Klopas Speaks on PreSeason and More

I spoke to Frank Klopas yesterday about a number of topics before the Fire played New York in two exhibition matches in Florida.  Klopas cited the general positive attitude surrounding the team as an encouraging sign early in camp.  "The second phase has been very good as far as what we've planned for and what we've accomplished.  The attitude has been very good and Carlos has been very loose.  It's still early and we we're looking to see progress" said Klopas.  "The most important thing has been the attitude of the group so far.  Everybody is on the same page and working hard for the team."

A concentrated focus has been put on attempting to familiarize the survivors from last season's squad with the newcomers this year.  "The focus in camp (Phase 2 in Florida) has been the emphasis on the training pitch on functional and tactical work so players can develop more of an understanding of the way we want to play.  We've got different players with different qualities this year and we needed to spend more time getting the group accustomed to each other while building kind of a family before focusing on tactical organization and fitness."

Klopas also addressed some of the questions that have been bandied about among Fire supporters this preseason:

Will the Fire pursue more of a true #10 or playmaker to fill out the squad?

FK : "It's very difficult to play in a 4-4-2 with two straight forwards and a number 10 in the middle that's just a playmaker.  If you look around the world at any level most teams now play with two holding players.  If you have a true playmaker he is going to have the "free" role up front that Puerari will play for us.  He's clever with the ball and he's got good vision where he can make the final pass but he's also dangerous in the final third.  We'll have to be patient because it does take time for players to adjust to a new team and a new league.  Uruguay is a very physical and competitive league (similar to MLS)."

On expectations for Puerari and Chaves and service to the forwards

FK : "Puerari is a second striker/playmaker.  I'm not comparing him to this guy, but to give you an idea, he can play a similar role to Schelotto who comes underneath in the open space between the back line and the midfield.  He's able to receive the ball and create for himself and for his teammates."

"Carlos was familiar with Chaves having played in Mexico and he also played in Uruguay with a very good team.  He can play with his back to goal, he's got good feet, he's good in the air but he's also got good pace where you can play a ball into space.  They're good players with different qualities."

"With players like Chaves you need to provide service and get the ball into the right spots.  We have some good wide players in Marco, Patrick, and Ristic.  Banner and Bone can also play wide and beat defenders if they have to.  Depending on who we're playing we'll need to decide who can provide more crosses from the end line or who can play more into space or who's better playing it into feet.  It depends - forwards need the ball in good positions to be succesful."

On building the 2011 roster with or without a DP

FK : "We still have three international spots available so we're still looking for someone who can bring something different to the table from what we've got.  For sure another forward.  We're looking at some different options there and possibly another player in the back." 

"We'll bring in one or two more guys to fill in those spots and we'll be able to keep salary space available that will give us an opportunity to make another move in June (when the Euro transfer window opens)."

On first round pick Jalil Anibaba and open tryout winner Pari Pantazopoulos

FK : "Anibaba has done very well.  He's got a lot of confidence and he's very vocal.  He's also very athletic and a very good 1v1 defender.  So far he's been what we expected and he has a tremendous upside.  He's played so far at right back which gives us different options...which is good for the coach."

"Pari has also done well.  He's had some experience overseas in Cyprus.  He's a good technical player with a good left foot who can play different spots on the field.  He's a young guy who can fill one of those developmental spots from 24-28.  We just have to wait and see when we make those decisions in the end but so far he's done very well."

On the possibility of adding Homegrown Players to the squad

FK : "We have some good players there but we're not going to sign players just for the sake of signing a player.  We have some good prospects on the Homegrown list and some are already in the first year of college.  We're going to wait and make the right decision when those guys are ready to take the next step."

On Marko Babic rumors

FK : "We have a connection with Babic's agent and he expressed some interest but he's a guy that's played out wide on the left.  I think we're okay on that side.  Sometimes people throw feelers out there to keep all their options open."

 

 

 

 

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  • I'm glad to hear an other forward and defender is on the cards, and given the salaries not replaced as yet hope they are both high quality additions. You can get very good MLS players at 2-3, 000 ,000 dollars. I am always a bit annoyed with talk of the summer window. The season starts in March, not June. Looking forward to the season with all the younger players, some of which will surprise, but as of now we still need a bit more quality.

  • Some interesting comments about Puerari, Chaves, and Anibaba. However, Frank still thinks that when it comes to talking to the fans, less is more! His comment, "A concentrated focus has been put on attempting to familiarize the survivors from last season's squad with the newcomers this year." Really!! and is that why he dithered around with the selections of Puerari and Chaves. I guess that bringing in two new players into two critical positions doesn't really qualify for the "familiarizing" bit. Other teams found their players and made their announcements without all of the ridiculous excuses for their delays. The handling of their acquisitions was strictly bush league and now they're starting the next segment of the soap opera with reference to "another move in June". The next move should be to get rid of the rookie management and replace them with some major league talent -- I hear that there should be some good executives available in June!!

  • Well said short passes. I agree with you a 100%.
    Our current executives haven't secured a Jersey Sponsor,
    Radio and Television contract.
    So far no news even of providing a Video Stream of Saturdays
    game VS Seattle. What a disappointment for A Great City Like
    Chicago with its "Huge Soccer Fan Base both Ethnic and Home Grown Americans."

