soccer Hall of Fame’s class of 2014.
Bradley was the Fire’s first coach and led them from 1998-2002. McBride retired in 2010 after spending the last three years of his career with the Fire, during which he scored 18 times.