Frank Yallop met media yesterday to discuss the final days of post-season training and the team's plans going into 2015. Players will conclude training this week and sit with the technical staff today and tomorrow at which time decisions for options and renewals will be discussed.
After a disappointing season, Yallop said that moves can be expected but stopped just short of saying that wholesale roster changes would be made. "We need some help in the first eleven. I was pleased with the overall efforts of the whole team but our quality and our talent maybe wasn't enough in the areas that are important," he said. While he wouldn't let on as to which positions needed to be upgraded he did say that the club was willing to splash some dollars to add quality. "We're looking to spend some money and get some players in," said Yallop. "We're hoping we can sign all the guys we've got targeted but it's a lot easier on paper than it is when you actually get in front of people".
The team was apparently willing to shell out big dollars during the summer window for Jermaine Jones and Silvio Romero and Yallop indicated that those funds will still be available this winter. "We have the resources to sign who (we) like but it depends obviously on the financial side of it. There's a limit but it's a pretty good ceiling for us to go and get players. I'm excited about that. We're not sitting here going, we've got six hundred thousand to go get a player, you've got some real numbers to go sign guys. Two or three hopefully."
Yallop also indicated that Chivas USA's Erick "Cubo" Torres would be a player that would be "very interesting" if he were to become available. Torres reportedly is looking to return to Mexico with Chivas De Guadalajara but MLS has a buy option in his contract.
The cap issues that slowed Yallop and Brian Bliss from many big changes last winter are apparently cleared away with numerous players either out of contract or on options. Although a complete overhaul isn't likely there will be roster and cap space available now. "We've got room to make some moves and I think that's important. We're not cleaning everybody out where we're going to have a brand new team. You can't do that and I don't want to do that. I think some guys came up with some credit this season and we want to keep those positive guys and make sure that we're building and trying to get stronger with every move we make. We have room and scope to change things up," he said.
Yallop will depart on Sunday for a planned 10 day scouting trip that will start in Sweden where he will get a closer look at a player the club has been looking at for a while. The trip will include stops in the UK and South America.
The Fire's expansion protected list is also close to being finalized but Yallop indicated there were one or two players on the bubble due to contract considerations. It seemed those decisions would be made by Friday.
One player that won't be going anywhere is Lovel Palmer. The right back had one of the better overall seasons on the team and the club announced yesterday that a new contract had been agreed to. The Fire had an option on Palmer for 2015 and have been in discussions with him about renewing for some time now.
- Yallop commented on he condition of the pitch at Toyota Park and indicated that discussions are underway with the Village of Bridgeview to correct those issues going forward. "It's on going. We only rent the facility so it's never easy to get things completely done and dusted when you want it done. The big thing for us is we need it better for next season so it's ongoing. We expect it to be sorted out for sure this offseason for the main field and the practice field. We're having talks right now and we feel it will be back up to par".
- Check out the newest edition of the Fire Confidential Podcast where we discuss the upcoming roster changes, player contracts, and take a look back at 2014.