Fire noteboook - Gilberto, Drogba, and funny money

The Fire made the deal official this morning, announcing that Didier Drogba had signed a contract with MLS and was traded to Montreal in exchange for a king's ransom in general allocation money and newly created target allocation money. The acquisition of former Toronto FC forward Gilberto was also finalized and he will be added to the roster as a Designated Player. To make room on their roster for Gilberto, the Fire used TAM to buy down the budget hit of Kennedy Igboananike. Frank Yallop explained the move to buy down Igboananike rather than David Accam, who is listed at a lesser salary in the latest MLSPU numbers update, as one necessitated by the transfer fee paid for the Ghanaian attacker. During his weekly conference call, he also added that the team was "putting our future" into Accam.

Yallop noted that Gilberto has been on the Fire's radar for the last 3-4 weeks while working on talks with Drogba. Gilberto was placed on waivers by Toronto FC when it became evident that Vasco da Gama was looking to cut costs and terminated his loan deal. Although Toronto receives no compensation for a player that cost them a reported $3 million dollar transfer fee, the Canadian club does retain an undisclosed portion of transfer fee proceeds if Gilberto is sold while under contract with MLS.

Although he's not the powerful target forward that Drogba is, Yallop thinks Gilberto is a player that will be able to convert some of the chances that Fire forwards have failed to capitalize on this season. "He's a 9. He's a center forward that runs the line well and he's in the box a lot," said Yallop when asked to describe where he will fit in. Yallop also cited the player's age and potential as a long term fit as positives.

Gilberto is expected to arrive early next week and Yallop hopes that he will be available for the Portland game on August 7. Fitness should not be an issue since Vasco da Gama is in season and he has been training and playing regularly.

Defensive help

The summer transfer window closes on August 6 and the Fire are looking to add at least one more player on the back line. The allocation funds from the Drogba deal should allow them to find someone of quality. "We've been pretty poor in both boxes. Both in scoring and keeping them out. We're trying to get some help at the back," said Yallop. The amount of allocation funds acquired is higher than the $200K we reported last night and a good deal more than the $250K that ESPN reported. How much of it is TAM and how much is GAM we may never know however.

"It's been a tough season so far.  No one is giving up on anything here. We've thrown a lot of points away and we've played a lot better than we did last year, I feel. The problem is we've not gathered the points that we should." Yallop should have enough in the coiffeurs now to properly address help in back.

One defender that will not be offered a contract is Will Packwood. The US U-23 defender had been training with the team.


  • Harry Shipp has departed for the Homegrown Game in Colorado on Tuesday during All-Star festivities. Yallop said that Shipp could play a half or less in the game.
  • The Daily Herald's Orrin Schwarz had some strong thoughts on the Gilberto acquisition and the failed attempt to bring Drogba to Chicago.


Filed under: 2015 Regular Season


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  • I know a lot of people are underwhelmed by Gilberto, but I will withhold judgement until he takes the field. He wouldn't be the first player to benefit from a change of scenery.

  • Another DP fiasco. Orrin Schwarz reminded me that there are 3, not 2, recent players who rejected Chicago for other MLS teams. The first, Robbie Rogers, was never going to go to Chicago because he wanted to be near his family in LA, but we got something (Magee) out of that. The second, Jermaine Jones, represented a bungled management by MLS of its own convoluted rules, and we got zilch after initiating the contact with JJ. The third, in which we again initiated contact, was a snubbing, but we came away with something rather than nothing.

    All of this has nothing to do with Gilberto as a player, but as Dave Rowaan said in the "Walking in the Red" blog, "[Gilberto's] contract... is a significant investment for a club that has a history of shopping for their DPs in the bargain section."

    That impression, coupled with the history of DP flops and missing the playoffs year after year, leads fans to be skeptical about Gilberto's potential impact - again in the words of Rowaan, he is "the consolation prize for whoever missed out on the former Chelsea striker."

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    Drogba did not want to play here so why get him? So he could be unhappy and not play at his 37 year old best? I'm not estatic about the Gilberto signing but I'm hopeful that he will produce. My main concern is that we use the rest of the free Drogba money we got to get a quality CB that will put adailton in the bench for now. He ate that goal that caused us two points on Saturday. He needs to be benched and challenged for his starting position.

  • CB is a huge problem. If we cannot improve the back line the losses will just mount. At this point, I would like to see management looking to build for next year without dismantling this team entirely. I think the key to long term success in mls is having players be together for a long period. Making wholesale changes for next year is not necessary. A CB or two is all they need to add. Get a new coach and management or owner to build on the foundation. I am tired of watching the clearance sale/dumping of players.

  • In reply to Krasov:

    I would agree, though I think we have issues at RB as well. Not sure what's going on with Palmer, but clearly all is not well with him, or with him and management, if Polster is starting in that position. Otherwise, I'd agree.

    Of course if management changes, then the player roulette wheel spins again, and we end up right back where we started.

  • In reply to Modibo:

    RB seems cursed for us.

    I won't even bother to repeat the cast that has played in that spot since Gargan was sent to Greener Pastures.

    Can we get a *regular* regular starter there, please?

  • In reply to BrianC.:

    Curse of the Gargan.

  • In reply to BrianC.:

    Gargan wasnt even that good for us? Sure he fine for LAG, but when he was with Chicago he was average at best.

    Jalil's rookie year was the best RB play we have had in a while, until Palmer last year. Palmer should be given the rest of the season back at RB, as he was easily the best defender we had last year.

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    In reply to KChance:

    Apparently, you must have missed several games, while Gargan was here, he was one of our most better defenders. Many Fire followers were dismayed when he was cut lose. If
    he was still here our defense would be much improved.

