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Chicago Fire acquire utility man Nicolas Hasler, send Jon Bakero to Toronto FC

Nicolas Hasler has been traded by Toronto FC to the Chicago Fire a year after joining the Reds from FC Vaduz. (Tom Szczerbowski/USA TODAY Sports)

Toronto FC has traded utility man Nicolas Hasler to the Chicago Fire in exchange for rookie forward Jon Bakero and $50,000 of general allocation money.

Hasler, 27, joined TFC from FC Vaduz of the Swiss Super League last July. He made 26 MLS appearances, including two in last season’s playoffs, and scored three goals. Hasler is a versatile defender or midfielder who can operate in any position on the right flank and also in central midfield.

Bakero, 21, is the son of former Barcelona player José Mari Bakero. The Fire selected the striker with the fifth overall pick in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft. He has logged just 75 minutes of MLS action across four appearances so far this season.

The move represents something of a U-turn from the Fire, who sent allocation money and goalkeeper Matt Lampson to Minnesota United before the draft in order to trade up from the 15th pick to the fifth and select Bakero. The Spaniard was awarded the Hermann Trophy as the top male player in college soccer last year, scoring 16 goals in 23 games for the Wake Forest Demon Deacons.

“We want to thank Nico for his contributions to TFC over the past year,” Toronto general manager Tim Bezbatchenko said in a statement. “He was an important contributor to our championship season last year and our run in the Champions League this year. On and off the field, Nico is a class act.

“With this trade we acquire a forward in Jon Bakero who can provide us with some depth at that position while also clearing some cap space. Jon was the MAC Hermann Trophy winner last year, an intelligent soccer player and is a solid prospect that we are happy to add to our club.”

In a tweet, Bakero said: “I’m extremely excited to join Toronto FC for the next chapter in my career. Thank you for believing in me. Can’t wait to get started! I’m also grateful to the Chicago Fire for giving me my first opportunity as a professional player.”

Bakero earns $101,374, according to the MLS Players Association, but is eligible to be kept off TFC’s senior roster as a SuperDraft pick and therefore may not count against the salary cap. Hasler earns $147,666 and both players occupy an international slot.

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