Monday Misc. Notes and Links

Here are a few stories of interest before MLS Cup this coming weekend and the expansion draft a week from Wednesday on November 23. 

Note Pad Sales In Mexico To Increase

Former Fire head coach Juan Carlos Osorio has surfaced again after departing from Once Caldas in Colombia.  He's now in charge of Puebla FC in Mexico where he'll manage former Fire winger DaMarcus Beasley. 

Carolina Cup Challenge Field Set

The Columbus Crew have joined the Fire, DC United, and host Charleston Battery in the Carolina Cup Challenge preseason tournament to be held next spring. 

MLS and Social Media

Here's an interesting article on how MLS clubs use social media which takes a head count of fans and followers on Facebook, You Tube and Twitter.   The Fire rank 5th overall in total numbers.

Garber Making The Rounds

MLS commisioner Don Garber is hitting the media circuit discussing MLS Cup and the growth of the league.  Here's an LA Times interview discussing profitability and an MSNBC piece talking about the league's growth. 

Fire Goal of the Year

Voting continues over at the Fire's official site to determine goal of the year.  Today's match up pits Anibaba against Grazzini. 

Supporter's Player of the Year

Check out Dominic Oduro's acceptance speech after picking up the Supporter's Player of the Year award from Section 8 Chicago on Saturday afternoon. 

 

CHICAGO TRIBUNE VIDEO

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  • If you needed another reason to dislike New England....it looks like the Revolution are set to name Jay Heaps as their next head coach.

  • David Beckham named MLS comeback player of the year. Dominic Oduro finished third in the voting behind Becks and Charlie Davies.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    not surprised - the other two are more "popular" players and i figgered they'd get more votes just because of that

    IMO oduro had a better season than davies for sure. davies wasnt even in starting 11 late season & half his goals were off penalties

  • In reply to CountChocula:

    I can understand Davies winning "comeback" player due to the circumstances involved with this return to competitive play but Beckham had actually already recovered and returned from injury in late 2010 so his "comeback" was technically last season not 2011.

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    In reply to CountChocula:

    Corrected for accuracy purposes:

    "Davies wasn't even starting 11 late season & half his goals we off DIVES."

  • After picking Caleb Forlan to be the second coming of Stern John, I'm hesitant to offer my football opinion without asking permission. However, the idea that the current Fire team is good to go with a few tweaks, as Klopas suggests, augers ill for the coming season. What quality of midfielder, forward and left back is Klopas thinking of bringing in? They need to be quality. He seems to think center back is fine but Gibbs, Cuesta, Mikulic and Anibaba are barely. mid level MLS central defenders. Anibaba shows promise but the current Fire team would finish close to where they did this season, and an injured Grazzini would leave us without guile in the midfield,
    and he may be gone by July. The Fire seem to be trying to compete on the cheap, and to be less ambitious than other teams. I guess i have no faith in Hauptman and his not so deep pockets. Good work on the blog, look forward to off season updates, if, unlike last off season, there are any.

  • In reply to Celt:

    Thanks Celt. I think one of those players (forward or midfielder) has to be of DP quality....not just "let's hope he's good in MLS" quality. Someone with an established record of success is a must if they're to take a step up. Anibaba and Gibbs are both a little better right now than mid level MLS centerbacks IMO. They're not Olave and Borchers but that position isn't as high a priority as another forward and midifleder are. Cuesta and Mikulic provide solid MLS quality depth. The left back would be a back up for Segares.
    Extending Grazzini's contract past June 2012 should also be a priority this offseason. He's key to any run next year and of course needs to stay healthy.

  • i agree with celt. who will back up grazzini? who can they get to be a target forward who can produce? what about left back? and the main point i do agree with is that it seems that hauptman doesn't have deep pockets. i know that it doesn't take money to buy championships or good teams but it doesn't hurt either to have money to buy players with quality.

  • In reply to penapirata:

    We'll see....they splashed out some cash in 2010 for Ljungberg and Castillo and they should know they can't afford to go into 2012 with the thought of waiting until the July window to find an impact player.

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    In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    They have January to do this I suppose. But so far, there are no links to any player anywhere.

