Mid week notes: Gibbs on the road to recovery, #PickPat, Grazzini & more

The Fire returned to training today to start a full week of preparation for the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday night.  Chicago should have a bit of an advantage considering that Vancouver plays on the road at Toronto tonight and will close a five game road swing at Toyota Park.  The Fire capped a stretch of three games in ten days with a 2-0 loss to the Galaxy.  Tired legs and the loss of Sebastian Grazzini have served as possible theories to explain the flat performance following two impressive wins and a tie in Houston but Frank Klopas brushed off the Grazzini talk in post game comments and feels the current fixture list won't be a problem going forward despite the heavy minutes logged by most of the regular starters.

"I think the guys are fresh.  We have a fitness guy and we evaluate every minute guys play and what we do in training sessions," said Klopas when asked about the possibility of resting starters or altering the line-up in anticipation of another match in New York next Wednesday.  "They have four days to recover, if you can't recover in four days then maybe you should retire," Klopas continued.  "Everybody was fresh going into (the LA game).  We don't play in Champion's League where we're playing Wednesday/Saturday for seven months.  We have stretches of two or three weeks we're we go like that but we looked at that game and we had an extra day to recover and we felt good.  I think there was no concern there from our standpoint as far as guys being fully recovered and ready to perform.  As far as recovery there's no issue.  You play Saturday and the next game is Wednesday, that's more than enough time because our training sessions are sharp," said Klopas.

The coaching staff also alters the duration and intensity of training sessions in order to maintain a level of sharpness on game days.  "Today was 75 minutes which will be the hardest of the week," explained the Fire gaffer.  "It was competitive but everything was short and sharp.  We kept some guys out today after certain parts .  Guys that have played the most minutes like Patrick (Nyarko) and Pavel (Pardo) and Chris Rolfe, mostly because he's coming back with his leg (injury) more than anything just to recover but other than that everyone's feeling good" said Klopas.

"We have research based on how guys felt (after games) from last year and we've adjusted certain things and I think the guys are fresh.  There's no issue with that."

As far as the team needing some time to adjust to playing without Grazzini, defender Arne Friedrich considers that perception to be a non issue.  "No way.  We've got many of these questions and it's definitely not true.  He's a good player but the two games before we also played without him and we got decent results so it's no excuse and we shouldn't discuss that," said Friedrich.

Cory Gibbs on the mend

Defender Cory Gibbs, who had surgery to repair a torn right meniscus in early April was on the field this morning and looked surprisingly strong raising hopes that he may be back before the end of the season.  "My fingers are crossed.  You never know," said Klopas about the possibility of having the veteran available for selection again in 2012. " I think his strength in his leg is looking good and he's doing more things.  He's running around, he's jogging and he's doing better than what everyone would have expected at this point but that would be a very good surprise to have him back because at the beginning we all thought that he was probably out for the season," said Klopas.

"It's good sign that he's jogging, running, and touching the ball.  He's working very hard inside.  Whether he's on the field or not he's such a positive guy to have around with his experience and talking with the guys about being in many different situations throughout his career.  His ability to talk to guys and share some of his experiences over the season definitely helps.  He's a guy that's committed to the team," said Klopas.  Gibbs did some running and ball work on the side today.

Notes, Rumors, and More

  • The decision to start Jalil Anibaba at right back on Sunday in lieu of Dan Gargan had nothing to do with injury or form.  "I just felt that I wanted to put in Jalil at right back," said Klopas.  "I thought Jalil gave us something different on set pieces.  In every game you feel some match-ups are a little bit better but they're both guys I can count on."
  • Federico Puppo missed some training last week with a right ankle injury and did not dress for the LA game.  Puppo was back on the field and should be available for selection on Saturday.
  • Aregentine side Atletico de Rafaela claims via their Facebook page that Sebastian Grazzini, who is at issue with the Fire has been offered to several clubs in Argentina. A deal for a one year loan, free of charge was offered according to the post. The site claims that a deal sending Grazzini to Atletico de Rafaela would make him one of the highest paid players on that club.  Keep an eye on this.  A loan or transfer to an Argentine side while citing "family/personal issues" seems like a logical next step to this illogical soap opera.
  • This article claims that Rafael Robayo is one of three reinforcements that Millonarios is attempting to secure for their upcoming Copa Sudamericana campaign.  According to the article, there are still some difficulties in reaching an agreement with the Fire.  The clubs are supposedly looking at different alternatives for getting the deal done.
  • In yet another issue this time involving paper work, this report claims that the arrival of Sherjill MacDonald could be delayed due to issues in securing his visa.  Per the report, MacDonald has already signed a contract and the Fire purchased the forward from Beerschot.  Several reports already have claimed that a transfer fee was paid for MacDonald.  Of course the Fire would need to move an international or trade for an international slot in order to officially add him to the roster.

