Looking At 2011 - Klopas on the Draft and More

Frank Klopas and the Fire technical staff are currently in Florida for the MLS Combine ahead of the draft on January 13 but Klopas feels the Fire have a pretty good handle on which players they're interested in right now.  "These players have been off for a few months so it's tough to judge guys on these games, we've seen most of them before now so we're looking for the best fit based on who's available when we pick" said Klopas. 

There isn't any particular position that the Fire is looking to fortify in the draft since defense, midfield, and forward are all spots that need to be addressed so the choice will likely be the proverbial "best player available". 

With training camp only weeks away Klopas is looking to add players domestically and from abroad based on the extensive scouting trips taken over the course of the last few months.  "We've travelled all over the world and looked at alot of different players.  We've got a list in mind of which guys we want to add and we'll announce some of those soon. The European window is open so there are players available." 

The loss of veteran leadership in CJ Brown, Brian McBride, and Freddie Ljungberg will be hard to replace but Klopas feels Logan Pause is a player that has already shown to be a leader and he'll continue to assume the role going into 2011.  In terms of MLS veterans, the Fire added Cory Gibbs via the re-entry draft but they aren't looking to add players who are still available after round two of the re-entry draft. "We've got other players in mind" responded Klopas when asked about the MLS "free agent" pool. 

Klopas also expects that Nery Castillo will be better served this season after a full training camp with the team rather than playing through a short term loan as previously speculated in some media reports.  The coaching staff feels Castillo can still be the player he was before but time and match activity will be needed.  The second half of last season may not have been an adequate period for conditioning given that Castillo was attempting to play during what was essentially his offseason. 

The loss of Peter Lowry and John Thorrington has decimated the team's depth at central midfield but Klopas feels that Baggio Husidic is ready to step to the next level.  Klopas cited Husidic's strong showing and improvement in his second year as a positive going into 2011 and is also looking for a similar step from Corben Bone.  "Corben's a player that didn't get much time last year but he's going to get a chance to step into that spot". 

Reports out of Serbia during the offseason claimed that the Fire were interested in a pair of Red Star Belgrade players (Aleksandar Jevtic and Darko Lazovic) and a midfielder from Partizan (Almami Moreira), without acknowledging those players specifically Klopas does expect to add some of the players that were targeted during the post-seaon scouting trips.  "We've got different options that we're still looking at for sure" and some player signings are imminent, according to Klopas. 

While adding a designated player is a possibility, the Fire Technical Director's approach when adding personnel is based more on how a player will fit into the team's needs and ability to fit in with supporting players.  "There are alot of different things we're looking at but it has to fit with what we have and what we're trying to do."

The organization is also still looking to fill the assistant coaching spots vacated by Mike Matkovich and Alvaro Briones. 

While Fire fans may not see many big names added to the roster, supporter's will begin to get a look at what Klopas and Carlos De Los Cobos have in mind for 2011 after the draft is completed and the US transfer window opens on January 15. 

 

 

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  • Soares or Anibaba if either are available. Do the Fire have 3rd round picks? I would be delirious with youngish players from the Serbian or Croation leagues. we will see.

  • In reply to Celt:

    celt, yes the Fire do have the 3rd round pick. The player who impressed me in that combine is Plata, the Ecuadorian. He scored 3 goals in 2 games in the combine with an assist to add to that. Plata looks like a Andy Najar/David Ferreira type player (he is very tiny). With their 1st round pick, if center backs that they want are available it will be either Anibaba, Boxall (seems too high to pick him at that spot) or Soares. Soares is 6 feet tall (small for a center back these days) but he must be have good technique with the ball and match up physically especially defending on set pieces. Will Bruin is my 1 pick on my draft board but for Bruin to be successfull, he needs a center midfielder to feed him the ball to finish but the Fire don't have a playmaker.

  • In reply to longoria3:

    longoria3, thanks. Pity about the 2nd rounder as this draft seems deep. I want a CB as forwards are hit and miss regardless of where they get pi

  • In reply to Celt:

    Carloina Railhawks have confirmed Dan Paladini's move to the Fire....

    http://carolinarailhawks.com/article/paladini-one-of-three-former-railhawks-headed-to-mls

    Another signing may be imminent but nothing is official yet.

  • In reply to cesba:

    As I have said before, The Fire front office really needs to get their act together on this kind of info. When hot time in old town tells you about the signing first, this is a problem. Maybe the Fire sould bring in some public relations people from the Railhawks as well, they might learn a thing or two. I hope Paladini pans out.

  • Nicely done, thanks! Fantastic update. I have a feeling the 2nd half of January is going to be full of new faces and surprises. Opening Day will be here before we know it!

  • Great update and in these winter doldrums it leaves me begging for more!! Frank's comments however did set off a few sparks, some positive and some negative. On the negative side, I wonder exactly how large Frank's world is?? ""We've traveled all over the world..." Unless you(GR) are holding out on us, Frank and DLC only visited Europe!! What's with that?? Also on the negative, the excuses for Castillo's less than stellar performance ring a little false. If he's a real professional, we should at least have seen some flashes of his former self, but I don't believe that happened. Don't get me wrong I want him to succeed and I'm glad they are giving him an extended chance but I personally think that they should be looking at his motivation, not his stamina. On the positive side I'm happy to see that Corbin Bone will be given a more extensive opportunity this year. If he's really a keeper, we should be willing to give him sufficient time to adjust, live with his rookie mistakes and if after that he can't cut it then let him go but having him play in dribs and drabs will prove nothing either way. Final positive is that Klopas and DLC don't appear to be going for the fences with one big signing ---I like that. However their foreign signing will be very interesting!!

  • In reply to shortpasses:

    Shortpasses,

    Mike Jeffries was all over South America, and as Giaco mentions below Klopas was also travelling to other areas of the globe after returning from Eastern Europe.

  • In reply to cesba:

    GR and Giaco -- that is awesome news. I hope that some real surprises result!! Thanks for the info.

  • In reply to shortpasses:

    I agree, I think the excuses for Castillo have gone a tad too far. He didn't play well, plain and simple. He's a professional soccer player and should have brought more to the table considering his pay and reputation/skill level (at least previous reputation/skill level). I hope I'm proven wrong.

    Looking forward to seeing if Bone can live up to his billing as a top prospect coming into the league. Some big jumps can happen between years 1 and 2, we'll see.

  • In reply to Drew:

    This is a huge year for Castillo. If he stinks it up again his options are going to be pretty slim.

  • In reply to Drew:

    Great article!

    I've been looking for some info on what they have planned. Thanks for the great reporting.

  • In reply to Drew:

    http://www.hottimeinoldtown.com/2011/1/10/1926213/daniel-paladini-to-sign-with-the-chicago-fire#

    11 more open slots to fill.

  • In reply to Drew:

    Julian Posada interview at Chicago-Fire.com.........

    http://ht.ly/3BlvR

  • shortpasses, Frank went a few other places that have not been mentioned--they are on other continents as well. I hate that it is all so secretive, but I agree that tipping your hat to a potential pool of players to other teams may not be so great for us--especially with how the 'disovery' claims work in this league.
    I am hoping we get Darko.

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