Chicago – The Chicago Fire acquired Philadelphia Union Striker, C.J. Sapong via trade over the weekend. The move sends $450k in allocation money to Philadelphia.
Sapong had fell out of favor in Philadelphia, as new Sporting Director, Ernst Tanner, took over the team. With Marco Fabian’s inclusion, and the stated idea of playing in a 4-4-2 diamond, Sapong’s began to fall further and further out of the picture.
C.J. Sapong traded to Chicago Fire
Sapong joined the Union via trade after four years with Sporting KC. Sapong won Rookie of the Year in 2011 with Sporting, and scored 20 goals in 110 appearances with the club. Sapong’s trade to the Union came on the backs of Dom Dwyer’s breakout as their main man up front, and the acquisition of Krisztian Nemeth further put Sapong out of place in Kansas City.
Sapong scored 36 times in 123 appearances with the Union, including 16 goals in the 2017 season that broke the Union’s all-time goal scoring record. That 16 goal season helped earn him some call-ups with the US Men’s National Team. He notably was the creator and assist to Weston McKennie’s first goal with the USMNT.
The total allocation money split for this transaction is relatively confusing but can go up to $500k in total allocation money should he hit certain performance objectives.
The Chicago Fire may not have needed a striker per say, they need a whole lot more on the wings and in the midfield. But, let’s just toy with the thought of Chicago moving to a 4-4-2 in 2019. Sapong and Nikolic would form a pretty physical and formidable duo up top. Nikolic has scored 39 goals in 65 appearances, and is easily one of the most prolific strikers in the league. How the two would be able to work together up top remains to be see though.
Sapong and Nikolic are much alike. However, Sapong does have the ability to move around and create things on his own, while Nikolic is a finisher and a poacher within the 18 yard box. Sapong’s ability to at times drift out wide and take defenders with him would free up Nikolic with more space.
Obviously we’ll have to let 2019 play out to see whether or not this is a good trade. Sapong has a new home, and Philly have some new cash. So let’s see what comes of it.