When Frank Yallop was brought in this offseason to run the show in Chicago, the first area he addressed was defense, sending Jalil Anibaba and Austin Berry away as he overhauled the main problem he saw in last year’s squad. In came Lovel Palmer, Patrick Ianni, and what seemed like the key to the rebuild: long-time Sounder Jhon Kennedy Hurtado. Twenty-three games (and only four wins) later, the overhaul’s proved a bust, with mistakes at crucial times undermining an otherwise respectable defensive record.
Passing the final judgement on his offseason rebuild, Yallop traded Hurtado on Friday, accepting allocation money from Chivas USA in return. While it’s difficult to judge a deal when the dollar numbers are unknown, you almost never see a key, wanted piece of a team’s puzzle traded for mere allocation. With a move to Carson, it’s clear: Hurtado is no longer a key for Chicago.
“We felt this was a good opportunity to gain additional allocation money that will allow for flexibility moving forward,” Yallop said, via the club’s website.The question is where that flexibility will be put to use.
Maybe this has something to do with Jermaine Jones. Or maybe former Liverpool striker Florent Sinama Pongolle is about to ink a deal. With a roster spot and a good chunk of change opened up (at least, salary-wise), there are a number of possibilities, one of which is that Hurtado, independent of any other deal, just wasn’t in the plans going forward.
It’s a reasonable choice, given what we’ve seen from Hurtado. The only striking part about the move is the 180 – a complete change of mindset from the one that acquired the Colombian this winter.
In making this swap, Yallops offering a tacit mea culpa. He messed up. His solutions failed to address the problem.
Now, in the face of a 4-6-13 record, best to approach Hurtado as a sunk cost. Chivas USA was willing to hope for better. For Yallop and Chicago, it was time to move on.