The Fire took a big step towards improving last year's squad with the addition of midfielder Joel Lindpere. The Estonian veteran was acquired from New York in exchange for an international roster spot. The Red Bulls were apparently looking to move salary and Lindpere became expendable with Tim Cahill and Dax McCarty figuring to receive the bulk of the playing time at center midfield.
Lindpere came into the league in 2010 and was named New York's most valuable player for that season. He was most effective playing centrally but was pushed outside as more of a role player with changes to the New York roster over the last year. Lindpere, a hard nosed, effective two way, box to box player gives the Fire a different look that may push Chris Rolfe further up the field into more of a true forward role. As an added bonus, he is also a green card holder and does not occupy an international roster spot.
Lindpere's salary will consume a decent chunk of budget space however. According to the MLS Player's Union he earned $195,000.00 in guaranteed compensation in 2012. At that cost, this is a good move for Chicago and gives Frank Klopas more options with another quality player at his disposal. Particularly because they gave up relatively little to get him.
With the draft approaching things should get very interesting, very quickly. There may be another move or two on the horizon.
Pre-Season Schedule Announced
The club also released their pre-season schedule today. After reporting for physical testing on January 18, the team will depart for Ave Maria, Florida once again this winter. A friendly against Florida Gulf Coast University on January 27 will be the first competitive action of pre-season.
It will be here before you know it.