As is our wont here at SB Nation's team sites, we like to take advantage of our friends with the poor taste to support other teams. One such friend is the editor-in-chief of Hot Time in Old Town, Sean Spence. With Patrick Nyarko making his way from Sean's Chicago Fire to our fair District, we reached out to him to get his take on the Fire's now-former longest-tenured player. Here's what he had to say.
Every couple of years or so, D.C. United plucks my favorite veteran off of the Chicago Fire's roster. If Chris Rolfe's career renaissance was any prelude - and Nyarko returns to his professional peak once he removes the Maltese Cross badge - you are going to be very, very happy with what you're getting.
Put simply, if Nyarko could finish, he'd be playing in Europe. He's a complete modern two-way winger.
Patrick's most elite skill is his frankly bizarre ability to pick his way through multiple defenders on the dribble. His dribbling style is highly improvisational, more a series of stabs than pure control. But Nyarko excels at beating everyone to the next stab, and the next, and the next, and suddenly there he is, a double-team in his wake as he sizes up the runs on goal.
The Ghanaian draws an incredible number of fouls in the final third, and was among the league assist leaders year after year before injuries ground him down with the Yallop-era Fire. He'll also put in a shift defensively - he's a clever tackler of the ball, covers a lot of ground up and down the right flank, and is generally loved by the right backs he's played with.
For downsides, I'd have to start with the tremendous beating Nyarko has received over the course of his MLS career. He's always been a guy who bounced right back up, but he's also getting to the age where athletes so blessed often seem to lose that blessing - was the knee injury a harbinger of a new Patrick who can't just shake it off? (Having said that, two things were striking about Nyarko's return from that injury: First, his offensive game was still effective even when Patty's first step was slow; and second, his quickness, speed and stamina seemed to grow from game to game with incredible rapidity.)
Finally, there's that finishing. Tee a simple chance up, and something strange happens. He's a provider, full stop.
If this transaction is a done deal (for more Targeted Allocation Money? Really?*), then it's another example of the DC braintrust getting MLS and knowing the market. If he stays healthy, you're gonna love you some Patty Nyarko.
*Do the Fire plan to buy all their DPs all the way down, and go with the ultra-rare 6 DPs/10 senior roster/5 homegrowns/6 randos roster breakdown? Who freakin' knows?