The Fire's bizarre handling of Sebastian Grazzini's contract situation took another odd turn today. The Argentine midfielder did not train with the rest of his teammates this morning at the Toyota Park practice field, instead he trained "inside" the facility according to the club. Grazzini was not made available to speak to the media once again but Frank Klopas addressed his absence. "He's here. Where's he going to go? He's under contract," said Klopas.
Klopas cited some general soreness after a match as the reason for his absence from full training. He also said there was nothing new to report with regard to contract talks with the player. "There's no update and nothing new to report right now," said Klopas.
Sherjill MacDonald joining the Fire?
Rumors surfaced this morning that the Fire were close to a deal with Dutch striker Sherjill MacDonald. The 27 year old forward currently plays for Germinal Beerschot in the Belgium Jupiler Pro League and had been at Fire training for a trial a few weeks ago. He registered 7 goals in 29 games over the course of Beerschot's most recent season so it wouldn't appear that he would be a player that should be considered a final piece to the puzzle or a considerable upgrade over what the club currently has on the roster. If signed, MacDonald appears to be a move for additional depth.
Klopas confirmed the Fire's interest in MacDonald after training today. "Yes. He's on our list," said Klopas. "We have a list of four or five candidates that we're looking at. They're all guys that we've done a lot of work on and research but we'll see how it goes, we're definitely looking to add another striker".
Adding MacDonald or any other international player would necessitate a move involving one of the Fire's eight current internationals, which is the league limit.
Another striker on the horizon?
The club is still considering other options at the forward position and Klopas indicated that there are players interested in plying their trade in Chicago. "There's a lot of interest. A lot of players want to come," he said. "For me, you just have to see the qualities of the player on and off the field. Age also plays a factor. When you make moves sometimes you want to bring guys that you can build with for longer than six months or one year. I think that's the goal, to have guys that we can build the team around for two, three, or four years. It's difficult when you make a lot of changes every year," he continued.
That answer would not seem to bode well for the rumored interest in Ukranian forward Andriy Shevchenko, who turns 36 in September and has indicated that he is weighing offers while also mulling retirement. Shevchenko is not the Fire's top wish list target.
Segares Out - Gargan In?
A red card issued to Gonzalo Segares on Saturday night leaves Klopas with a decision to make at left back against Sporting Kansas City. Dan Gargan moved to the left side as the Fire shifted positions and could get the start again in lieu of rookie Hunter Jumper. "We have Dan who can play there. We just have to see how we match up," said Klopas. "It's also still a game that we'll be playing on the road and experience always helps in difficult environments like that. We just have to assess where everyone is with match- ups, but we have some options".
"That's a play I wish I could get back," said Segares of the tackle attempt resulting in the dismissal. " I won the first ball and was trying to follow through and I really thought I was going to be able to get there. It skipped a little bit fast on me and when I was going for the tackle I tried to pull my foot back and I definitely couldn't get my body all the way out (of the way). I definitely took my foot out and with the movement I steamed over him," explained Segares. "He got the ball first and that's what went toward the call for the ref. I wish I could take it back because I feel like I let my team down," said Segares.
The Fire waived forward Kheli Dube in what will likely be the first of several moves over the next few days as the July 1 "guaranteed contract" date for MLS rosters approaches. "It was difficult, but it just didn't work out. He hasn't played a lot and it was difficult to see where he would get minutes to play. His wife just had a baby and they're in Zimbabwe so it's been difficult for him. He was a good guy and a good pro, we wish him all the best," said Klopas. According to Klopas, the Fire and Dube parted ways mutually amicably and the forward is returning to Zimbabwe to be closer to his family.
Dube was a green card holder and therefore did not occupy one of the eight available international spots on the roster.
Kinney returns to full training
Defender Steven Kinney resumed full training today for the first time since the end of the 2010 season when he suffered a torn achilles in the final match of the season. "It felt wonderful to be out there, full running," said Kinney. "Now it's just a matter of getting my fitness back and getting my sharpness back," he said.
" I tore my achilles and when I was coming back I had a sports hernia and then the other ligament in my ankle started to flare up but that's calmed down now." Kinney doesn't feel he has any after effects from the string of injuries and should be close to 100% soon. "I haven't run in a year and a half so there are aches and pains so we'll just have to fight through this."
- With the transfer window opening tomorrow, Alex will be officially available for selection against Sporting Kansas City on Friday
- SKC takes on the Dayton Dutch Lions in US Open Cup play tonight.
- Expect other transactions to be made shortly in lieu of the July 1 deadline in order to free up roster spots and avoid the guaranteed contract date