#PickPat - Nyarko an All-Star?
Team writer Jeff Crandall seems to think so.  Patrick Nyarko was inexplicably excluded from the six Fire players nominated by select media to receive consideration for the All-Star game roster via the voting process so the Fire are launching a campaign to have him added to the roster either through one of coach Ben Olson's selections or Commissioner Don Garber's picks.  The campaign is spearheaded by a #PickPat hashtag on twitter.  Here are the details.
Around the league

  • Reports are surfacing that the New York Red Bulls are negotiating with a third DP.  The New York Post seems to think it's midfielder Alexander Hleb.
  • Justin Braun has been traded from Montreal to Real Salt Lake in exchange for a draft pick.
  • Vancouver has sold midfielder Davide Chiumiento to FC Zurich in Switzerland.




Filed under: 2012 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire


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  • if hleb is over his injury issues and regain his game fitness that could turn out to be a good signing for the pink cows. as for us, what do we got going for us? macdonald, yippee. i'll say it again, we are paying a transfer fee for a striker who has 27 goals in the last 5 years and only 15 in the last 3. why are we wasting money on a transfer fee for players like this and puppo? its mind boggling.

  • In reply to penapirata:

    Well, see, team management has this philosophy about how to lower fan expectations and improve the bottom line in the short run. Building towards a team sale? At least there might be hope at the end of that tunnel.

  • The US Open Cup final will be played on August 8 at Livestrong Park in KC. The Sounders will try to win their fourth consecutive USOC title by defeating Sporting Kansas City. Seattle will need to win this one on the road though.

  • franks comments seem to be getting a little sharp when asking questions that deal with the quality of the team. i have seen this before, when someone gets frustrated with the situation that they have they tend to lash out when questioned/criticized about that situation. could it be that he is getting no serious help or support from upper management(ie ownership)? just a thought. because a while back he said he wanted grazzini to remain with the team and that he was a key piece in the lineup and if he had support from upper management they would have found a way to keep grazzini here and solve those "family issues"(if they are even real). ownership probably told klopas this: "hey frank, i know you really want to keep grazzini here but is there a cheaper solution that we could use instead? we just feel that grazzini is not worth the money when we have robayo or alex to replace him." and my last thought there is no way rolfe is a #10 imo. he is better suited up top.

  • Listening to espn deportes radio this morning I found out our dear friend and former DP, Nery Castillo, is the newest member of Pachuca FC in Mexico. I wonder if his agent has a sob letter ready for his team in Greece on why it didn't work out? Somebody wake Jimmy Conrad up and get him on his Twitter-machine!

  • fb_avatar

    Perhaps if we follow a little less closely, we wouldn't care so much. Maybe thats the way we should do it guys. Perhaps we should settle for the fact that we have a team. Who cares if they are good or not. I think the FO just wants us to be fans, pay them for these jerseys we have on, go to a few games etc, and leave the passion and desire to win to them. Thats why they don't share information. Thats why this is their transparent policy. Thats how I see it. You can only love something so much, but when a divorce is in order, the signs become clear. I love the Fire, but they don't love me back.

