Battle for roster spots in final stretch

With less than three weeks remaining until the first kick of the 2013 season the Fire have completed Phase 2 of training camp and have returned to Chicago for two days. The team will depart for Charleston, South Carolina and Phase 3 of preseason on Wednesday with the roster seemingly close to set. Spots 1-20, otherwise known as the "on-budget" roster may not have many openings but there do appear to be a few battles to be won in filling the "off-budget" spots 21-30.

Spots 19 and 20 on the senior roster do not have to be filled per league roster rules and can be used to add allocation dollars to the budget pot. Here's a look at what the top 18 might look like if back-up goalkeeper Paolo Tornaghi has advanced into the "on-budget" side this season.

GK Johnson, Tornaghi

D Anibaba, Berry, Friedrich, Segares, Pause

M Alex, Nyarko, Paladini, Thompson, Lindpere, Larentowicz, Duka, Bone

F MacDonald, Rolfe, Santos

That leaves room for 10 players to fill out the first kick roster. Several players are shoe-ins to return Hunter Jumper, Victor Pineda, Mike Videira, Steven Kinney, and Kellen Gulley are under contract although Gulley could be loaned out somewhere. Newly acquired Brendan King is also on board. That leaves several players vying for the remaining four open roster spots.

Rookie Yazid Atouba has impressed in every appearance so far and he has caught the attention of the technical staff. One has to assume that he will claim one of the four available positions. That leaves this list battling for a contract heading into Phase 3:

GK Belshaw, Kann

D Gallagher, McKenzie, Steres

M Pabon, Carr

F Mercado, Griffin, Amarikwa, Brettschneider

One has to figure that they'll hold on to either Belshaw or Kann as third 'keeper which narrows the field down even tighter. Cuts haven't been announced yet but it's likely that several of these names won't be heading to Charleston. Steres, Griffin, and Carr are long shots along with the two Ecuadorians Mercado and Pabon. That would leave Supplemental Draft selection John Gallagher, Rauwshan McKenzie, Quincy Amarikwa, and Blake Brettschneider fighting for the two remaining spots. McKenzie is still technically a Chivas USA player so there may be some compensation forthcoming from Chicago if he does make the squad. Quincy Amarikwa, who joined the club as a guest player this weekend is still property of Toronto FC but has showed some flashes in brief stints with Colorado and San Jose. He came into the match this weekend and earned the penalty kick that led to the game winner so he's an intriguing option. The Fire's lack of depth at forward would seem to indicate that either Amarikwa or Brettschneider gets a long look. Colin Rolfe was also still around but not available this weekend due to injury.

Loan deals for players like Gulley could also open up a roster spot if the Fire want to see him get more consistent playing time away from the first team where minutes will be scarce even with a new Reserve League schedule in place. With less than three weeks to go it seems the opening day 28 is close to set.

Fire Confidental Podcast

Check out the latest episode of the podcast with guest Dasan Robinson, discussion about the USMNT loss to Honduras, and more on the Fire's roster heading into the last phase of camp.

Filed under: 2013 Pre Season

Tags: Chicago Fire

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  • Can the Chicago Flag jersey finally be making a return?

    http://goal.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/11/in-m-l-s-new-season-new-shirts/?smid=tw-share

    According to this article, beginning next season all 19 teams will introduce a new jersey every year. What if there's still no Flag jersey after this?

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Don't toy with me GR. Like Big Worm said, "Playing with my (flag jersey) is like playing with my emotions, Smokey!"

  • In reply to c0quito18:

    I know this is a sensitive topic, near and dear to the hearts of many. ;)

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Maybe the Fire are part of the non-Jersey Week hoopla. The Fire's topnotch PR team doesn't need the league to show them how it's done! (very serious on that PR note).

    Well, I guess we always have next year...

  • In reply to c0quito18:

    There's a fine line between "PR" and marketing that gets blurred when items like this arise. The Fire's "PR" team was actually the best in the league last season and was recognized with an award to acknowledge that. Were they fall short is in decision making from the TOP in terms of how the product is marketed and presented to the fan base. It has nothing to do with the marketing or PR staffs themselves but more to do with executive decisions that essentially downplay what the core base of supporters is looking for.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Hence why I mentioned they were topnotch. I figured it was something from up on high, can't admit that ideas that don't come from "on high" are as good as the ones from elsewhere.

  • With one of the largest development organizations in the MLS, it would be great to see more players come out of there and onto the field for the Fire. I wonder if it will be much different after another 5 -10 years. As a fan, I'd like to see more homegrown players rather than imports that are here for only a year or two. Love to see how Pineda can compete in actual games this year if he gets a chance.

  • In reply to Bumsteer:

    Don't think it will be any different. If Pineda and Gulley were good enough they would play. I'm sure being homegrown they are givin every opportunity. I know Pineda is hurt now but he played prob less than 5mts last year

  • In reply to Bumsteer:

    Homegrown players will come with time. Their approach with the Academy teams and player development is on the right track and they're not looking to rush players onto the first team under the homegrown rule before they're ready. FC Dallas for example signed 7 Homegrowns two years ago and now 5 of them are not even with the team anymore.
    Pineda was slowed by the injury he suffered last fall but if he recovers well enough he will definitely get a chance to find a spot on the first team. He can play.
    Gulley is more of a project.

  • I think this has been done just to mess with cOquito18, but it appears that the Rapids third kit will feature a Colorado Flag theme.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    A curse to them and their house!!!! :)

  • I'm a fan of both the current kits (although I could still do w/o the home kit collar). But the reasoning behind not unveiling a 3rd kit of ANY kind is goofy to me. I really don't see what the deal is regarding this. I'm sure those who care less about a 3rd kit could say the same about the hub-bub over the issue as well, though.

    Given Hauptman's previous comments on the flag jersey, though, are we even sure the supporters *want* a flag kit? Chances seem likely that a AH-created kit would veer away from the ideas supporters have for it, which would only increase the vitriol towards upper management on the issue.

  • In reply to Jeff Krause:

    An alternate kit with anything other than a City flag theme will most likely make a lot of people see red. (bad pun intended)

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    That would definitely be some "pop your popcorn and take a seat in front of Twitter" material. :)

  • Positional breakdown on goalkeepers from Jeff Crandall....

    http://www.chicago-fire.com/news/2013/02/positional-breakdown-goalkeepers

    Points out that Belshaw would take up an international spot if he makes the team as the third 'keeper.

  • The San Jose Earthquakes have announced Spanish AND English radio broadcast deals.....

    http://www.sportspromedia.com/news/mls_earthquakes_agree_two_radio_deals/

    Hot Time makes another call for a flag jersey...

    http://www.hottimeinoldtown.com/2013/2/13/3978222/andrew-a-chicago-fire-flag-3rd-jersey-is-necessary

  • An update on trialists. Some released along with a couple of new ones coming in.....

    http://www.chicago-fire.com/news/2013/02/premier-league-veteran-pascal-chimbonda-headlines-charleston-trialist-list

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