Anibaba, Herrick, Paul, and Conway Are New Fire Additions

 

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The Fire landed University of North Carolina defender Jalil Anibaba with the ninth pick in today's MLS SuperDraft.  Anibaba, the MVP of the MLS Combine, was ranked by many as a top five pick and the Fire were understandably surprised to find him available at number nine.  According to Technical Director Frank Klopas, Anibaba can play both central defense and right back equally well.  "He's a player that can switch the point of attack and be accurate with his passes out of the back.  He also communicates very well" said Klopas.  The Fire expect Anibaba to compete for a starting spot right away. 

"I'm honored and excited to get started as a pro. To do it in a place like Chicago, there's nothing better" said Anibaba during a post draft conference call.  The Fire's first round pick also stated that he's very familiar with MLS and the style of play within the league and believes he will fit in well. Although he did not have much direct contact with the technical staff during the combine Anibaba felt "at home and accepted" after meeting with Klopas and Carlos De Los Cobos.  "I'm honored to think that people feel I'm someone that can step in right away", said Anibaba when asked about pre-draft evaluations. 

The Fire also selected University of Maryland forward and Elmhurst native Jason Herrick with the 45th pick in the third round.  Klopas described Herrick as "a kid that's more of a number nine".  "We needed a guy who is going to be around the box". 

The Fire traded the 49th pick in the third round to Toronto FC for a player to be named later.  Toronto FC selected Ecuadorian playmaker Joao Plata with the pick and eventually sent goalkeeper Jon Conway to Fire as the player to be named.  "He's a good goalkeeper and an experienced goalkeeper.  He's a guy that helped a young keeper come along (in Toronto)" said Klopas of the Fire's new acquisition.  MLS may require teams to employ three goalkeepers on their rosters due to the expanded roster sizes and reserve league play.

With their final pick, 51st overall, the Fire selected another forward - Davis Paul from the University of California.  According to Klopas, Paul is more of a second striker. "Very quick and good in tight spaces."

When asked about rumors circulating regarding Nery Castillo and flirtations with a team in Greece Klopas responded, "My emphasis right now is on the draft.  You're always going to hear rumors with different players.  We expect him to be with us at the start of camp".

The Fire are not done.  Klopas is still looking to add some depth at the central midfield spot and they are in the process of trying to add another player at that position and possibly another forward that was targeted during one of the various scouting trips this winter. 

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  • Anibaba is a stud, a great pickup and unexpected. Passing on Plata will prove to be an error and for a goalkeeper we do not need adds insult to injury. The little guy can play and we will have all season to regret that move as I expect Plata to do very well, size notwithstanding.

  • Would have rather seen them take a flyer on plata than trade for another keeper...

  • In reply to DerSting:

    The only issue that I can see with taking Plata is that he would have taken up an international roster spot.

    I'm assuming that some of the players that are going to be added will take up the remaining international spots.

  • In reply to cesba:

    Exactly GR. Plata would take an international slot, and Klopas probably has others in mind from his and Mike's travels.

    Further, Plata looked pretty good against college players but would he against MLS regulars in a much more physical style of play? Not so sure.

  • In reply to fireman451:

    Many of those college players will be MLS regulars, he showed the kind of creativity the Fire sorely lack. He, Nyarko and Pappa could have been interesting together...

  • In reply to DerSting:

    Maybe, I guess I'm more skeptical due to size and that those college players aren't MLS regulars yet . . . not that it matters anyway. We have Carr right? :-

  • In reply to fireman451:

    Wailin Calen and his magic first touch!

  • In reply to fireman451:

    That is disgusting . What ever happened to the Fire Family spiel, honor, tradition blah blah. this was a no brainer and how else does one pass down tradition except through continuity and retaining team leaders with vast experience. he should have been hired before he retired. Good enough for Jason Kreiss and RSl to look at, but not the Fire? This is confounding and I have the impression we are light on coaches.

  • In reply to Celt:

    Yes, but let's face it, CJ and CdlC likely did not get along. De los Cobos is the new guard and has never gotten on with the old guard. I'm actually surprised that Pause hasn't been shown the door or asked for a transfer, because he and Segares are really all that's left of the old guard on the field. Off the field I think Klopas is the only person who was with the team in the early years. So no, there's little in the way of tradition left.

  • In reply to Fuegofan:

    "Pause hasn't been shown the door or asked for a transfer." That will never happen; the organization adores him a lot and he isn't going anywhere. Besides, "The Honor, Pride and Tradition" motto is a slogan. The Fire's slogan is no different from the Bears slogan "4 Phases." I could care less about slogans, I just want to see a winning product out there. Slogans panders to the common denominator.

