The long rumored trade between Chicago and Columbus finally happens. The Crew pick up a needed attacking player, the Fire add some depth on the wing and it's a breath of fresh air for both players. The story doesn't end there though. The Fire midfield is crowded and a familiar Crew name is released.
With Duka leaving, Columbus now only have one player remaining that was picked during the 2010 and 2011 drafts in the top 30 (Justin Meram). If you look at MLS top 60 picks from 2010/11 drafts the Crew are second lowest in retention (NY-zero players) among teams with 5 or more picks since then (SEA, PHI, SJ, NE all have retained two or more from the 2010/11 drafts).
With this latest trade the Crew fall south of returning 60% of 2012 minutes. Only team returning less this year are the Colorado Rapids. For more on that topic and how it might impact 2013 go here.
Rich Balchan, a 2011 12th overall draft pick, had been trialing with Chicago this preseason after being released from Columbus late last year.
Balchan played 45 minutes, looked active and moved well during the Chicago v. Columbus scrimmage in Bradenton, Florida on January 30th, 2013. He will likely be picked up by another club soon.