FC Podcast Episode 1 & preseason notes

With preseason coming to a premature end due to weather conditions in Charleston, South Carolina last night the Fire are headed back to Chicago with a few decisions to make before first kick.  The match against the Charleston Battery was cancelled but the Fire will take on the NSC Minnesota Stars at the Toyota Park practice field this coming Friday morning in the the final tune up before they open the season in Montreal on March 17.

With that in my mind Jeff Krause and I take a look at the pre-season, roster cuts, rookies, new additions, and what to look for in the opener at Montreal in the first episode of the Fire Confidential Podcast.  Give it a listen here.
Klopas & Pre-Season notes

With Sean Johnson expected to be heavily involved with the US U-23 squad this summer, Frank Klopas is looking to both Jay Nolly and Paolo Tornaghi to step in when called up.  Klopas won't hesitate to use either one, "Right now it’s about having depth and feeling good in every position. We brought in Jay because he’s an experienced guy. Knowing that we might miss Sean, it was very important to have three guys that you feel comfortable with and Paolo is a young guy with a big upside and he’s been in a very good environment and he’s come in and is very mature for his age, so it’s good that we have depth in that position,” said Klopas.

The forward position is one spot most observers feel is missing one final piece.  Klopas seems content with what the team has now but is still looking at bringing in other players if the current bunch struggles.  "We have Dom and Patrick, but we’ve also got Federico Puppo here who’s a very promising and young player. We’ve got Orr and Dube, and I think if we were going to go down that way, we looked at some different options where we have identified a couple players that have not played within the league that we feel would bring something different than what we have, so we’re looking at those options. It’s not necessarily our concentration right now because we do feel there’s some depth with the guys we’ve brought in, but we have already identified strikers that we follow, that we really like, and that we feel would be a good fit with us,” he said when asked about the striker position.

Paladini sees benefit of continuity and competition

In his second season with the club Daniel Paladini seems to have embraced the battle for a spot in a crowded midfield by turning in a impressive preseason effort.  He feels the competition, particularly in South Carolina has been good for the team.  “I think every phase has been different. This has probably been our best phase. That’s what the coaches want to see, and what we want to see going into the game against Montreal. We’ve had a bunch of callups and sickness, which has put a little damper on us, but that’s also opened up doors for other guys to step up, including myself. That’s only going to make our team better every day by competing and fighting for spots. Whether it’s any of us coming off the bench, or starting, we’re going to be ready, so it’s good,” said Paladini.

He also feels it was important to keep the squad that finished so strongly in 2011 mostly intact.  “Any time you can spend 2, 3, 4 years with a team you get more comfortable with the team and with the organization. I think it’s great we've kept our core.  If you look at teams like RSL and the Galaxy they’ve had their cores for quite some time now and it shows.  I wouldn't say the Galaxy, beside their DP’s have the best guys out on the field but they know how each other plays and I definitely think that’s an advantage.  I guess I have taken on more of a vet role whether it’s captaining the reserve team or what not, I’ll take it.  I feel like I've gained most of the guys respect and I’m going to help the team in any way possible whether it’s coming off the bench, starting, or getting a couple minutes, that’s what I’m going to do.”

Pause excited for 2012

Team captain Logan Pause is anxious to get the season started and chimed in on the advantages of having most of the squad intact this pre-season.  “It’s a double edged sword.  When you’re bringing everyone back it’s positive.  There are little pieces that are dangerous because you don’t want complacency, you don’t want comfort, and you want everyone still raring to go, looking over their shoulder.  I think we've done a good job of that.  I think we’ve got a strong team with good depth that is going to push whoever’s starting.  I think we saw glimpses last year of what this group is capable of, which is great.  I think we just need to have a good start to the season,” said Pause before the Carolina Challenge Cup finale which was eventually rained out.

Section 8 Chicago ISA Board meeting

Any supporters interested in discussing the upcoming events and activities of the ISA for 2012 or just meeting fellow supporters are welcome to attend the next board meeting which will be held at Atlantic Bar in Chicago (5062 N. Lincoln) on Wednesday, March 7 at 7pm.  Anyone interested in adding an agenda item for discussion can contact jeff@section8chicago.com.




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  • How come the fire haven't tried to get games on tv through wgn and wciu?

  • In reply to penapirata:

    Who's to say they haven't tried?

  • Looking forward to listening to the podcast!

  • What podcast?

  • In reply to brokerjohn:

    Not sure what you mean but if you can't get there from the link above try this one....


  • In case Steve Phillips doesn't think soccer will ever be popular in the US, look at these numbers especially from ages 12-24.


  • In reply to longoria3:

    shhhh......don't let the big thinkers in local sports media know that somebody may actually care about soccer.

  • In reply to longoria3:

    Not sure where they get their data, but I think the real key thing here is that the poll refers to "pro" soccer. This is different than the participation numbers that are easily discounted by the know-it-alls on the sports shout shows. If this is accurate, we should really see a surge during the next 3 World Cup cycles. And though it's not their demographic, it's a little telling that the NHL gets bumped by volleyball.

