Mikulic & Cuesta Returns In Doubt

It's a good thing the Fire drafted center backs Austin Berry and Justin Chavez because the position which seemed very deep a few days ago isn't as stacked as originally thought.  During an afternoon conference call with reporters Frank Klopas provided an update on the status of Josip Mikulic and Yamith Cuesta. Neither appears likely to return to the Fire any time soon, if at all this season.

Josip Mikulic has not joined the team for training due to family issues and is not likely to return.  The organization was made aware of the situation recently and will apparently move forward under the assumption that the Croatian center back won't be in Chicago come March 17.  Klopas expressed an interest in bringing him back but the undisclosed family situation made it difficult to judge if Mikulic would return at all.

The club is still trying to bring Yamith Cuesta back into the fold but his current deal is complicated by a loan which is difficult to work through.  The uncertainty regarding the loan deal and what it would take to work out a contract agreement with Cuesta and the team currently holding his rights makes it seem unlikely that the defender would be in camp or in uniform at the start of the season.

Klopas made it clear, however that the club would retain the rights for both players within MLS.

Conde An Option To Return?

When asked if the developments with Mikulic and Cuesta would impact a deal with New York or perhaps open the door for Wilman Conde to return to the Fire, Klopas was a bit elusive.  The Fire have not completed the deal with the Red Bulls which would send Conde to New York and Klopas said there was nothing new to report on the negotiations at this time.  The Fire coach did say he was happy with the current roster despite also saying that they would continue to look for additional players to compete for roster spots.

International Roster Spots

The loss of Mikulic and Cuesta would leave the Fire with five internationals on the roster, three below the MLS maximum.  Pavel Pardo, Marco Pappa, Sebastian Grazzini, Rafael Robayo, and Federico Puppo currently occupy those five spots.

Puppo reported to camp yesterday and Klopas expects Robayo to arrive within a week.

Johnson Takes A Rest

Goalkeeper Sean Johnson, who played in the US Men's National Team 1-0 win over Panama on Thursday night will take a short break before joining the team on the second leg of pre-season training on February 8 in California.


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  • shame about mikulic, i liked his passion for the game.

  • Wow...this s%!t just got real

  • Any chance that the team may keep Conde. Either way, it would seem his value to us just went up.

  • In reply to colton:

    There's always a chance but I think the deal with the Red Bulls has been agreed to in principle pending NY striking a deal with Atlas and Conde. It sounded to me like Klopas was exploring other options that didn't involve Conde.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Also, I don't think Conde would much rather play for New York. I hear from NYRB boards that Conde tried to force a trade to NY in 2008. The Fire allegedly wouldn't play ball because they were still pissed about JCO.

  • In reply to iron81:

    Don't you remember Conde whining to the media about wanting to be sent to NYRB? That was when JCO was still at Red Bull. Conde took a whole season to win supporters - and maybe other players - back after that. And of course the Fire told RBNY to f**k off back to New Jersey when they came calling!

    No, Conde made it clear to the world that he'd rather be in New York. Whether that was just because JCO was there at the time or not doesn't seem to be clear. But after that season he proceeded to go downhill. So regardless of whether Conde would actually prefer to be in Chicago or NY, trading his rights for allocation money looks like a great move by the Fire at this point. Chances are, this is another move where RBNY shoots themselves in the foot.

  • Definitely making things interesting at CB. Unless we end up with a Anibaba-like situation with Jumper, which is always a possibility. I think part of what made Jalil step up so much in his rookie year was the fact that he HAD to step up. If Anibaba/Gibbs are the starting tandem at CB, Jumper role would be that of a reserve, which could show him to be a bit more green when it comes to game time and stepping into the game in a sub role.

    It'll be interesting to see what the coming days bring.

  • here's hoping that everything is ok with Mikulic's family

  • In reply to Drew:

    Definitely. Can't be overstated.

  • Losing those two center defenseman is the best thing that could happen to the fire. The only game that Cuesta played well was against Manchester and old Mikulic was just plain terrible. By subtracting the team is much better. This was a very smart move by klopas

  • In reply to brokerjohn:

    Not sure how family issue back home and loan complications equates to "a very smart move by Klopas", but I would agree that it's not as bleak as some might think it is.

