Fans in New York have been celebrating the club's seventh NASL title since the season came to a close on Sunday, but the offseason has centered around the city of Ottawa thus far. Earlier on Friday, Marc dos Santos confirmed his new destination, while the fall champions named a new coach, and now we've got reports of a significant departure from the NASL runners-up.
According to Northern Pitch, who cover Minnesota United, Fury forward Tom Heinemann has inked a new two-year deal with the Tampa Bay Rowdies which will pay him around $150,000 per season. That agreement comes after United also offered the player a substantial deal, which would have paid about half of that total.
Heinemann had a fantastic second half for the Fury, providing the bulk of the offense for a team that spent the spring in need. He'll have more firepower around him in Tampa, who nearly won the spring season title in 2015, and could have made this season's playoffs had they beaten the Cosmos on the season's final day.
The 6'4" forward was a somewhat interesting potential target for Cosmos fans, though with Gaston Cellerino and potential/probable signing Georgios Samaras in the fold, I'm not sure the need would have been great enough to match Tampa's reported offer. Still, Heinemann wouldn't have taken up a valuable international roster slot, something he won't do in Tampa Bay either, making him more appealing in some regards than either of the big forwards likely to be employed by the Cosmos next campaign.
This move puts a serious dent in the Fury's hopes to make the playoffs for a second year running, though in general, Ottawa has been very good at finding underrated talent. It's a big, big help to Tampa, however, who really needed a finisher to put away some of the chances created by Georgi Hristov. The Rowdies now join New York and Minnesota as early title favorites, and if several other NASL clubs start to spend like the Rowdies, as rumored, we could be in for a very interesting winter.