Fire add another piece in left back Jones, Yallop on new signings & more

It's been a busy week for the Fire. First word of CJ Brown's departure came Monday, followed by a DP signing in Kennedy Igboananike yesterday, and now Frank Yallop has apparently filled one of the missing pieces in the back line with the addition of left back Joevin Jones. The Trinidad & Tobago international has been capped 37 times by his national team and most recently completed a loan spell with Finish first division club HJK Helsinki.

At 23 years old, the Fire are adding another young player to the mix who has also played in midfield. The move also could signal the end of Gonzalo Segares' tenure in Chicago. The veteran defender's option was not picked up although the Fire were hoping to bring him back at a considerable discount from his 2014 wage. Segares may have better options through the MLS' Re-Entry process. Yallop did not completely close the door on Segares returning during a conference call this morning but did say that the club was looking to get more athletic at several positions. "Once we get moving in the signings department we'll get a look at the squad. Never say never. Gonzo's been a very, very good player for this club and I like him very much. I thought in that spot we needed to get more athletic and push the attack especially at home and Jones does that. Gonzo's a good servant for the club and has is a good guy so we'll see," said Yallop. He described Jones as an attacking left back.

Igboananike notes

Yallop said he's been scouting new DP Kennedy Igboananike for some time now. "I've seen him for three years. I saw him playing for (AIK) and liked what I saw. Last season wasn't the greatest in terms of goal scoring for him. I think the time is right to make the jump and for us to bolster our attack," he said. Igboananike compared his style of play to that of Seattle Sounders striker Obafemi Martins when asked which player he feels his game resembles.

The new striker said he wasn't worried about the pressures of scoring or carrying the team as a Designated Player but Yallop did urge fans to express some patience when judging the signing as a virtual unknown locally. ""You've got to allow the players to play first and then make a decision on that. I feel he's set up to do well in this league. It's normal for fans to want to have a go before he's even started but let's give the players a chance to play and gel together and see how we go. I want to add some exciting players for the fans to watch and we're going to win games," he explained. "I'm not just going out there spending money just for the sake of it, I want to get players that will win games and try very hard for this club. I think Kennedy's the start of it."

Igboananike isn't overly familiar with MLS or Chicago but has watched a handful of games. He needed some convincing about MLS from Yallop because he still has aspirations of playing in a bigger league in Europe. Yallop relayed the following message to him regarding his potential. "You can still go to Europe from here but I want you to score a ton of goals here and if someone buys you for a ton of money, great. If not you stay here forever and you do great."

DP's and more signings

"We're working on deals as we speak," said Yallop. "Mainly in the forward area. In our attacking areas we want to add assists and goals to our wide players, central players, and our forwards". The other position they're looking at is centerback but Yallop is still looking at signing two more DP's. "Those two spots are very important for the way we're going to play.

Those signings will likely come in this upcoming transfer window rather than the summer window as the Fire has done in the past with Designated Players, although a marquee name isn't expected at the moment. "I don't want to be waiting around to try to get a name player to come in and we miss out on some players that could help us on the field. In the end it's about what he does on the field. I understand that the two players that we've signed so far, nobody's going to know them but hopefully they will get to know them and enjoy the way they play. Nobody knew Valeri from Portland before he joined and he's had a pretty good run of things," said Yallop.

When asked about the club's efforts to produce a signing that may help on and off the field, Yallop replied that he does take that into consideration but results are his first concern. "What I don't want to do is get caught up in trying to sign a name and he's past his sell by date and he can't get it done on the field. Then we're in trouble. The answer is I've got my eye on that. I'm trying my best to get players that the fans can relate to and enjoy."

He also pointed to leagues in Scandinavia as a good option for players at the moment since player contracts are up now rather than in the summer. "We want to hit the ground running in January and not wait til June to see what we get in June. We've got to get going." Yallop pointed to the period before the holidays or early January as a target for additional signings.

When asked about players such as Wigan's Shaun Maloney and Norwegian striker Marcus Pedersen, Yallop was non-committal. "There are a number of players that we're looking at and trying to talk to. I don't want to comment on any players that are at clubs and have a contract so there's nothing on that right now," he offered.

The Fire do expect to be active in the MLS Re-Entry draft with players whose options have been declined by their clubs. A centerback may come from that pool of available players. Yallop did mention that Jeff Larentowicz is still slated to be one of the starting half backs but that could change. "As of right now he (Larentowicz) ended the season as a centerback and he's up on my board as a centerback. We've got to see what's in the re-entry and what's bouncing around in the next few weeks. Maybe Jeff goes back in the midfield. I think he did a nice job in the centerback role and he's a steady partner back there. I look at him as probably playing at centerback but again I hate to put all my eggs in one basket and say he's going to play there and then all of a sudden he's not."

"We weren't quick enough in certain areas and we weren't athletic enough for our league," said Yallop. Igboananike and Jones seem to be the start of that change.

Filed under: 2014 Post Season

Tags: Chicago Fire


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  • fb_avatar

    Do you think adding pace is specifically something Yallop wants given his comments at the beginning of last season regarding being a high pressure, quick movement club? Certainly seems as though that's what he wants to develop, but it's hard to read in to early signings, in my opinion.

