Back To Soccer.....

Now that my fun time in warmer climates is over with we can get back to the business of "slinging some soccer" as our favorite local PR guy is known to say.  It's been an active last two weeks with roster moves, the Re-Entry draft, and more. 

A recap of the recent Fire related headlines leaves much open for discussion.

  • Logan Pause re-signed with the Fire through 2013.  The team captain was moved outside to accomodate Pavel Pardo in the deep lying central role late this past summer.  Where does Pause fit in on the pitch if Pardo returns (which is likely) and Klopas and Co. upgrade at outside mid? 
  • The Fire acquired goalkeeper Jay Nolly from Vancouver in exchange for a 2013 first round draft pick.  Jeff Crandall talked to him in the latest All-In podcast
  • The Fire purchased the contract of Orr Barouch from Tigres while officially cutting ties with Cristian Nazirit and Gabriel Ferrari.  The move to secure Barouch is a good one.  The Israeli international was impressive in a bench role in 2011 and has a strong upside.  Nazarit never quite looked like he fit in despite tying Barouch for the team lead in Reserve league scoring with 5 goals.  Ferrari's release was a bit of a surprise considering he was a young player with some international experience but he suffered a torn ACL during a reserve match last summer.
  • New England forward Kheli Dube was selected in Round 2 of MLS' Re-Entry Draft last Monday.  The club is attempting to negotiate a new contract with Dube and he has not been added to the roster yet.  Dube would likely be no more than a bit player if he joins the team. 
  • Baggio Husidic and Jon Conway were selected by Colorado and Los Angeles respectively.  I think Husidic can be a serviceable reserve player in the league if he finds the right home. 
  • If you've got aspirations of being the next Pari Pantazopoulos (and who doesn't), the Fire are holding open tryouts again this year. 
  • The Fire reportedly have placed a discovery claim on a 19 year old Ecuadorian midfielder currently playing in Colombia.  This guy seems to fit the description. 
  • Wilman Conde seems to want back into MLS since running into some issues in Mexico with Atlas.  Conde has been out of action for some time with a leg injury and actually getting salary paid has allegedly been a source of concern for many players south of the border.  As tempting as it is to consider a former MLS first eleven center back in the side, remember that Conde spent the better part of the 2010 season accumulating cards, amassing costly turn overs, and essentially playing out the string until his contract was up.  The Fire also offered him a fairly substantial contract after the 2010 season but he decided to ply his trade in Mexico after attempting to sign with Puebla FC and angering the manager by bolting for Atlas before putting pen to paper.  It's possible that Conde could resurface at Puebla again since Juan Carlos Osorio is now the head coach there.  Any return to MLS would involve the Fire in some fashion since the team still holds his rights.
  • The club still hasn't made an announcement with regards to a jersey sponsor since Andrew Hauptman stated that major progress had been made a few weeks ago.  I suspect expect that it will be a few more weeks before we hear an official announcement. 
  • A final agreement with the potential jersey sponsor seems to be the driving force for the unveiling of 2012 kits. 
  • Soccer America's rankings are usually debatable at best, but in this article they rank the Fire 4th in terms of youth clubs.  In this one they rank Logan Pause as the 6th best holding midfielder in MLS.  Pavel Pardo is not on the list. 
  • Dominic Oduro didn't crack their top ten list of forwards but he is the 3rd ranked striker.  Here are the right mids and the the left siders.  They've further broken down the midfield positions into two more categories, central and attacking.  Marco Pappa is on the attacking list. 
  • Gonzalo Segares is ranked 5th among left backs
  • Section 8 Chicago is participating in a food drive for the Greater Chicago Food Depository.  Check out details here
  • They're also holding their annual holiday party this coming Saturday at the Union Park Lounge. 

Things should get pretty interesting as the MLS Super Draft approaches on January 12 and the Fire prep for the opening of pre-season training later in the month.  We'll do our best to increase and improve coverage on Fire Confidential in 2012. 

March can't get here soon enough.

Filed under: 2011 Post Season

Tags: Chicago Fire


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  • Guillermo,

    First and foremost, congratulation on your recent marriage! I wish you and Mrs. Rivera a lifetime of happiness. I would also like to thank you for all of your hard work over this past season. It had it's up's and down's, mostly down's, but you were definitely a highlight of the 2012 season. Here's hoping next year is better than this year with a MLS Cup, USOC, Supporters Shield, a flag jersey, and most importantly more Fire Confidental coverage. Glad to have you back.

    PS - While you were gone I was blocked on Twitter by Soccer by Ives for calling out his Tebow-induced stupidity. Where will I get my college soccer updates from now?!

  • Thanks coquito!

    Ha!.....Did Ives really block you? He does a pretty good job on the college soccer stuff leading up to the draft. Last season Orrin Schwarz, Sam Stejskal, Jeff Crandall, and myself did a live chat during the draft that was pretty entertaining. I'm hoping to do a little more with the draft stuff this season.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    His tweets unfortunately do not appear in my timeline any more. I guess calling some one a moron for praising a quarter back that led back-to-back 19 yard and 30 yard drives for 50+ yeard field goals leads to a block. Oh well, trust me I'm sure you'll fill the void.

  • No Nguyen? I guess this guy Frank is brining from Europe or South America must be pretty damn good. Can't help but think we're missing out on this guy...

  • In reply to c0quito18:

    Agreed, I was very intrigued by Nguyen. Was wondering if the fire would take a shot at him. Esp since I thought Pappa might be leaving.

  • In reply to KChance:

    Somewhat surprised they're not at least taking a shot. They seemed to be focused on adding central mids and forwards which could indicate that Pappa isn't going anywhere for the time being.