  • In reply to fireman451:

    Guillermo Barros Schelotto is headed back to Argentina after signing with Gimnasia.

  • In reply to fireman451:

    I am not worries about size. Last years MVP is small for MLS. If a player can play they can play.. Also, it isn't like Pause gets forward so his range and defensive abilities could make up for platas lesser defensive abilities..I thought he was worth a flyer rather then getting conway ..

  • In reply to lijien:

    Logan Pause and moving forward doesn't mesh. I would prefer Baggio Husidic at the spot.

  • In reply to fireman451:

    Premium STH's will get to grill Posada before the opener........

    http://ht.ly/3DXVS

  • In reply to cesba:

    i guess he doesn't want to be grilled by section 8 or the section 8 alumni huh?

  • In reply to fireman451:

    Per Sam - Aris' manager has poured cold water on anyone's hopes that Castillo would end up in Greece in 2011.

    "The road has not opened. Castillo is neither close nor far from Aris. At this moment there are offers we are studying and players who we find to be more of a priority. Our goal is to study every situation in light of what is best for the team. I am worried by players who don't play for their teams."

    Here's the full article in Greek.....

    http://www.sport24.gr/football/omades/Aris/kouper_oute_konta_oute_makria_o_kastigio.749362.html

  • In reply to cesba:

    We're on the hook for another year. If this guy isn't in game shape and contributing on a regular basis by mid-season, we need to cut him and eat whatever salary burden we have on the guy (so no different than what we're currently doing)

    Castillo was a gamble for sure, but our management needs to know when to pull away from the table. If nothing else, canning Castillo in that scenario would send a message to the other players that the team is serious about getting rid of dead weight and concentrating on its contributors.

    I'd rather have Thiago and Dipsy back.

  • In reply to fireman451:

    Before coming to our team, he hadn't played competitively for about a year. In his first game, I was very impressed with his work off the ball. His runs were very good. The players playing him the ball were not good. I think he will be a very good player for us this season and look forward to watching him play. I would rather have him than that Plata.

  • In reply to fireman451:

    I think the Fire is doing themselves and us Fans a diservice
    by not hiring C J Brown in some coaching capacity.
    C J Brown has been with the Fire for the longest time of
    any player.Snubing him, the Fire is disapointing us Fire Fans.
    I still don't understand what the Fire see in De los Cobos
    the players he selected from El Salvedore have been a Big Flop.
    His coaching skills in 2010 and his relationship with a number
    of Fire Players have been disapointing as well.

  • In reply to fireman451:

    What you forget is that he has a fine relationship with Mike Banner!

  • In reply to fireman451:

    lonecoyote Thats correct De los Cobos does have a fine relationship with
    Mike Banner. He also has a fine relationship with Calen Carr,Nerve Castillo,Andrew Dykstra,and of course Deris Umanzor.
    We are soooooooooo fortunate to have De los Cobos as a coach. LOL

  • In reply to TigerJMS:

    Don't forget to add Logan Pause to that list.

  • In reply to TigerJMS:

    Deris Umanzor with a goal and an assist in El Salvador win....

    http://www.mlssoccer.com/news/article/costa-rica-el-salvador-qualify-gold-cup

  • In reply to TigerJMS:

    Kenny Cooper comes back to MLS and joins the Portland Timbers....

    http://www.mlssoccer.com/news/article/former-dallas-ace-kenny-cooper-signs-portland

  • In reply to cesba:

    Huge gain for them. Hopefully the fire can get in gear and sign a quality forward for themselves.

  • In reply to fire1020:

    Yes....Cooper and Nagbe are solid acquisitions up top for an expansion team!

  • In reply to cesba:

    Solid for any team

  • In reply to cesba:

    Nagbe is this years version of Teal Bunbury.

  • In reply to TigerJMS:

    New All-In podcast with Jalil Anibaba....

    http://www.chicago-fire.com/news/2011/01/all-jalil-anibaba

  • In reply to cesba:

    We have known we needed a forward for at least a season, and yet nothing was lined up in advance. Klopas must know that failure this season will cost him his job. The back line is shaping up and I expect Anibaba to be a starter, but unless we can score goals we are in trouble. I see Cooper to Portland and a Bundesliga forward is coming to The Union while zilch so far with the fire. Kemal Johnson of MK Dons is a free agent and American so worth a look. Carr or picks at 50 in the draft are not going to do it.

