In yet another move designed to bolster their attack, D.C. United has traded targeted allocation money and their natural 2019 3rd round draft pick to the Chicago Fire in exchange for Nigerian attacker Kennedy Igboananike. Igboananike, at 27, came to Chicago last season as a Designated Player, and has 11 goals and 4 assists spread across 49 appearances (38 starts). Paul Tenorio - a former Washington Post reporter now working with FourFourTwo USA and the Fire’s broadcast team - first reported the deal via Twitter:
Per multiple league sources, Chicago Fire has traded Kennedy Igboananike to DC United for TAM and conditional 3rd-rd draft pick.— Paul Tenorio (@PaulTenorio) July 29, 2016
In Chicago, Igboananike’s record has been a bit erratic. In 2015, he had 0 goals and 0 assists in his first 9 appearances with the Fire; he ended up scoring 7 goals and adding 3 assists in their final 21 games. In 2016, under new coach Veljko Paunovic’s new - and somehow more conservative - approach, Igboananike started the season off with 4 goals in 8 games. In the eleven games since then, he has 10 appearances (all starts) but 0 goals and 1 assist to show for his troubles.
That scoring record roughly matches his output in Sweden, where he played with Djurgarden, Vasalund, and AIK. Per Wikipedia, he had 64 goals in 168 appearances, though 18 of those strikes came in the 2nd division during his time with Vasalund.
Igboananike was advertised as a striker when he arrived, but both Paunovic and his predecessor Frank Yallop have used him as a winger in various five-man midfields or as a wide forward in a 433. Thanks in part to a Chicago team that is both struggling and a roster that is a work in progress, Igboananike has been shuttling across attacking positions of late. In recent games he has played as as a center forward as well as on both the right and left wings.
For United, who recently added Lloyd Sam to an already deep pool of wingers, Igboananike seems more likely to end up playing as a forward. Due to his speed, it’s safe to say that United has diversified their portfolio of strikers. New acquisition Patrick Mullins is more of an all-around option, while veteran Alvaro Saborio will offer United a target presence. Alhaji Kamara, currently dealing with a hamstring strain, will provide more of a goal-poacher’s presence once he returns to fitness. Most likely, Lamar Neagle will remain in the midfield now unless a severe injury crisis breaks out among the forwards.
United has room to add Igboananike, who will count as an international on United's roster, as they have recently added Kamara to the injured reserve. Kamara must sit out at least six games due to that designation, though it is currently unclear whether last week's game in Toronto counts toward that total. To remove Kamara from the IR after that, though, they'll have to acquire another spot, release a current international, or have one of them acquire a green card.