  • I've been feeling the same way for a bit now, waam. It's not like I've got 40 years invested in this relationship. When my partner in this relationship (Fire Front Office) shows no signs of interest and won't even sit down to a serious discussion about my concerns over their lack of commitment to the relationship, there’s really nothing holding me here. I don’t have to stick with this team’s dismal business approach to a professional soccer franchise as simply a means to mine the spare money from my wallet. I haven’t moved on yet, but I’m certainly no longer buying tickets or team gear. Call me apprehensively sitting in the car with my belongings at the end of the driveway.

  • well the "keane like money" will not be used to sign rodallega. he signed a 3 year contract with fulham.


  • I have similar feelings as arklow and waam, I felt this way in 2010 and sent an email to my season ticket rep about how other teams were getting better and growing fan bases and how I felt that it was pointless for me to try and get people to go to games when it was just to see the team get embarrassed. Who wants to watch another losing Chicago team playing a foreign sport? I cant convince other people to feel passionate about mediocrity and I cant rationalize putting forth the effort to do so. For those people feeling frustrated I reccommend emailing your ticket reps or the Fire directly. When I did I got a phone call from Frank Klopas and he discussed with me in detail my concerns. Obviously it didnt make an impact on the pitch, but I felt better knowing that they cared enough to call and pacify me. Maybe if enough people put pressure on them something would be done, besides a couple thousand die hards, nobody else cares about the Fire. It's those same die hards that attract new fans, buy merchandise (if they can find it) and without us, this club will die. We are also unable to make the decisions that can bring back Tradition Honor and Passion, so we need to put pressure on those people that do. I am getting married this fall and even though I knew I would have to miss alot of home games this season, I still bought my season tickets to help support the team financially and figured I'd use the ticket exchange to attract potential fans with an opportunity to go to a free game. If things don't turn around this year, I wont renew my tickets. I will still be a fan, I will go to the occasional match and will watch them but that is it. If my words are ignored and the people that run this club continue not to care enough to improve I will hope that they see that cutting corners loses revenue.

  • In reply to john:

    Congrats John and thanks for posting that. There are a lot of opinions written in these comment and much of them place a negative light on the goings on in upper management within the club. I like to think that those comments are more a reflection of the passion of the fan base such as yourself Waam, Arklow, etc. rather than people just looking to post something negative. It's a good thing that there are supporters out there who will demand more and expect more than what has transpired over the last few seasons. I would hope that the club reads some of it and takes it to heart instead of being insulted by some of it. It's that same passion that makes every other team in Chicago what they are. The Fire's hard core fan base is of course much smaller than the numbers the Bears, Sox, Cubs, Bulls can post but it's the passion displayed by all of you that will help the club grow to where it should be.

    And what's up with getting married during the season? C'mon man.....

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    I don't think it's at all the case of people being negative for the sake of being negative. We see after wins people being very positive...sometimes to a fault, just like the amped up negativity after losses. I believe people are tired of seeing mediocre depth signings and draft picks fill out our roster. We haven't signed a legit DP for 2 seasons. I think we all get that signing a DP or two doesn't guarantee anything, but it does show a financial commitment by the organization to try their best to win. I also think we can all agree that Puppo doesn't really count as a DP as far as the fans are concerned. LA and NY, other major mkts, are spending and at least trying to win (or in LA's case, actually winning). We see Grazzini leave and the whole situation seemed badly mismanaged or at least poor communication. We've seen an enormous exodus of players over the past few years, with only a sprinkling of good player personnel moves made by management. The team is competitive finally, which is to their credit, but I often see the progress as 2 steps forward, 1 step back...or sometimes 1 step forward, 2 steps back. I'm pretty tired of waiting for the team to make a significant move or two to generate some excitement and optimism. It's fair to expect the organization to put forth their best effort, and I believe most of us don't see that as the case. Hopefully they'll shock us over the next 2 weeks or so and come up with a legitimate answer to Grazzini's departure and a legit forward to slot next to Oduro. Personally, until I see that, I'll see the organization settling for possibly making the playoffs but not pushing for a trophy.

  • So much for 2nd NY team in MLS. New York Cosmos joined the NASL Division 2 starting 2013 following Ottawa in 2014.