  • I'm going to agree with Guillermo on this one. Sure, the Fire need some "tweaks" (aka, a DP level signing and a couple for depth...at least), but all MLS teams (correct me if I'm wrong) can't lose a player like a Grazzini (most important player on the team) and not take a significant step backwards. Not to overstate the obvious, but this isn't a team (or league) like Barca with a plethora of high quality midfield options. Anyway, imo, our most important moves this offseason are, in order:
    1. A quality, consistent DP level striker to pair with Oduro that will strike fear into the opponents game in and game out.
    1.a. Extending Grazzini
    2. Depth at left back
    3. A possible upgrade at right back...or at least depth there

    Otherwise, I believe the team is set with Oduro at 1 F slot, Grazzini, Pardo, Pappa, Nyarko and Pause for 4 Mid slots (plus 1 for depth...assuming Pappa returns), Segares, Anibaba, Gibbs and Gargan at D with Cuesta and Mikulic for depth, and obviously Johnson in goal. So I wonder, where do major changes need to be made??? i suppose it boils down to just a difference of opinion on the quality of the players already on the team.

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    In reply to Drew:

    Doesn't look like a team that strikes fear in the eyes of other squads.

  • In reply to waam:

    i think that you need to wait til the end of the offseason to make a judgment on that

  • There are only several MLS teams that strike fear in the eyes of other teams, if the Fire played as well the first half of the year with the current players, they would have easily made the playoffs.
    Therefore to stay competitive they will need only several tweaks.
    Actually the Fire played better against the stronger teams than some of the weaker teams.
    However, if they want to challenge for the top spot, they will need another top flight striker, an above average MLS midfielder, and another above average back. With those additions the Fire can challenge anyone.

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    They're not exactly the Galaxy but with Pardo and Grazzini in the side they're in the playoffs without a doubt in my mind. They should be prettty decent by Eastern Conference standards with the current line up. That being said, just making the playoffs shouldn't be the goal. Upgrades that are more significant than just slight tweaks are needed in order to really contend for the Supporter's Shield, MLS Cup, and Champion's League success. Those necessary additions that lonecoyote mentions are spot on.

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    In that case, we should look at who to protect then in the draft.

    I would say my 11 would have to be:

    Oduro
    Nyarko
    Graz
    Pardo
    Gibbs
    Sega
    Pappa
    Johnson
    Logan
    Anibaba

    and because I would hate to lose his potential Ferrari

  • In reply to waam:

    i like your list, but I am torn on pappa, we really should sell him in the winter because he won't be back. So do we protect him for the money, or protect a player that could help us?

  • In reply to waam:

    Orr should be on the protected list as well, if they left Ferrari off the list, it's doubtful if he would be selected anyway.
    Besides Orr has more upside potential than Ferrari does and being several years younger.

  • http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/sports_blog/2011/11/galaxy-jumping-to-time-warner-cable-in-55-million-deal.html

    and we can't even get a sponsor on our jersey. this should be a wake up call to the entire front office and our penny pinching owner.

  • In reply to penapirata:

    Thanks for posting PP...I saw this and was going to share the link as well. Hopefully this signifies a new trend in MLS but it's important to note that the Fire PAID for air time on CSN last season.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    this is what happens when you build a winning team and get star quality players on the field that people will go out of their way to see and watch (donovan and beckham). the fire need to get their arse in gear if they don't want to quickly become the white sox...a mediocre team with a mediocre fan base (i'm a white sox fan, btw). it's embarrassing that the galaxy is signing a large tv contract whereas we have NO sponsor and are PAYING for air time. not sure why posada is still getting a paycheck from the fire...am i missing something??? what has he accomplished? for real, inquiring minds want to know.

  • In reply to Drew:

    Also helps that sports television rights in Los Angeles are going through a crazy bidding war between Fox West and the new Time Warner Cable sports channels. The upstart TWC network is outbidding Fox for just about everything they can get their hands on. They just spent 3 billion on the Lakers telecasts for 20 years. Crazy numbers for local tv.

  • In reply to Drew:

    i have a sad feeling that hauptman is the soccer version of bill writz. look what happened with the hawks when bill writz was still alive, they had to pay for air time on the radio, would not spend money on advertising and reaching out to the fans, and he wouldn't spend money on players in order to make a competitive team. you know it all comes down to the owner and how much he is willing to invest in the team.

  • http://blogs.chicagotribune.com/news_columnists_ezorn/2011/11/fun-with-attendance-numbers.html

    I just thought I would pass this on...

