The Fire have an opportunity to clinch first place in the Carolina Challenge Cup tournament with a win or a draw versus the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday. All three of the other participants (Charleston, Vancouver, and Houston) have at least one defeat and the Fire are 2-0 after beating Charleston 2-1 on Alex's late game golazo. With only one warm-up remaining until the regular season opener in Los Angeles on March 3 the coaching staff has only a few roster decisions to make.
Goalkeeper James Belshaw left camp on Wednesday after failing to come to terms on a contract with the club according to his twitter account. That leaves Alec Kann to claim the third goalkeeper spot. Midfielder Yazid Atouba was impressive again versus Charleston and has all but wrapped up a spot on the roster. Frank Klopas told media after the game that the club was "close" to getting Atouba signed to a contract. Here's how the rest of the roster shapes up going into the final weekend of preseason....
GK Sean Johnson, Paolo Tornaghi, Alec Kann
D Jalil Anibaba, Austin Berry, Arne Friedrich, Gonzalo Segares, Logan Pause, Hunter Jumper, Steven Kinney
M Alex, Daniel Paladini, Patrick Nyarko, Wells Thompson, Joel Lindpere, Jeff Larentowicz, Dilly Duka, Corben Bone, Victor Pineda, Mike Videira, Brendan King, Yazid Atouba
F Sherjill MacDonald, Chris Rolfe, Maicon Santos, Kellen Gulley
That's 26 players accounted for with two spots likely remaining to be filled. Forward Colin Rolfe is still in camp, as is Brazilian centerback Leo Lelis and veteran right back Pascal Chimbonda. If the Fire manage to complete a deal with Toronto FC for Quincy Amarikwa that will leave one slot open among those three players. Klopas didn't seem particularly impressed with Chimbonda during his conference call on Saturday and he didn't get into the Charleston match. The coach cited the team's depth at right back which doesn't bode well for the former Premier League defender, who would take up one of the two remaining international slots once Atouba is signed.
Teams can have up to as many as 30 players on the roster and have the option of keeping 2 "on budget" slots open for allocation or additional reinforcements.
The final match of preseason will be streamed live at 4pm CDT at Chicago-Fire.com.
Rec League Soccer
The Fire has partnered with WCW FA to sponsor adult recreational soccer in the Chicago area. This is an excellent way for the club to promote the game and the organization with the thousands of recreational players in the City. The partnership is called "Chicago Fire Rec Soccer" and the first league games kick off on March 23. If they can expand this concept into the burbs and Northwest Indiana there is a real opportunity to grow the professional game from a grass roots level all throughout greater Chicagoland.
Filed under: 2013 Pre Season