  • Dasan Robinson is tweeting that he has retired from professional soccer. @dae32

  • In reply to Modibo:

    It's a bit strange reading his parting message spread out over 5 different tweets:
    "Dear Family, Friends, and Fans, I am writing to let you all know that I have officially retired from professional soccer. It was not an easy (break) decision nor was it a decision made overnight but I believe it is the right decision for me at this point in my life. I thank you all for (break) me at this point in my life. I thank you all for your support throughout the years. I truly would not have been successful if it was not for (break) your support. It has been a wonderful experience over these last 6 yrs but I know God has big plans for me going forward. Jeremiah 29:11 (break) God Bless You All..."
    Good luck in your next venture, Dasan!

  • In reply to Modibo:

    Ah, the drawback of a 140 character limit. He also posted the same thing to his facebook page, sans character limits.

  • fb_avatar

    So we got Dan for free?

  • In reply to waam:

    Who's Dan?

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Dan Gargan, I would assume. We traded Dasan to Toronto for Dan Gargan. Toronto, of course, traded Dasan soon after to LA. You know this. You must be having a brain freeze.

  • In reply to Fuegofan:

    Ahh...now I get it. The Fire did indeed acquire Dan Gargan from TFC in exchange for Dasan Robinson.

  • I just looked at the RSL jersey and I think the new Fire jersey is top 4 compared to rest of MLS jerseys...

  • In reply to Adam25:

    Who else is at the top for you?

  • In reply to Adam25:

    RSL jerseys look like our last Puma version.

  • Our New Quaker Oats Jerseys look good.
    I just hope we have the team this year that will make us Fans proud.
    Hope we get more Media attention with our partnership with Quaker.

  • In reply to Juergen:

    The Quaker partnership might get them a small bump but actually putting a winning team on the field is what will attract some mainstream media attention.

    They've got a good opportunity this summer because I suspect both baseball teams will be somewhat less than entertaining.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    One team will be less entertaining than previous years. The other will continue their non-entertaining trend. :)

  • Fire verifying today that former midfielder Iván Guerrero is in camp with the team as a trialist.


  • In reply to Jeff Krause:

    Isn't Iv'an Guerrero way past his prime???
    I thought he retired Years ago and was a good will Embassador
    for charitable organizations??

  • In reply to Juergen:

    You might be thinking of Diego Gutierrez, who retired in 2008, did a ton of work with Nothing But Nets, and now works for the Philadelphia Union.

    Guerrero was a pretty good player for the Fire but I haven't seen him play in a while so I don't know what he's got left. He just retired from playing in Honduras last month but did say he was open to playing outside of that country. If he still has some miles left in those legs it could be a good pick up.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    You are correct I got Diego Guiterrez confused with Ivan Guerrero.
    Just hoping we field a winning team this year.

  • I hope that Ivan has some miles left in those legs he was one tough customer when playing with the fire

  • I'm optimistic that Ivan has some gas in the tank still. He's younger than Pardo, and Pardo was strong last season. I know they're not the same player obviously, but if his fitness is there, he'll be a solid addition to the squad.

  • Any Chance the Fire will Stream today's match VS DC???
    They will tape it for training purposes why not Stream it??
    Maybe we can all band together and let the Fire know we want to see
    the Game today!!!!

  • In reply to Juergen:

    Count me in for that. PLEASE! I'm starved for some Fire gameage and anxious to see some of the new guys perform.

  • In reply to Juergen:

    fire said no stream for today. may stream in the near future.

  • In reply to penapirata:

    BAH! And no score updates ANYWHERE except for twits.

  • They know fans want to watch. They just don't want to give Brendan Hannan more mike time because they know he is so much better than Dan Kelly who announces Fire games like hockey games. I swear, I would give Brendan Hannan the full time job because he cares about the game, he knows the game, and he is passionate about the team. They then need to get a color man who has a sense of humor and can actually keep people awake during the game. Fake enthusiasm is annoying. Boring commentary is really dreadful. Get Brendan in front of the mike, he's ready. Also, get Brian McBride to do the commentary. He would at least have somethin positive to say.

  • In reply to Krasov:


  • No streams of the FL games. Don't know about New Orleans, but they plan on streaming the CCC games for sure.

    Fire twitter page also released a list of trialists today:

    Fabrizio Pittaluga, Walter Restrepo, Omar Persad, Alec Kann, Alex, Jonathan Okafor, Paulo Tornaghi, Ivan Guerrero.

  • Fire play to a draw against DC United in Florida. Next game Wednesday vs. FGCU.

  • It was a sad day when Ivan Guerrero left the FIRE!

    I hope he accepts a role off the bench and has some legs left!

    I wish we would have signed Cunningham who has some legs left and now signed in Guatamala.

    At any rate if we are anything like we finished the season we fans will have a well deserved team to watch this coming season make the playoffs once again after a drought!

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