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.