  • In reply to Ron Stone:

    No didn't miss one that year. Sure he scored a good goal against TFC shortly after we acquired him and was good with long throws into the box. And I attributed most people being upset that he was let go based on the fact that he played with his heart on his sleeve, which I respected. Much like Gehrig, he played hard nosed.

    But I disagree that he would have made our defense better to this day as he had the same issues that we had them we currently have. Man marking on set pieces as well as losing concentration for a spells. I remember pretty regularly that he would lose his man on the back post or not close down enough to cut out the cross.

    I'm not saying he was a bad player, but its how everything is now. Someone goes somewhere else and does something well or plays on a winning team and its the end of the world. Same with Quincey. Maybe its just the fact that you don't see full games of these players after they leave, only the highlights. Sure Q has scored with SJ but 2 of them fell right to his foot in the box, how many times has he shanked his chance or not made the right pass over in SJ like he did here?

  • In reply to KChance:

    I personally thought Anibaba was a pretty awful RB actually. I never understood why anyone thought otherwise. I didn't notice an uptick in quality between Gargan and Anibaba.

    I think maybe we're just spoiled by having really really good LBs. Think back and tell me the Fire's greatest RB ever. Honestly, I'm not sure who it is. Pretty much every other position there are obvious choices.

    Gargan was/is better at LA because LA has good CBs. His season at SJ was pretty bad. Truth be told, Quincy is pretty awful everywhere.

    The only guy I really feel bad about losing was Rolfe. Because he is noticeably better in DC and it's not just because of the team around him.

  • In reply to TomazPP:

    IDK, I felt like hes rookie year it was more that he had promise than that he was actually good. But that's splitting hairs. I get what you meant now.

  • In reply to TomazPP:

    Note how I said Anibaba's ROOKIE year. HaHa after his first year he really regressed as a RB. Seemed he was only focused on going forward, but that rookie season he concentrated on getting back as well.

    But yes, I agree RB has been an issue for a while. Drafted Franco last year for a shot in the dark but he didnt see any time, just thinking Palmer is the best option at RB on the squad, but improvement def needed in future.

  • In reply to Krasov:

    I don't see them dumping all these players unless there is a massive change in the FO.

    I do see them getting a 2 new CBs at the least.

  • Guys. Honestly Gilberto is a great improvement over other center forwards that we have had. In my opinion Gilberto is better than Alterdore who replaced him at Toronto. For some reason he never could get a good a break from the crazy coaching situation in Toronto. Let's hope that after Yallop is finally dumped the combo of decent coaching , Accam and a better back line will make the Fire fun to see.

  • Regarding RB, I really think Palmer is not nor ever will be a long term solution. He often loses his mark when tracking back. His crosses are generally to no one. Does he show glimpses of fine play? Absolutely, but his play is inconsistent. The fact that Polster was moved to RB shows that a CM, can play RB. Logan Pause was played decently there (much better when he first came into the league). I think Watson would be a better RB than Polster and Polster is clearly the best CM we have, so.... Again it goes to the coaching placing players in positions where they do not have the best chance of being successful. With the team we have now, I would throw out this line-up:

    Accam -Gilberto-Nyarko

    Cocis Polster

    Jones Adailton Gehrig Watson

  • In reply to Krasov:

    I agree with Watson-Polster being switched. That's a huge head scratcher for me: Polster is a much better dmid than Watson, but they are probably equally not so great at RB. I'd still rather have Palmer than Watson, ideally, but agree Palmer isn't a quality full time starting fullback.

    But damn, we need an actually RB.

  • With the absence of Nogeira in the USOC semifinal and the potential introduction of Gilberto, the Fire will have a great opportunity to play for a trophy this season even though the road passes through Philly. Hopeful that they escape injuries and gel a bit in their next two games. For me this season is a write-off, but if we can ride improving form to a Cup, I'll be more hopeful for next year.

  • The idea of winning the Open Cup is great, but honestly, I don't think this team has the horses to pull that off. I wish Anibaba were still with the Fire. I really though that he was a good player.

  • In reply to Krasov:

    We've got a chance against Philly. KC/RSL could be another different horse (one step at a time, here.)

    DC won in 2013 b/c they had more determination to win, not because they were pretty or the absolute most talented squad. That said, last week I felt that determination from our team. We do have a chance to get to the final.

  • Per SI, the Union have signed midfielder Tranquillo Barnetta, paying down his salary with TAM so he does not count as a DP.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    I thought teams could only use TAM if they lowered a DP's salary and signed another DP?

  • No sir, per the very clear and not confusing at all revised rules....

    "Clubs may use TAM funds to sign a new player provided his salary and acquisition costs are more than the maximum salary budget".

    I'm kidding about the clear and not confusing part.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    hey Guillermo, are we any closer to a signing or 2?

  • In reply to KChance:

    It's been pretty quiet but still expect something soon.

  • so I shouldn't leave work and head to midway/ohare? I hate the fact its too easy to be snarky lately.

  • In reply to KChance:

    I'll second the snarky. All I see now is an owner finally buying a bigger bucket to scoop water out of a sinking ship a couple years too late and asking myself- will we actually get out of this hole? Watching the Drogba media/attention frenzy in Montreal is only serving to cement this.

  • In reply to BrianC.:

    He bought a bigger bucket, but I think it has a hole in it. Is it worse to not spend at all or spend poorly?

    See I can snark, too.

  • Just listened to Landon Donovan mic'd up while he was coaching the Home Grown team. I think he clearly enjoyed coaching that game. He is someone to watch to see when he fully dives into the coaching ranks. Smart guy, fluent in Spanish, and comes with a record of success as a player. I think he could become a great coach when he finishes school.

  • In reply to Krasov:

    I have my doubts that he's willing to put in the time and all consuming effort that it takes to be a head coach.

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