  • In reply to longoria3:

    I wouldn't rule out the Cosmos as the 20th MLS team since Garber still seems hellbent on making NY2 a reality. I don't think this move affects that in any way.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Add Orlando in that list with the 2nd NY team.

  • Thanks Guillermo, our frustration is definitely coming from our love of the Fire, you're right about that. One of the perks of being part of a smaller fan base is that we also have a more direct connection to the players, coaches, FO. So we should use that to our advantage and send emails or make calls.

    Planning a wedding during the season was due to my ignorance of how much planning was actually involved lol.

  • In reply to john:

    Don't worry John, I actually spent a couple days trying to convince my wife to go to the game against Chivas USA after our rehearsal dinner the day before our wedding last year. I ultimately spent the night putting the finishing touches on centerpieces while watching the game on my DVR. We can't all plan an off-season wedding like GR. ;)

  • In reply to john:

    With all of the Classic NASL names like the Timers, Sounders, Earthquakes , Whitecaps , and now the Cosmos , it is time to bring the Sting name back , not outdoors , but indoors . Any attemps in the future to bring MISL back to Chicago needs to have he Sting name or they are wasting their time , alot of the Sting fans from the day woul go to these games because all Sting fans would love to see that name active again. Even names like the Rowdies and Strikers have all stayed alive through the years , yes , it is time for the Sting to return as an indoor team.

  • In reply to FireStingDoug:

    Dont forget the Rowdies and Strikers in the NASL Div 2. The safe bet is to put the Cosmos is in that league to develop a fan base. MLS needs to focus on the Red Bulls selling out before considering a 2nd MLS team. How is that 2nd LA team going consider having issues drawing at HDC? Move Chivas USA out of that place either build their own stadium or relocate it like San Diego, St. Louis, Minnesota or etc.

  • Great commentary John. I was slowly coming to this realization as well. I feel, like Guillermo, that whenever the commentary is negative most of us on here are here to vent frustration and bemoan sub-par performances. I must admit that I owe Guille a beer or food for acting as both part-time therapist (for talking me off the ledge during the low periods) and as part-time analyst (for offering a different perspective on the teams performance and moves). There's an "Arrested Development" joke to be made in that past sentence, but I'm sure we're all too mature to openly state it :).
    I will gladly praise the team when they do something well. I admitted that bringing in Pardo and Grazzini last year was an amazing move given that they were brought in for non-DP money. Unfortunately, this year is the culmination of years of coming-up short. The club spent almost 3-4 years as a legitimate playoff/championship threat and to see the wheels fall of the truck like this for the past two years has been disheartening for most. The Hauptman Era began with such promise and set a standard that I think we all believed they would uphold.
    I will continue to support the club and will take your advice to express it to the club. Hopefully this year turns around.

  • In reply to c0quito18:

    I have always looked at Guillermo as the voice of reason and a calming influence .

  • In reply to c0quito18:

    You guys are starting to frighten me now. ;)

  • For those asking about MLS teams loaning out players to USL/NASL....it's still happening. DC United is loaning out Long Tan and Ethan White to Richmond for games this weekend. Not sure why it doesn't happen more though.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Partly because MLS requires players on loan to continue to take up a roster spot and I bet teams are also stuck with the cap hit.

  • In reply to iron81:

    but if they aren't playing, are these really reasons not to loan them out? i would imagine a clause could be added that they could be recalled to the parent squad if needed, no?

  • Toronto trades Julian DeGuzman to Dallas for Andrew Wiedeman.

  • Montreal trades Tyson Wahl to Colorado in exchange for an international roster spot.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Guillermo, thank you for keeping us informed.
    What is happening with the Chicago Fire as of late??
    Great the Fire are trying to promote Nyarko on twitter.
    What about an update on Grazzini and or his replacement
    since most of us who follow every game don't agree with
    Frank that he has the players on the roster at this time???
    Don't want continuing repeats of last weeks poor performance.
    Tired of listening to Lame excuses especially by Logan Pause
    who's on the field performance leaves a lot to be desires.
    As you pointed out in your comments other teams are making trades and improving. Is the Fire doing anything to improve the Squad??
    Highly Disappointed and Frustrated with The Fire and its managing
    staff who "Are Not Living Up To Their Mission Statement."
    They are Decreasing not increasing the Fire Fans at this point.

