Put this one in the file folder labeled “Long Overdue.”
The Chicago Fire announced Wednesday it has reached an agreement with Brazilian striker Gilberto to terminate his contract.
He last played for the Fire May 21 and reportedly was held out of team training sessions when it reconvened after a one-week Centenario break. Gilberto, 27, recorded two assists in nine appearances this season for the Fire, which had claimed him on waivers a year ago after he’d been released by Toronto FC. Chicago acquired Gilberto after getting allocation money in a trade with Montreal for the rights to Didier Drogba, who had rebuffed the Fire’s efforts to sign him via the discovery process.
Gilberto came to MLS in 2014 and in 28 appearances for TFC scored seven goals and registered five assists, but was sent on loan to Vasco da Gama after the team acquired Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco prior to the 2015 season. Those deals pushed TFC over the limit of three DPs per team and triggered the loan move.
Not until later in the 2015 season did MLS unveil the mechanism by which a new asset, targeted allocation money, could be used to buy down player contracts to fit under the DP threshold. That really wasn’t a viable option for TFC, since Gilberto’s salary in 2015 was $1.2 million.
Chicago claimed him after his loan ended and he was productive for the Fire, tallying five goals and two assists, but his playing time ebbed in the wake of Veljko Paunovic being hired to replace Frank Yallop as head coach.
His departure opens up a Designated Player slot and international spot on the Fire roster. Chicago hosts San Jose on Friday.
RETURN TO THE WINDY CITY. Fire fans and players could be confronted by familiar faces on Friday. Forwards Quincy Amarikwa and Chad Barrett count Chicago among their former clubs.
Just over a year ago in a trade with Chicago Amarikwa, 28, returned to the Quakes, which had selected the UC Davis product with a third-round pick in the 2009 SuperDraft. He was traded to Colorado and played a few months in Toronto before signing with Chicago at the start of the 2013 season. Since coming back to San Jose he’s scored seven goals and registered seven assists in 29 games (all starts).
Barrett, 31, started his pro career with Chicago as the No. 3 overall pick in the 2005 SuperDraft and is the quintessential journeyman who has been able to produce. He’s scored 58 goals in 262 appearances for the Fire, Toronto FC, Galaxy, Revs, Sounders, and Quakes. He came off the bench last weekend to score a late equalizer against the Galaxy that was his second goal of the season.
The Quakes weren’t able to win after forward Chris Wondolowski left in late May to join the U.S. team for the Copa America Centenario, but they lost only one of four games and tied the other three. Wondo leads the team with seven goals.