Breaking news came out of the Fire camp today that Whitecaps center back Christian Dean has signed with the Men in Red for roughly $100,000 in general/targeted allocation money.
Dean, who was the third overall pick in the 2014 MLS Superdraft, has struggled to make his mark in the MLS, only managing 21 total appearances over the span of four seasons in Vancouver. With this move, the Fire hope to add some security to the back line as crunch time approaches, and are hoping to help Dean regain the form he displayed during his collegiate career at Cal.
Personally, I think this was a good move by the front office. Dean showed heaps of promise in his first three seasons at Cal, which ultimately gave him the opportunity to enter the draft after his Junior season. He clearly hasn’t shown the type of talent that was expected of him, but he also went through a rough patch of injuries that hindered his ability to make strides towards fulfilling that potential. Even coming into this season he was a part of the Whitecaps’ plans at the back, making four starts to kickoff the year, but was eventually deemed surplus to requirements by Manager Carl Robinson.
GM Nelson Rodriguez has already come out and said he expects Dean to compete for playing time from the get-go, which I believe will be the perfect fit for him. He’s walking into an established lineup that is fighting at the top of the league, which will not only give him the added bonus of being immersed in a hungry, talented squad, but will also simplify his role altogether; instead of having the pressure that comes with being a “flop” within the club that drafted him, he can reestablish himself as someone that can make a lasting contribution to a top team fighting for real success.
This could come in the form of better training for the starting eleven, entering games in key circumstances where a lead is being threatened in the dying moments, or even fighting for a starting place in the back line. In any sport, competition for spots is what makes teams great; hopefully a new addition such as Dean can boost the training level on a daily basis, and help push this team forward towards some silverware come season’s end.
Whatever the case may be, Dean is walking into a much better situation in Chicago than he had in Vancouver, and I think he and his new club will both benefit greatly from the move.