  • In reply to Juergen:

    My guess is that they're waiting on the visa issues and the international spot to open up in order to add MacDonoald. They've painted themselves into a corner with the Grazzini deal and are now apparently trying to move him to an Argentine side. I suspect the increase in Grazzini's salary with the option is now limiting their movement within the salary budget since they apparently blew their allocation load on the transfer for Puppo. A lot probably depends on whether or not they can get something for Robayo if they manage to send him back to Millonarios. July 27 will be here soon, so there will be some answers forthcoming one way or another.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    I'd rather see them dump Puppo and keep Robayo, at least he has shown some flashes in several past games.
    With MacDonald, why in the hell are they keeping another underperforming forward (Puppo), doesn't make sense.
    Does the F.O. even understand soccer?
    With a more savvy F.O. we'd never end up in the Grazzini box the team finds themselves in. Maybe part of the fiasco lies with Grazzini, but one would think the F.O. would be bright enough to figure things out.
    MacDonald in all probability will not be a game changer.
    It's discouraging to see the club's actions while other weaker teams are trying to improve.
    If the Fire doesn't make they playoffs, we'll know whom to blame, the blame will not totally on Frank, but on the higher-ups.

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    You make some really good points. It does seem that this organization does not seem to want to make those moves. I understand building for the future but how can we do that when have continuing turnover and this off season will not be any different as it is going so far. GR do you happen to have knowledge of the length of contracts of the players. I want to write a piece on my blog but would like to use the length of contracts for it.

  • In reply to penapirata:

    I've got a handle on a good chunk of them but not all. I'll see what I can piece together.

  • 2nd comment in about 5 minutes blocked by wordpress. Or is it Klopas and Co. in disguise???!!! ;)

  • Red Bulls acquire back up keeper Bill Gaudette from the Galaxy in exchange for a second round pick.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Sebastian Le Toux traded to the Red Bulls for Dane Richards. WOW!!! Seems like Dane Richards was a NY Red Bull forever.

  • Solid pick up for NY. Gaudette was a giant killer when he played in the NASL.

  • In reply to pistolpete:

    Yes...he was excellent for the Puerto Rico Islanders.

  • FO, FO, FO.

    It's not the FO making the contract decisions. Its been said a few times now this year that in fact it's not Frank Klopas making those decisions either. When the Grazzini thing untangled, Javier Leon told reporters that it was he and Guillermo Petrei handling player acquisition, yet it seemed no one then asked, "What the hell are you doing then?"

    Maybe its easier not to blame them because Petrei, the VP of Soccer Operations that was never announced with a press release has yet to make a public statement and Leon only comes out of the shadows when Andrew tells him to but that's how it's working these days.

    Point your frustration for Puppo, Robayo, Grazzini and the pending signing of Sherjill MacDonald to the two Andell lackies whose only qualifications for their current roles are running one of the worst franchises in league history into the ground off the bat and starting a youth club in Maryland.

    Then point your frustration to the current owner who thinks its a good idea to hire people in positions they know nothing about.

    I don't blame the "front office" anymore for this type of stuff because 99% of the people that work there aren't making the boneheaded decisions on players. I actually think they've done a decent job lately in sales, getting the people in the stadium. My ticket rep is great and knowledgeable about both the team and the game, something I couldn't say even a couple years ago... I'm seeing more ads and people wearing Fire merch than I ever remember. There's a weekly radio show and a pre-game on TV... aside from the NBC-Nonstop deal this year, I'm pretty happy with what the general functions of what I would think the majority of the front office is doing.

    I'm just not pleased with the fact that the same imbecile that screwed up Chivas USA now has a partner in crime at the Fire and people aren't pointing their dissatisfaction where it belongs with those two.

    Leon, Petrei, the owner and his fragile ego are the majority of what is wrong with this club. Either we hypnotize Andrew into understanding the proper way to do things or we hope he sells the team.

    Which do you think is more likely?

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