Frank Yallop, Brian Bliss, and CJ Brown hit on a variety of topics in a pre-season press conference this afternoon. Players report for physicals tomorrow and the team departs for Florida on Sunday and the top three decision makers on the Fire's revamped technical staff were made available to discuss their plans going forward. You can watch the full presser in the video above but here are the highlights.
- Aron Hyde will rejoin the team this weekend after spending time with Sean Johnson and the USMNT in Brazil over the last two weeks.
- Yallop expects to hire the final full time member of his coaching staff very soon and said they were "down the line with somebody" in negotiations. He didn't want to mention any names but the new addition is presumably Clint Mathis.
- Yallop and Bliss reiterated that the cap continues to be a challenge. Yallop wants to make sure the team is set up for years to come but he believes they can be a good side this season. The additions of Palmer, Ianni, and Hurtado should help after allowing too many goals in 2013. There could be more moves but they're ready for camp. They want to give everyone a chance but will continue to look and try to make team better. Jobs are wide open for competition in the upcoming camp.
- Bliss' role will include working with Yallop to formulate the roster, making sure the team is cap compliant, negotiating contracts, along with domestic and international scouting. The job is similar to what he did in Columbus.
- Bliss anticipates hiring additional scouts.
- The Fire have explored the possibility of bringing Marco Pappa back. A return would require a trade but clubs in position for an allocation claim are asking for someone that they don't want to give up. Nothing is close to being consummated.
- Brown feels competition for spots should make the team better defensively.
- Bliss shot down rumors that the Fire pursued Diego Forlan. The Fire never discussed a move with him or his agent and another MLS club owns the discovery claim on Forlan.
- Bliss says they have the resources to bring in a DP. Hauptman has made moves in the past but the cap room has to be available to make a move. The Fire don't have much wriggle room unless a big trade clearing cap space is made.
- There will be 36 players in camp during Phase 1 in Ave Maria, Florida. There will be some trimming after that.
- Orr Barouch is injured at the moment but will come into camp. Yallop liked what he saw of him when he was with the Fire in 2012.
- The Fire are trying to facilitate an agreement with Federico Puppo to "move him on his way." They don't have the cap space to bring him back as a DP.
- They are looking at ways of ensuring they have space going forward for a June or July move.
- The team may only have 3-4 lower salary range spots available going into the season.
- Yallop wants to get a look at the Homegrown signings on the field and if they're good enough to play they will get on the field.
Yallop and Brown mentioned that 36 players will participate in the first phase of training camp in Ave Maria, Florida. Here's a look at the current roster:
GK (3): Johnson, Reynish, Kann
DEF (9): Hurtado, Berry, Segares, Soumare, Kinney, Palmer, Ianni, Franco, Jumper
MID (14): Alex, Duka, Larentowicz, Nyarko, Pause, Pineda, King, Shipp, Ritter, Atouba, Braun, Bolden, Dacres, Ciesulka
FW (6): Anangono, Magee, Amarikwa, Rolfe, Gulley, Barouch
That total equals 32 so there are 4 players yet to be named not counting a player added later today (see below).
There never really was much doubt, but the Fire made it official today. Logan Pause will be returning for a twelfth season in Chicago. He will tie Cobi Jones and Pablo Mastroeni this year for the longest consecutive tenure at one club in MLS history.
Magee, Johnson make the cut
Jurgen Klinsmann trimmed his USMNT roster to 22 players after a stay in Brazil and both Mike Magee and Sean Johnson will remain part of the squad. The Nats head to Los Angeles this weekend to begin the next phase of training before a match against the Korea Republic on February 1.
Here's the current roster:
GK (3) : Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEF (7) : Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Clarence Goodson (San Jose Earthquakes), Michael Harrington (Portland Timbers), Michael Parkhurst (Columbus Crew), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders FC)
MID (8) : Eric Alexander (New York Red Bulls), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Benny Feilhaber (Sporting Kansas City), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake), Dax McCarty (New York Red Bulls), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
FW (4 ): Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Eddie Johnson (D.C. United), Mike Magee (Chicago Fire), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)
Section 8 Chicago's Annual General Meeting
The AGM will be conducted tomorrow at 1pm at Chitown Futbol in Pilsen. The annual meeting is an excellent opportunity to meet other supporters and find out more about Section 8 Chicago and plans for the upcoming season. Voting for this year's Board of Directors will also take place at the meeting. If you haven't been to an AGM, check this one out.
Wait, there was another draft today?
The Fire selected UNC-Charlotte forward Giuseppe Gentile in today's MLS waiver draft. Gentile is an underclassman who decided to leave college and sign with MLS. Since he signed after the Superdraft he was made available via waiver draft.
From mlssoccer.com's scouting report of Gentile:
"Gentile, who holds Swiss and American dual citizenship, is considered a prototypical No. 9 forward. According to his college scouting report, he's an athletic, powerful runner and hard worker who runs the channels and likes to get in behind defenders. He scored 27 goals in three seasons at UNC Charlotte and was the team's leading assist man in 2012."