    What a clown...

  • In reply to acspeed68:

    total weak sauce. what's the quote about statistics? "lies, damn lies and statistics"? they are what you want them to be.

  • In reply to acspeed68:

    That guy is some kind of observant. I don't believe anyone claims that MLS is the country's number 3 spectator sport. Anyone with a calculator can tell you NHL and NBA teams have more games and theoretically more fans. Anyone with even a passing knowledege of TV sports can tell you NBA ratings dwarf MLS' and the league still trails hockey in most markets. Maybe he'll point out that the US economy is still bad in his next enlightening article.

    He is of course missing the point that MLS is growing and gaining but his ilk will never acknowledge something like that.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    well said

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Fire Confidential will allegedly have a presence at the Carolina Cup, thanks to a very accomodating Mrs. Krause.

  • 2012 should be fun...

  • you still live with your mom?

  • In reply to Krasov:

    Haha, just saw this. No, but Mrs. Krause the wife suggested we go down to watch the Cup...which surprised me a bit. She's crazy about going to games, but I didn't think she'd hit "road trip" status so soon. lol

  • Couple thoughts on MLS, the schedule, and the Fire.... I think Frank deserves a shot at coaching permanently although I would have liked to have seen the Fire bring in Eric Wynalda. I want to see Frank's Technical Director role removed. For the rest of the front office, it is so obvious to soccer fans that they do not know how to market the team that it baffles the mind that they still have jobs. For example, their goal is to get young 30 something guys to the games. Yet, when I ask my 30 sontheing nephews who grew up playing soccer, still love the sport, still play every now and then, if they know how to get to Toyota Park, they have no clue. Multiply that by their demographic target and you see the problem this front office has. They do not know how to get the sinmplest part of their message out. How can they get people to come to see the Fire if they cannot even get people to know where the Fire play? They need to get a few interns from U of C, NU, Loyola, and DePaul's business schools to come up with new marketing. Maybe those kids can do a masters thesis on how to develop a fan base?
    MLS said that it plans to announce 2012's schedule in December. My guess is that we will see the schedule in February. Should we have a pool? I think having an unbalanced schedule for a year is understandable. If they do it wisely and cut down on travel for some teams that makes sense. For the 20th team, I am truly puzzled by Don Garber's obsession with a second NYC team. They already have a team that has a world class soccer specific stadium. Why does he insist on a second? I don't get it. There are plenty of otehr cities that would be better choices geographically that seem to make sense to me. St. Louis for me is the most logical especially since it is a city with a very strong soccer history.

  • That's a loaded post right there and not much to disagree with either. Klopas is good friends with Wynalda and it wouldn't surprise me to see Waldo involved with the Fire in some capacity somehow. This past summer he did bring in a couple of players for a look see during training and reserve matches. Klopas is looking at possibly adding or changing assistants so I wouldn't rule anything out.

    The way this team is marketed and presented locally is still baffling to me. Sure it's a crowded sporting landscape in Chicago but there are soccer fans out there who don't even realize there's a professional team in the area. Mind boggling.

    Even more puzzling is Garber's continued insistence on shoe horning another team into the New York area by any means necessary. It's not like that fantastic stadium they opened last season is turning fans away either. He seems to think a rivalry will develop between the two NY teams but it's hard to have a rivalry when fans of the initial team arer apathetic about their own club already. Develop the Red Bulls and the fan base first before trying to force some artificial rivalry!

    St. Louis has always been a hot bed for soccer but they're having trouble finding viable investors in that market. They need to find a way to establish a market in the southeast before looking at New York 2.

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    In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Don't even get me started on Don Garber. He insists he has the beat of the hearts of American Soccer fans figured out, yet all I hear are more and more complaints. Who's the board that oversees his terrible decision making? People say, give this guy credit for bringing MLS this far, but what's not to say he's the one who has been hindering MLS, and MLS would have gotten popular anyway?

  • I'll go the other way on Garber....the guy was absolutely instrumental in taking the league from the brink of disaster when he took over to the growing entity that it is now. There are a few good books that detail what he was able to pull off in strengthening the league monetarily (Long Range Goals and Star Spangled Soccer) and he deserves a lot of credit. That being said....New York 2 is ridiculous.

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