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Atlanta United acquires Mo Adams via trade with Chicago Fire

Adams, primarily a defensive midfielder, also will provide depth at fullback for the Five Stripes.

Apr 24, 2019; New York, NY, USA; Chicago Fire midfielder Mo Adams (19) controls the ball against New York City FC at Yankee Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)
Apr 24, 2019; New York, NY, USA; Chicago Fire midfielder Mo Adams (19) controls the ball against New York City FC at Yankee Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)

ATLANTA  — Atlanta United has acquired defensive midfielder Mo Adams via trade with the Chicago Fire. In exchange, the Five Stripes sent $100,000 in general allocation money to the Fire, it was announced Wednesday.

Atlanta manager Frank de Boer Tuesday confirmed interest in Adams and offered an assessment of what he sees in the 22-year-old Englishman. With injuries to George Bello, Brek Shea and Mikey Ambrose, the Five Stripes are thin on depth at fullback. De Boer said Adams’ versatility could be an asset. 

“What we have now, a lack of players right now, it would be a help if we had some fresh legs,” the manager explained.

“I think he also has the qualities of a fullback, with his pace and aggressiveness. Maybe he’s not the guy who will go down the line 100 times like Franco [Escobar] can do, but I think he can still do a decent job. So I think we can rotate him, if the deal is done, with certain positions.”

Adams saw 485 minutes over 10 appearances — five starts — for Chicago in Major League Soccer play this season. He typically partnered with Dax McCarty in a 4-2-3-1 set-up, and his stat sheet shows the profile of a midfielder who is more active in defense than Atlanta’s Darlington Nagbe and Eric Remedi. Adams, listed at 5-foot-8 and 160 pounds, averaged 2.3 tackles per game for the Fire in 2019. Nagbe and Remedi each average 1.2 tackles per game in the Five Stripes’ 4-2-3-1.

“Mo is a talented, young player with the ability to play multiple positions for us,” Atlanta vice president and technical director Carlos Bocanegra said in a press release. “We like his versatility and his competitiveness will serve us well moving into the second half of the season.”

At least one player on Atlanta’s roster will be familiar with his new teammate. Adams played college soccer with center back Miles Robinson at Syracuse. Prior to his days with the Orange, Adams spent time with the Nottingham Forest and Derby County academies in England. The Fire selected Adams with the 10th pick in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft.

Adams has a green card and does not occupy an international slot on Atlanta’s roster.

Dan Santaromita, who covers the Fire for Pro Soccer USA, shared his take on Atlanta’s latest addition, noting a lack of consistency in Chicago was the reason for limited playing time.

“Adams is a solid, young defensive midfielder but needs to improve,” Santaromita said. “He has had some really good games where he has marked quality No. 10s out of games and had some games where key turnovers are costly.

“He covers a lot of ground and is very aggressive. Sometimes he commits too many fouls. He isn’t as strong of a connector, but that might be less important on Atlanta’s roster.”

Atlanta also waived Gordon Wild Wednesday. The Five Stripes selected Wild with the 37th pick in the 2018 SuperDraft out of the University of Maryland. The Leonberg, Germany, native came to Atlanta as a forward, but he had been working as a fullback this season.

Adams, who did not play in Chicago’s 5-1 romp over Atlanta July 3, is the third player to join the Five Stripes since the beginning of the season in February. Atlanta acquired winger Justin Meram via trade with the Columbus Crew in May. Midfielder Emerson Hyndman signed on loan from English Premier League side AFC Bournemouth earlier this month.

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