Chicago Fire continued its rebuilding process by sending Homegrown midfielder Harry Shipp to Montréal Impact on Saturday.
Montréal sent undisclosed amounts of general and targeted allocation money to the Fire in exchange for the 24-year-old midfielder.
The move represents the latest in a series of alterations designed to reshape the sputtering Fire under the guidance of general manager Nelson Rodríguez and coach Veljko Paunovic.
Shipp is an established performer in MLS after registering 10 goals and 14 assists in his two MLS seasons, but his departure reflects the desire to provide young playmaker Collin Fernandez with more opportunities and rely on quicker players to supply most of the impetus going forward. Look for the Fire to reinforce the attacking options ahead of opening day to compensate for Shipp's departure and provide more support for Gilberto.
"Pauno and I met with Harry on Saturday to give him the news," Rodríguez said in a statement. "Harry is a homegrown player and an obvious fan favorite, which makes this trade more emotional than most. However, we believe this trade will prove to be beneficial for our club and for Harry's career."
Shipp joins an Impact side with several options in support of returning linchpin Didier Drogba. He projects to compete for time on either flank with Dominic Oduro, Lucas Ontivero and Andrés Romero and provide another cultured option after the offseason departures of Dilly Duka and Justin Mapp.
Where Shipp fits exactly remains an open question. Montreal spent most of last season trying to play briskly toward Drogba or Oduro up front. Shipp's technical ability probably projects most neatly into a team willing to obtain and retain possession. If the Impact opt to keep the ball more reliably this season, then his skills -- particularly his incisive movements in the final third -- offer an intriguing alternative to the pieces already in house.
"We are very pleased to have been able to acquire Harry and we are looking forward to him joining our group," Impact technical director Adam Braz said in a statement. "He is a player who has already shown he can produce in this league and we feel that he will fit well into our team and into our style of play."