  • Interesting interview with Don Garber......

    http://soccer.fanhouse.com/2011/02/25/mls-commissioner-don-garber-american-soccers-steward-sits-down/?a_dgi=aolshare_twitter

  • In reply to cesba:

    with 30 man rosters, fixture congestion should not be as much an issue as it was with only 24.

    as far as the champions validity & all that, IMO the real 'problem' is declaring the MLS cup winner the champion. the supporters shield is the best team over a season. cup winners are just cup winners, its the nature of the format. and any team that gets on a hot streak can win a cup.

    compared to the MLS, MLB baseball may be the most similar sport in terms of whether the best team wins or loses any single game. over the long season the best teams obviously win the most games. but baseball also has the fewest teams make the playoffs, so you dont end up with mediocre teams in the playoffs. also teams on a hot streak still have to win 7 game series to prove they are the best, so a single upset is not enough in baseball.

  • In reply to CountChocula:

    now that i think about it, NHL is more similar to MLS in terms of how many teams make the playoffs and champions "validity". i've seen plenty of 6 or 7 seeds make it to the NHL finals over the years.

    having so many teams in the playoffs cheapens the regular season, IMO

  • In reply to CountChocula:

    I really dislike the idea of ten teams in the playoffs but MLS isn't the only league that has "issues" with lesser teams winning the postseason tournament. At least lesser teams in terms of regular season performance....it happens in baseball and hockey pretty regularly.

  • In reply to cesba:

    The issue in american sports in general is give teams incentives to win when they are out of the league winners positions. The way they do it in Europe is promo and relegation, and here we do it with playoffs and making the playoffs the ultimate goal.

    I think those group play off proposal i saw over the fall would be the best mix of rewards, and with the idea that the higher seeds goals count more like the away goals in UEFA

  • In reply to lijien:

    One aspect to MLS playoffs that has always bugged me is the home-away first round, then a 1 game conference final. The 1 game conf final I always thought should be a home-away as well. I can see a 1 game final to build it up as 1 big final game, a la the super bowl, but I would find a 2 game conf final MUCH more appealing. Just a thought...

  • In reply to cesba:

    When it comes down to playoff format, NBA is the worse. Every year, 5 teams from the Eastern Conference makes the playoffs with either an even .500 record or worse.

  • In reply to longoria3:

    Pattern the correction......NBA is the worst.

  • In reply to longoria3:

    This is true. I also believe, if a team is going to make the playoffs, it should realistically have a chance at winning the championship. In the NBA no low seed really ever has a chance - there should probably be 8 teams total to make the playoffs in the NBA...that's "maybe" the amount that have at least a shot, and I feel like I'm being generous. That's not the case in MLB, NFL or NHL, or MLS...any year a team can get hot and win it.

  • In reply to Drew:

    I agree with you Drew, reduce the playoff format in the NBA from 16 to 8 and contract 4 to 8 teams due to poor quality of teams and players. That is why basketball is barely watchable. MLS should have a single format than going with 10 team table includes 4 team wild card. Once the league goes into 20 teams, the only time I can see it expand pending on how it progresses.

  • In reply to Drew:

    Any News or Updates on Today's Game between Fire and Seattle???

  • In reply to Drew:

    So Fire lose 1-0 after 120 mins...

  • In reply to Drew:

    What's new with Albert Luque, has been linked to N.Y. or the Fire.
    Hasn't done well lately, but had some success in La Liga at Mallorca and
    Malaga in years past as a striker, 32 y/o orginally started out in Barca's youth program.

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    My concern with that rumor if that is true: See Mista's career in Toronto FC.

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    Here's a recap of the Seattle exhibition today....

    http://www.chicago-fire.com/news/2011/02/fire-fall-seattle

    Cory Gibbs gets sent off for a run-in with an unnamed Seattle trialist.....for some reason that amused me.

  • In reply to cesba:

    gotta love MLS discovery rules..nothing says transparent like hiding the name of a trialist

  • In reply to lijien:

    Yep...it is a bit ridiculous.

  • In reply to cesba:

    Orr Barouch was the first sub for Puerari. And no Carr - is he injured?
    Speaking of Carr, I can't believe he's 28 already! And has been on the roster as long as Dasan Robinson. Weird. For some reason, he'll always be the 22 year-old gangly kid he was when he was drafted... with or without the 'fro.

  • In reply to Modibo:

    Carr is not injured as far as I know. I miss the headband look.

  • In reply to Modibo:

    Guille,

    Call it desperation, but would Eddie Johnson count as a US National Team player and therefore be subject to an allocation based on the pre-set order from MLS? I know he's basically been a flop during his time in England but I think as a pure goal scorer he'd be good up front. I know the Fire still lack a true #10 but goals are goals. #justsayin

  • In reply to c0quito18:

    Yes...he would go through the allocation process upon his inevitable return to MLS.

  • In reply to cesba:

    60 minutes as a starter in the Coca-Cola Championship after spending the first part of the season riding the bench/players section of the stands at Fulham doesn't bode well for him staying there. Then again he could pull an Adu and go to the second division in Kazakstan...

  • In reply to c0quito18:

    He had a good run in Greece last year, and at least this year he got on the pitch for Fulham which didn't really happen that past few years

  • In reply to cesba:

    both the sounders blog and the fire tweets would not name the trialist

    i am guessing whatever the reason is, is also part of the reason that the match was not put on the internet to watch

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    I know the Fire is looking for another forward. Not sure about Luque though...he may be a guy they have spoken to at some point since he is available.

  • In reply to cesba:

    Is it me or Luque looks like Cristiano Ronaldo's twin brother?

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