  • In reply to fireman451:

    That's why we are lucky and why we are the envy of every other MLS team who go on their knees and pray to have a talented coach with the tremendous leadership and relationship skills as DLC.
    His amazing record speaks for him.

  • In reply to fireman451:

    You can't have someone else in the locker room who the players might respect more than the head coach...

  • In reply to cesba:

    yippee, i guess?

  • In reply to cesba:

    WV Hooligan grades the draft.......

    http://wvhooligan.com/2011/01/14/2011-mls-superdraft-grades-and-recap/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+WVHooligan+%28WVHooligan+-+Soccer+Blog%29&utm_content=Twitter

  • In reply to fireman451:

    Did anyone watch the ESPN Superdraft show? Unfortunately, I did--briefly. If I hadn't known that the show was about soccer players I would have sworn that they were drafting horses or NFL players -- big, fast, strong!! What ever happened to the essential soccer skills: ball control, accurate passing, clean trapping. How can we expect young players to aspire to become proficient in these skills when all they hear from our soccer media (GR excepted of course)is big and fast?? There is nothing wrong with these attributes but without "soccer" skills, the athlete in question should be playing rugby or American football. Now in the interest of full disclosure, I wasn't watching when Nagbe was selected. Maybe, hopefully somebody mentioned his skills on the ball and his field awareness.-- I can only hope so!! Sorry for the tirade but whenever the media discusses college soccer players I get a bit worked up. To quote a long dead Vice president when he evaluated his own position, I believe that college soccer in general isn't worth a bucket of warm spit (Caleb Porter and Akron excepted). The best players either avoid it completely or spend just a couple years waiting to be noticed. When people tout the great players coming out of college they fail to note how their real development came from their foreign born family or professional development programs. Cutting the Superdraft down to 3 rounds was a good start -- how about one round, at the local pub!!!

  • In reply to shortpasses:

    I think you're seeing something that has been inherently detrimental to the growth of young soccer players in America. Too often the emphasis at an early age has been on the wrong things - physicality and hustle - while not properly focusing on the important things like touch and technique. That has changed over the last few years due to exposure to the international game and it is getting better.....slowly.

    That's not to say that attributes like speed and strength aren't imporant because they are but take a moment to imagine what will happen when some of America's biggest, strongest, fastest athletes are taught properly in terms of touch, technique, passing and the finer skills involved in the game. It's starting to happen now.

    That's why I can't really blame some of the ESPN analysts for drooling over some of the more obvious attributes of a player. After all, it's what the ESPN audience is used to hearing...for now.

  • In reply to cesba:

    GR -- You are always more measured and polite than I am -- I need to learn from you.
    Regarding the slow progress of US soccer -- my son is starting to do some training, small limited group size and one on one (not money makers!!). He is working with a 17 yr old who is on a select team and plays as a starter with his high school--excellent athlete. He hardly ever juggles, has never been coached/asked to do so and has never been told to work on his left foot -- sorry but even anecdotal evidence like this makes my blood boil. When I coached under-9's, 25 years ago we used to have left foot practices to get the kids thinking about using their weaker foot and for the record, I could barely spell soccer. Change is certainly slow -- almost glacial!!

  • In reply to DerSting:

    I think an allocation for Will Bruin might have been well spent. I think DC have done very well. Dax McCarty and Kitchens together in the midfield should be very effective. I am glad Revs picked Soares and left Anibaba on the board. Even the late picks have potential, but vexed about Plata who really looked intriguing .A satisfactory draft all things considered. Now let's see the foreign legion, and well before the season starts.

  • In reply to DerSting:

    Earlier in the day Steve Goff reported that CJ Brown would be interviewing for an assistant coaching spot with Real Salt Lake.

  • In reply to cesba:

    That just looks wrong.

  • In reply to fireman451:

    I thought it was a transparent move when Percovich was hired; the front office is waiting for CDC to underperform this season so that they can get rid of him (Hauptman won

  • In reply to Fire10:

    Brown would had been a perfect mentor for Anibaba.

  • In reply to Fire10:

    Glad to see the Fire selcting players during the draft.
    I hope they also select a younger vetern Striker soon with a
    a proven tract record this time. He can mentor the ones just
    drafted.The Fire could also use another versitle player like
    Bratislav Ristic who impressed when he played.
    Hopefully the Fire can work out a trade with someone and get
    rid of the disapointing players like Nerve Castillo and Deris
    Umanzor just to name a few.

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