For weeks, it's been clear Dilly Duka's future lay outside of Columbus. It was just a matter of where the former first round SuperDraft pick would end up and when the deal would go down.
On Monday morning, a long-rumored trade with the Chicago Fire finally went public, as the Crew announced they'd sent Duka and the right of first refusal to free agent Robbie Rogers to the Chicago Fire in exchange for striker Dominic Oduro. Per league and team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“We’re pleased to have Dilly join our club,” Fire president of soccer operations Javier Leon said in a statement. “He’s a young player with potential and will provide us with depth on the wing. Additionally, to hold the rights to Robbie is great for the club. He’s an experienced player that would be a solid addition to our squad, should the opportunity arise. This was a very difficult decision, however, Dominic had expressed interest in pursuing an opportunity for a starting position. We thank him for all that he has done for the Fire and we wish him well as he takes the next step in his career.”
In the end, the deal made sense for both sides. The Crew acquire another forward to bolster their inexperienced front line – currently manned by Costa Rican Jairo Arrieta, first-round SuperDraft pick Ryan Finley, 2012 Supplemental Draft pick Aaron Schoenfeld and a pair of Homegrown players in Ben Speas and Aaron Horton – while the Fire picked up a talented, young midfielder in need of fresh start after injuries and sporadic production minimized his impact in Columbus.
Oduro lost his starting spot with the Fire to Designated Player Sherjill MacDonald, and has been clamoring for more playing time since the end of the 2012 season. He scored 18 goals and assisted on five more in 66 regular season games with Chicago, leading the club in scoring during the 2011 season with 12 goals. The Crew are Oduro's fifth MLS club in his seven-year career. As a green-card holder, he will not occupy a international roster spot.
“This is a deal we’ve been working on for some time and we’re thrilled to have finalized an agreement to bring Dominic to Columbus,” Crew technical director Brian Bliss said in a statement. “He’s a player with proven pedigree in our League, and his speed and scoring ability routinely put pressure on opposing defenses. We feel that Dominic is a strong fit for our roster and we’re excited about his contributions.”
The 23-year-old Duka scored two goals and dished out five assists in 45 career MLS appearances, but has seen his career held back by a variety of injuries after being taken eighth overall by the Crew in 2010. Rogers, a former MLS Best XI honoree and US national team player, is coming off an injury-riddled stint in England with Leeds United, where he made four appearances in 2012 before heading to League One side Stevenage FC on loan. He is currently a free agent.