  • In reply to KChance:

    I think I just found out why they're passing: A national writer that will not be named informs us that the team that wins the Nguyen lotto will be excluded from any other player lotteries in the 2012 season. While Nguyen would be a good addition, there are a wealth of players rumored to be heading Stateside this season and missing out on them could be the reason why the Fire are excluding themselves from this lottery. Good luck to Nguyen, I hope he has a great career in every game but the ones he plays agains the Men in Red.

  • Toyota Park has one of the lowest naming rights deals at about $1m per year. About half the average and much less than the Galaxy's $7m.

  • Whitecaps have won the Lee Nguyen lottery draw.

  • so when do you think the club will announce any signings? january? february? march? august? i saw that portland just signed the league's youngest dp, what about us? still waiting on that mysterious jersey sponsor to be able to acquire a higher caliber player? i know its not even christmas, just curious.

  • In reply to penapirata:

    As far as signings go, I think they're looking to announce new players by mid/late January. Preseason training starts on January 17 and Klopas has stated that he wanted to have new players in camp from the start of training. We'll see if they can make that happen when the transfer window opens.

    They've got a discovery claim in on the young Ecuadorian so I'm assuming he'll be one of the names. Not sure yet what's come of Klopas' Euro trip though.

    The sponsorship deal should be closed in early January some time so I don't think that's holding up any player acquisitions at the moment.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    well with the way things are with the current ownership, i'm not going to hold my breath with any of those things.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Transfer window opens Jan 21:

  • Grant Wahl ranks the "ambition" of each MLS club.....

    He slots the Fire in at #11.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    that spot does suit us and what he says about us i agree with.

  • In reply to penapirata:

    Yep..none of that is off base. From a media standpoint I'd like to see Hauptman make himself more available if Posada isn't going to speak publicly to the fan base on a regular basis. Klopas is always available but he's not in a position to address every question about the organization.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Pretty obvious and true points Wahl makes. It's sad to see the way outsiders perceive Toyota Park (more specifically, Bridgeview), and I'm sure his thoughts pretty much sum up the majority of the rest of visitors. The building itself is still wonderful, of course (I wouldn't hate an addition of an overhang to make it a bit more enclosed over the endlines), but it's a case of "wonder what could have been" if someone gigantic with vision would have stepped up and figured out a way to get it placed in or at least more near the city (or at least outside an L line! The Orange to a shuttle just isn't happening for a lot of people).

    There are large empty industrial factory lots and the sort on the west side that, to my ignorant self, seem like they would have been nice locations with some development. I understand that it all comes down to money and that beggars can't be choosers... .but I have no doubt that a better location would have us selling out every single game and a much better reputation around the league / city of Chicago.

    Has this all been said before? Surely, but it eats away when I see these beautiful stadiums going up all over MLS and we're getting passed by. I mean, Kansas City of all places has arguably the best stadium in MLS now! We're Chicago. At least we're not New England... we'll have that to hold on to for the foreseeable future. ugh. /rant over, sorry for whining!

  • In reply to RedLine55:

    This is certainly the place for indulgence of whing. ;)

    I don't have too much of an issue with the location of Toyota Park considering that the City had no interest in getting a deal done for a soccer stadium back when sites were being sought. It's still a pretty nice stadium (albeit nothing close to KC, NY, and the new breed of stadia) and complaints about Bridgeview are a bit exaggerated IMO. If the Fire can place a consistently good product on the field that IS MARKETED AND PRESENTED CORRECTLY there will be butts in the seats. If Wahl would have been in attendance for any of the two '09 playoff games he might have a different opinion of the park itself but perception of the building isn't the most important thing here.

    The big problem that needs to be corrected is the issue of zero "buzz" about the team being generated in Chicago.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Yes, I agree with you, and you probably said what I was getting at in a more concise and clear fashion. And although I followed it closely while it was being proposed and shopped - and it's not like they didn't try to get it in the city proper - I have to believe that every 12k and 14k match attendance would be at least 5k+ more if it were in the city.

    It's a case of hindsight, really. And you see the expansion teams having incredible success within the city limits and you wonder, if the decision-makers in chicago 10 years ago saw the MLS now, if they would have a different opinion of an "investment." But you're right about those '09 playoff games, GR, those were magical nights!

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    "The big problem that needs to be corrected is the issue of zero "buzz" about the team being generated in Chicago."

    You pinned the tail straight up the donkey's arse with that observation, Guillermo! I'm sure those involved all have good intentions. But they have proven they aren't the right folks for the job. Why we haven't seen a housecleaning is a question that has to be aimed at the owner.

    The Fire does have issues with the stadium. But the stadium will certainly do for now. It could be a lot worse and, given the challenges faced when built, it's not half bad. But it's hard to believe this team is still largely unknown to most Chicagoans. Can we really not hire good marketing people in Chicago?!? I have to believe the owner has hired someone he likes on the cheap instead of actually looking for a real marketing guru. Perhaps it's time for an angry mob of fans to confront Hauptman about the lack of Poseda. If nothing else, I'll volunteer to do the same nothing for a lot less money if he'll promise to spend the difference on a high profile DP.

  • I am surprised Posada isn't more vocal, especially now that Klopas is the head coach. You understand that when Frank was the TD and being a chicago guy wanting to use him as the face, he seems to get on CTL on comcast more then i remember other coaches, but with Posada's backround in the media you think he would understand the need to be more visible to get the buzz up...

  • Posada Rymes with "Nada" he is just living up to his reputation Doing Next to nothing. "Nada" I said it often before "Wrong Guy For The Job."
    There are much better Marketing and Promotional People around.
    I said it many times before and say it again if we Had Peter Wilt as Chicago
    Fire President we would be much further along in in reaching our goals as we are under Posada. "Mr. Nada" {Nothing Noteworthy}

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