  • In reply to Steve Sanders:

    Yes. I did ask him if that was a trait he was specifically looking for and that led to his answer about getting faster and more athletic at certain positions given the way he wants to play.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    That was kind of my take on it, but as someone with a bit more "in" than I have, I figured I'd ask

  • How are we on international slots?

  • In reply to LtDan61350:

    plenty of room
    Cocis, Igboananike, and Jones.

    5 spots open.

    Anangono will not be back

  • Guys I am really liking the energy that I am seeing. Even if these guys are flops at least they are trying. I am really anxious to see what comes their way on the 8th. Does anyone have any ideas who is available and who could help the team?

  • In reply to brokerjohn:

    MLS hasn't released a full list yet and there are a few clubs that have yet to announce which player options haven't been picked up. If FC Dallas' George John is available I would think several clubs would be interested.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    I was thinking the same thing. He is only a few years removed from being coveted by West Ham and other teams. He is a player I would take a shot on, esp with our shortage on CBs

  • In reply to brokerjohn:

    We signed another no name player as a DP and that is "trying?" What is the difference between Kennedy, Anangono, MacDonald, and Puppo? Im fine with taking a flyer on a left back but it is not ok to do that with a DP striker. I cant imagine there being much of a difference between Kennedy and Quincy and we know how well we can do with a player like Quincy. That DP should have been spent on a player that we know will be a game changer not someone that we hope will be.

    I really hope Yallop is put on an extremely short leash. What he is doing this off season will affect the club for the next few years at least. If he keeps bringing in his crap players like last season, we could be in big trouble. If this team is not playing well and winning by June 1, he needs to go.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    I think comparing anyone to Puppo is unfair, even failures like Anangono and MacDonald. Puppo was another level of failure.

    As far as Kennedy goes, he certainly looks more accomplished than Anangono and has a much better scoring record than Sherjill did. I wouldn't say that I'm overjoyed that he's a DP, but I also would say he looks a step above past gambles.

    As far as Yallop, I think he should be given an opportunity to build a team this offseason. But yeah, if it's failing by midseason, he has no room for excuses anymore and should be on the chopping block.

  • In reply to TomazPP:

    Saying that he is a "step about past gambles" is not saying a lot. The previous three were as bad as it gets. What all three of the previous DP's had in common was coming in from the bench. None of them were good enough to be starters. We shouldn't be wasting DP money and slots on players that might work out. DP's are there to be sure things. Anything less than that is not good enough for me. I have absolutely no problem with them signing him to a regular contract. I do have a problem with him being a DP though. We need a player that is going to involved in 20 goals in a season. We are not good enough in front of the goal and I dont see that changing with him leading the lines. Im not happy with the signing.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    Yeah that's all fair to say. I guess I just responded to comparing him (or anyone) to Puppo. That's a level of insult I didn't think was needed in this case. It is absolutely true that being better than Anangono and Sherjill doesn't mean much and definitely doesn't automatically mean a player is DP-level, otherwise just about everyone in MLS would be a DP...

    However, I do think that the concept that a big name DP is automatically going to be successful and be involved in 20+ goals is a flawed one.

    Not to say they shouldn't be going after players that have a history of preforming at that level, which is think is your point.

  • In reply to TomazPP:

    Unfortunately, there are a lot of failed big-name DPs out there - Rafa Marquez jumps to mind, as does Denilson... there are plenty of others. On the other hand, any team would take a David Ferreira, Diego Valeri, or a Javier Morales. Great, underrated players. Most teams in the world are looking for those players. We remember Anangono, MacDonald and yes even Puppo now, but what about Grazzini? The foreign signings were overwhelmingly poor choices, I agree, but there have been some decent players.

    For me the difference between MacDonald and Castillo vs Igboananike is that the latest signing is not coasting on the glory days of a long-faded youth national team career, snuffed by lack of ambition or injury. Anangono also had some appearances for Colombia if I'm not mistaken. Igboananike has no Nigeria appearances, at the youth or full MNT level. He also has not bounced around from club to club to club, from country to country. He's played at different clubs in Sweden, but progressively bigger ones. He's had interest from abroad. And he seems hungry, not self-satisfied which is how I always perceived MacDonald and Anangono.

    The proof will be in the pudding but I feel better about the decision-making at this point. We'll see come spring when we have more than hype to judge this and other signings on.

    The big question is, will the signings be enough to do anything more than squeak into the playoffs? I have to say I doubt it, based on past experience with current ownership. I just don't think the ambition is there.

  • In reply to TomazPP:

    I know that signing a big name is not going to guarantee him being involved in 20 goals for the season, but I would have more confidence in that happening than what we have. The teams around the league are signing big time players and we are not. Im sick of hoping our DP is going to be good. We havent had a good DP since Blanco. That's a long time ago. There have been some decent foreign signings that we have made, but they were not DP players. I would have absolutely no problem with the Kennedy signing if he was on just a regular contract. I have a big problem with him being a DP. A DP needs to be the best player on the field. Our club hasnt been able to find a DP that is even good enough to start.

