Unfortunately I won't be able to attend today's Fire practice today at the MAX indoor facility in McCook (class beckons...). But that doesn't mean I don't have to post. So, with that, here are three storylines that should play out throughout the Fire's 6-week long training camp.
**1 -- What will the final roster look like?**
Three open roster spots. Six new players coming to camp. With those numbers, this preseason figures to be a tricky one. Frank Klopas and Carlos de los Cobos should have a hell of a time sorting it all out.
Complicating the process for the Fire brass is the fact that the club's 20 senior roster spots have already been filled. Because the on-trial Collins John would count as a senior member of the roster, should the Fire choose to sign him they will have to cut someone (likely a forward) from last year's team. Assuming John does make the team, there will be three remaining developmental slots for five rookies to compete for. Generation Adidas draft picks Corben Bone and Sean Johnson should be relative shoe-ins for the roster given their GA status (meaning their salaries won't count against the cap...) so it looks like there will be one spot for the trio Kwame Watson-Siriboe, Drew Yates and Steven Kinney. I'll say it goes to Watson-Siriboe. He'll provide cover at center-back and could be the Fire's future answer to an anticipated vacancy at the position.
Of course, the Fire could also bring in more new players to the fold. Adding more trialists, making a trade within MLS, or bringing in a foreign signing (I'm currently hearing rumors about a forward coming in from France...) would all shake this equation up. We'll see what happens...
**2 -- Will a new CBA be agreed upon?**
Should a new deal be agreed to before the February 12th deadline, preseason will continue without a hitch. Should the deadline pass with no deal in place? Preseason training stops and there will be a work stoppage until the league and the Players' Union work something out. Not a very attractive situation.
**3 -- How will Carlos de los Cobos's tenure start?**
It's imperative that de los Cobos get off to a good start in his first year as head coach of the Fire. I'm guessing he won't have too hard of a time getting the players on board with his proposed attractive, pass-heavy style of play (a lot more fun to play than the long ball game employed in year's past...) but establishing chemistry and getting the players in shape for the upcoming season could be more difficult. Training camp is a great opportunity for de los Cobos to establish relationships with the players and earn the trust of his team. Hopefully he takes full advantage.