  • In reply to Doug:

    We have had sell out Soccer Crowds at Soldiers Field when
    the Fans had entertaining Soccer to look forward to. The White Socks
    Cubs, Blackhawks and the Bulls have never had crowds that size.
    Soccer is my Main Game and I like the Bulls and Blackhawks too.
    When the World Cup is played communications records are set.
    Whenever the World Cup Final is played it always sets the World record for "Being The Most Televised, Broadcasted and Publicized
    Event on Earth." The Fire have the opportunity to tap into that Huge
    Soccer Fan Base that exists in the Chicagoland area.

  • After listening to the podcast why no talk of cutting Videira? The games he played in last year he showed me no reason to hang on to him.

  • In reply to penapirata:

    I'd consider him a bubble player but we talked about the three most likely. I think Videira is in.

  • I listen to the podcast boy you guys really need to get a better mic, not trying to rude. Podcast was good.

  • In reply to Adam25:

    Thanks Adam. The podcast was recorded on the phone since Jeff was in South Carolina so it's not a mic thing. I have noticed that the software used to record it sounds clear on some platforms and sounds a little "tinny" on others. I'll see if I can clear that up for the next one,

  • fb_avatar

    I think EPL is more popular here in the US than MLS, and why not right? Arsenal, Man U, Liverpool and Chelsea command as large a following here in America as the local MLS teams probably.

  • In reply to waam:

    waam, you are correct to an extent. Teams like Arsenal, Man U, Liverpool, Chelsea, Man City and Tottenham franchises have been around for over a century old with history, tradition and 3rd/4th generation of players oppose to a league that hasn't been around for 20 years that continues to develop a fan base.

  • Just FYI, to follow up a previous conversation. If/when Tornaghi signs with the Fire, it will not be a loan, it would be permanent.

  • In reply to Jeff Krause:

    This surprises me. Tornaghi is still apparently under contract with Inter. Would we really pay a transfer fee for a backup keeper?


  • In reply to iron81:

    If I've learned anything from watching the Fire, it's that these deals have already been done before the announcement is made.

    No, I don't think the team in their wildest dreams would pay a transfer fee for a backup keeper but Inter let him come over and spend almost two months here.

    I get the feeling that if he signs, Inter will be ok with just letting him go...

  • In reply to iron81:

    Inter and Tornaghi mutually parted ways when he came over to Chicago. No existing relationship w/ Paolo and Inter.

  • In reply to Jeff Krause:

    Odd that Inter wouldn't announce this. Whatever.

  • Fire have announced the signing of Hunter Jumper. He's officially made the team.

  • A step in the right direction.......


    The Fire will have all games broadcast in spanish on ESPNdeportes radio - 97.5 FM. Deal will include a weekly radio show.

    If only the english side of ESPN radio paid attention......

  • With a week and a half from the start of the season, what's the Fire's plan B if this team doesn't make a good start?

  • In reply to penapirata:

    Klopas mentioned that they have an eye on some strikers if the current crop struggles if that's what you mean.

    If that doesn't work maybe they can play a 3-5-2 and bring back DLC. ;)

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Would he be bringing the help in August like last year and the year before? Because we know how those 2 seasons ended.

  • In reply to penapirata:

    When I talked to him in Charleston, Klopas indicated that if they brought in one of the strikers they were looking at, it would be during the July transfer window.

  • In reply to Jeff Krause:

    So if plan A doesn't work than we will have a repeat of the past 2 seasons?

  • In reply to penapirata:

    The difference this season is that the club has a much better squad to start the year than they have in the last two seasons. The additions that they made last July are still here to start the campaign.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    But look what happened when those additions were hurt and missed games.

  • Don't know. Depends on what Plan A is, and what Plan B would be behind it. Plan A last year didn't include Dom Oduro, but look what happened there....

  • In reply to Jeff Krause:

    Plan A you start Nyarko and Oduro up top. What happens if Oduro 2.0 isn't producing and the subs aren't either? What happens then? If they don't score and the miss don't pick up the slack we have a repeat of last year trying to back into the playoffs? I know I'm being pessimistic but this forward corps really doesn't give me a sense of security.

  • In reply to penapirata:

    I don't see Nyarko as being a scoring threat, 7 goals in 96 games, that's why I'd prefer Orr on top with Oduro. Nyarko's strength is ball movement, getting the ball in position. Just relying on Oduro is rather shaky, he could be injured or have an off year.
    Orr may not be the answer, but he should be given a shot, Nyarko's best position is outside midfielder. Given Pappa's
    in and out performance at mid field, I wonder how he would be playing up front as he is the only other significant scorer.
    These are just random thoughts, but I can't see Nyarko as a frontline goal scorer. The Fire still needs another proven
    goal producer on top.

  • Floyd Franks returns to MLS:


  • Long overdue move.....


    Now they just have to sell these.

  • ESPN finally releases their preseason analysis of the Fire:


  • Signing of Arne Friedrich should be announced soon......one year deal.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    The Fire announced it. Proven Goal Scorer also still needed!!!
    I was hoping the Chicago-Fire would also announce an English
    Speaking Television and Radio Contract and Schedule.
    How disappointing that hasn't happened yet!!!

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