    Look at the players that Yallop brought in last season. Hurtado, Ianni, Cocis, Watson, Nyassi, Fondy, and Palmer. He got rid of Berry, Anibaba, Rolfe, and Duka. I guess you can give him Shipp too but that was top 3 pick just sitting there. Palmer was the only player that could possible start on another club in MLS. That is not good enough. So with the crap that HE has brought in, i do not trust his scouting ability. With all the moves that the club is making, i dont trust Yallop to make the right ones. The moves he his making this off season will affect the next 2-3 seasons.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    IMO you're underselling Cocis and overselling Anibaba (already cut from Seattle) and Berry (benched in favor of an out of position forward), but otherwise I agree with that assessment of Yallop's transfer record with the Fire and also find it difficult to trust his moves.

    That said, apart from Watson (who I don't particularly like), at least all the other dreck he brought in is gone.

  • In reply to TomazPP:

    Berry and Anibaba are young players that are decent MLS talent. They were both good players for us. Getting what we got for them did not make us a better team. I hated the moves when they happened and I hate them now. Cocis wouldn't be starting on any good team in MLS. He might be a decent player but I dont get excited when he is playing. He isn't going to score many goals and he isnt going to create many either. I would love for these moves to pan out positively but I dont trust Yallop.

  • The more I think about Joevin Jones the more I like the move. Regardless if he ends up becoming a key player or not, he provides depth at multiple positions on a team that needs to fill spots.

    From highlights and what I have read, it seems like he would be comfortable at the LB, LM, and LW positions with experience playing CAM. A young athletic player capable of playing all those positions is good to have on any team.

    Worst case he ends up being Alex 2.0

  • In reply to KChance:

    I think you're right about him being, worst case, Alex 2.0

    The only thing I'm worried about is relying on Cochrane or Jones to be the starters for LB. I'd feel better with Sega re-signed, despite his decreasing level of play, he's still reliable if Cochrane isn't and Jones is better suited as a sub or in the midfield or not good enough to be in the 18 at all.

  • In reply to TomazPP:

    Yes, I would also like to have them re-sign Sega to a low risk 1 year deal if he would take it.

  • Seems the Fire are adding former LA Galaxy midfielder Michael Stephens. Currently at Bob Bradley's Stabaek.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Could be solid depth. Never broke through into the starting 11 with LA, but they always had a pretty stacked team. Most likely an upgrade for Alex.

    Speaking of, I can't imagine Alex has a hope of getting re-signed at this point. I think we're all OK with that.

  • In reply to TomazPP:

    Yes, but until it's official that Alex is gone...

  • In reply to BrianC.:

    Alex is one of the guys they're possibly looking to bring back at a lower rate.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Why do they need another no name midfielder,
    they have one already in Ritter.
    They need more quality than depth.

  • In reply to Ron Stone:

    I'm afraid I don't have an answer for that one. Not sure what the fascination is/was with Alex.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Alex has been around for three seasons. Not to be mean, but he's the Steven Kinney of active players and should just be cut for mercy's sake.

  • The league paid for Clint Dempsey and gave him to Seattle: time to buy Cubo Torres for the Fire. Even half the seven million paid by the league would allow Hauptman to fulfill his Keane money pledge. 3 1/2 million plus wages equals Keane Money.
    Torres in Chicago would be good for the league and after the Jones fiasco an acceptable recompense.
    Any Chance of this happening?.
    I have the impression that Cubo is available to any team that pays the fee. At his age and level this would not be unreasonable and there would possibly be a future transfer fee.

  • In reply to Celt:

    Word is Cubo will only play for LA (per his own request), otherwise he'd go back to Mexico.

    We've heard that sort of thing before, but I'd guess the chances he comes to Chicago aren't that high.

  • In reply to Celt:

    I'd put that one in the not likely category.

  • Ah, so that's what the delayed Torres decision is about. It seemed a no-brainer to keep him in the league and cough up the transfer fee.
    I would rather he left than go to LA, despite his being good for the league.

  • When will the Fire be announcing their protected 11 players from the expansion draft?

  • In reply to Tweaky:

    List is due to the league at 2pm today.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:


    I'm still waaaaiiiiitttinnnnggg! :)

  • In reply to Tweaky:


  • Wait, what? Anangano is protected? Why? Over Cochrane? I'm really confused. Anyone with insight?

  • Guys
    Do you know how when you are a kid and your parents can embarass you. That's the way I feel about the fire. How in this mans earth can they protect Agonogano when they sent him packing and Alex in their best 11. Someone in upper management must have taken a zanox last night and forgot this is for the 2015 playing year. Honestly just when I thought they might have a slight chance they re remind me that they are really a USL team trying to pretend to be a pro team from the best sports team in the world

  • I'm not sure if this gives any insight: Clubs must also make available a number of International Players equal to the total number minus three.

    That sounds like we could protect some, and indeed we protected three int'ls and exposed two. But I would have thought we would protect Ward or even Sinama-Pongolle over Anangano.

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