Fire begin training for season opener

Winning the Carolina Challenge Cup was one thing but now the season starts for real next Sunday in Los Angeles and the Fire are back in Bridgeview (for one day at least) to begin preparations for the 2013 kick-off match.  The team trained at the Bridgeview Sports Dome on Tuesday before departing for Los Angeles and warmer climates on Wednesday morning. With the full squad mostly intact and available for training Frank Klopas was still coy about the only possible question mark in the starting eleven come Sunday afternoon. Right back.

Team captain Logan Pause started the first few games of preseason at right fullback but an injury to Gonzalo Segares precipitated moving Pause to the left side and slotted incumbent Jalil Anibaba back into the position with the first team. When asked who would get the call on Sunday Frank Klopas responded, "You have to watch the game. The good thing is I have every player ready to go."

One player who won't be playing right back for the Fire is Pascal Chimbonda. He was not in Bridgeview with the club after spending the last two weeks on trial in Charleston. "He was a guy that we looked at as an older guy with experience, but I do feel like we have players that can give us more depth on the right side. It would be great to see if we can get more on the other side of the field," said Klopas.

Larentowicz and the Revs rivalry

Jeff Larentowicz was a member of the New England Revolution team that battled the Fire in the playoffs a few years back and some fans haven't forgotten his role in the rivalry. The newly acquired midfielder thinks the old flames can be rekindled with New England but the roster turnover since the last playoff tussle makes it difficult to maintain over a period of time.  "It's hard because the rivalries stick longer with the fans. Players change teams and things like that happen. I look at the New England team, I think Andy Dorman and Matt Reis are the only ones that are still there from those years whereas here Gonzalo and Logan are still around. Players change and things like that change but they're still a rival, they're still in our conference and we still want to beat them every time we play them," said Larentowicz.

He does feel this particular Fire squad can be very dangerous in 2013. "It's a strong team. I think we've got a solid mixture of veteran guys and young talent. For me as I get older and I see more teams that come and go, I think that this one is a good one. We've got a lot of players and a lot of good attacking talent. Strong all over the field with new midfielders. Once we get that to gel we'll be a tough team to beat," he said.

Training Notes

  • Arne Friedrich and Sean Johnson did not train at the Dome but stayed back at Toyota Park to work separately. Both are fine and expected to be fully fit for the opener.
  • Gonzalo Segares also trained and expects to be ready Sunday.
  • Third goalkeeper Alec Kann, who will rejoin the team in Los Angeles was not present today.
  • Both Quincy Amarikwa and Yazid Atouba were present and training with the club.

City Flag Jersey at long last?

On Sunday, the Fire published a blog post with comments from Chief Operating Officer Atul Kholsa regarding the Fire's plans for a third jersey in 2014. After explaining that some elements of the current design incorporated touches meant to tie into a city of Chicago theme, Kholsa offered a ray of light for those supporters who have been clamoring for a kit based on the 2005 Puma "City of Chicago Flag" design.

Per Kholsa:"The primary reason for creating a third kit would be to engage our fans in a unique way. Also, we need to take into account the practical considerations of the true demand for this product so we can meet the minimum requirements from Adidas before we place the order. Since we just released new kits last year, we wanted to focus on our new designs and pace things appropriately to avoid flooding the market.

The most successful way to create a third kit, is for us to collaborate with our supporters, get everyone energized, and create the demand.  In order to initiate this movement, in the coming weeks we will be launching a social campaign asking supporters to help us design a potential third kit, vote for their favorites, and then rally each other to make a commitment by putting a deposit down."

It appears that supporters will have a hand in designing the 2014 third kit via a social campaign aimed at finally being able to truly gauge demand for the product. From the sound of it, if you want the Flag jersey you'll be able to vote for it and place a deposit down guaranteeing that you'll purchase one.

I would be shocked if some version of the flag design isn't a hands down run-away winner.

Fire Confidential Podcast

If you missed Episode 22 of the Fire Confidential Podcast you can catch it here. Topics include a preseason recap and a few predictions.

Stay tuned for a jam packed Episode 23 featuring a sit down with Chris Rolfe and audio from the first day of training in Bridgeview.

Quaker Bobble Head

The Fire are running  a new promotion that allows fans to choose which player will be immortalized as a collectible Bobble Head in a July 7 giveaway. Every player on the current squad is eligible for selection.

 

Comments

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  • So are we really going through with converting Pause to a defender this season? I have to say, I don't see the point. I know he's slowed down and we have an overloaded midfield, but how is an aging Pause out of position better than an aging Pause in position? Would he really be more effective than Segares or Anibaba? I'd rather see Kinney in there, too, before Pause.

  • In reply to manyou07:

    I believe Anibaba will be the starting right back on Sunday. Pause will be the #1 back up at holding mid and fullback.

  • Updated MLS roster rules for 2013....

    http://pressbox.mlssoccer.com/content/roster-rules-and-regulations

    Cap numbers, transfer window dates, etc.

    This window closes May 6. Summer window opens July 9.

  • Amarikwa deal is now official....acquired from TFC in exchange for a 2014 first round supplemental pick.

  • Looks like the Fire have 3 (5 if they go up to 30 spots) open spots, at least according to their roster listed on their web page.
    Undoubtably, one will go to Atouba, any info one the remaining two slots?

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    They won't use up all 30 right now. They're going to stay at 27 or 28.

    Here's the 27 sure bets by my count....

    GK Johnson, Tornaghi, Kann
    D Anibaba, Berry, Friedrich, Segares, Pause, Jumper, Kinney, Videira
    M Alex, Nyarko, Paladini, Thompson, Lindpere, Larentowicz, Duka, Bone, Pineda, King, Atouba
    F MacDonald, Rolfe, Santos, Gulley, Amarikwa

    Colin Rolfe was the last trialist standing after they passed on Chimbonda and Lelis but he may not make it either.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Unless I missed him, I don't believe he was at training on Tuesday in Bridgeview.

  • Section 8 Chicago is running a second bus to the match against Sporting KC on March 16. The first bus sold out and the second is filling up.......

    http://www.chicagonow.com/fire-confidential/2013/02/fire-begin-training-for-season-opener/

  • A couple of interesting points made by Arne Friedrich in this article....

    http://espnfc.com/news/story/_/id/1357890/arne-friedrich-excited-by-major-league-soccer-potential?cc=5901

    He says they'll play a 4-4-2 this year in place of the 4-2-3-1 they played last year and he says the LA Galaxy would not get relegated in the Bundesliga even without Beckham.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Hate to admit it, but Magee is the truth for LAG and they are a complete team when it comes to crunch time. All jokes about Beckham not coming to Chicago aside, LAG was one of the top teams that came to TP last year.

    Also, if he's right about the 4-4-2 then it'll make for a more attractive brand especially with the Double-L's in the center.

  • In reply to c0quito18:

    Magee's not a guy who particularly stands out but he always seems to deliver when they need it.

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