Fire notebook - Pause on new role, LaBrocca signs, Kaminski plays, and more on CB's

It didn't take much thought for Logan Pause to answer a question about whether he preferred the front office or the field. “Yes. Absolutely," said Pause of his preference for the bench following training earlier this week. Pause is the last link remaining on the first team to the club's most recent successes but he did have a transition to make after his retirement as a player. The front office opportunity kept him in the organization and now he seems more at home in the locker room full time again.  “It’s been a lot to do and be a part of over the last couple of months. I’m grateful for the opportunity from Pauno and Nelson, but also AK and Andrew, to allow me to transition and to help and to follow a calling. I’m really just excited to be a part of it and be a piece of the puzzle," he said.

Now that he's had a chance to see several different sides of a soccer operation from player, to front office, to coach, Pause can reflect on how much goes into a season that isn't readily visible publicly. “This last year was just incredibly valuable. To see the back of the house. I think one of the things that I’ve learned (about) is the incredible people that work within this club, and that work so incredibly hard. Of course, seeing how ticket sales works, the structure of the Academy, and managing the budget, all of those things are important to have some knowledge of. At the end of the day it comes down to people. I think that a year away outside of the soccer side was probably the best thing for me to step into this role right now."

He had an opportunity to spend a good deal of time working with the Academy side last season so he's aware of the role Larry Sunderland played in orchestrating the club's success at that level but also sees his new bosses involved with the system as well. “Nelson and Pauno have got a very clear idea of how well integrated they want the first team and the Academy to be. Without a doubt, the Academy players will know Pauno, know Nelson, and know me, Marko, and the whole staff and vice versa. It’s important for player development and moving guys up to the first team from the Academy. The primary focus has been assembling the first team (so far). That’s been a big priority for Nelson and the club."

The Fire aren't done with that assembly yet. Several players are being targeted on the international market and the top rookie this year isn't in camp yet. Brandon Vincent is expected to step in at left back once his time with the USMNT concludes. “A lot of guys impressed us in sitting down and talking to them and hearing their stories," said Pause of his time at the MLS Combine earlier this month. "Brandon is one that was very, very high on our list from a personality standpoint and a character standpoint. He’s won. He’s a champion, you can see a maturity, and obviously he’s a fantastic soccer player. He’s someone that we know will make our team better right off the bat."

LaBrocca added

As expected, the Fire have made the signing of MLS veteran midfielder Nick LaBrocca official. He is likely to challenge Razvan Cocis and Michael Stephens for time in central midfield but should probably be seen as more of an addition for depth. Central midfield is the other area, behind centerback, in which the Fire are looking internationally for upgrades.

LaBrocca is a nine year veteran in the league who was part of the "free agent" class this winter. He has had two stints with Colorado while also playing for Toronto FC and Chivas USA. His best season came in 2011 while with the ill-fated Chivas squad. He scored 8 goals and added 6 assists that year and was selected for the All Star team.

Kaminski in action

The Fire's presumed top target at center back, Marcin Kaminski started and played all ninety minutes this morning for Lech Poznan. Dynamo Kiev defeated the Polish side 2-0 in a friendly. It may not be an indicator of where negotiations are headed at this point, but it does seem odd that a player on his way out would get a full run in a friendly just days before the European window closes.

Nelson Rodriguez mentioned on Monday that the club is pursuing two players that have Champion's League suitors. Kaminski is one. Sources indicate that the other is a centerback with experience in Spain's La Liga.

Filed under: 2016 Pre Season

Tags: Chicago Fire


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  • New jersey is lame. It's about as exciting as the Fire's offense.

  • In reply to FrontRow:

    A bit plain but I like it overall.

    Beats the last primary atrocity easily.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    It beats the last 2 primary jersey easily.

  • In reply to FrontRow:

    The new jersey is excellent because the Fire have finally returned to their traditional look, a look that had served them well for their entire history. That look made them immediately indentifiable. There was never a good reason to change that look and we can only hope that the club learned a lesson.

  • In reply to FrontRow:

    At first, I read this as "New Jersey is lame." My first response was "Sure."
    Then I re-read it.

    [The] new jersey is lame. Gotcha.

  • I like the new jersey. The red color seems a bit too bright or shiny, but the stripe is good to see. The last few jerseys were awful.

    I get the impression that NR is trying to create a reboot of the team/club without calling it that. By completely changing the entire soccer operations staff from head to toe, it seems as though he wants the returning players to get a feel as if they have joined a new club with a totally clean slate. I can see why he has taken that approach. What was worth hanging onto from the last regime? Nada, so why not try a reboot lite.

  • In reply to Krasov:

    Great post Krasov!
    I agree it looks like we are in full rebuild mode and that is a good thing considering the amount of amateurness of the team the last few years especially!
    The white horizontal strip across the chest is a call to the Fire from it's start when they won it all their 1st year in the league in 1998 and were full of class and professionism! I hope we get back to that pro status and respect around the league...we have hit rock bottom I hope and it only gets better as we hopefully Fire our way to the top!
    Looking at KC Wizard amateurism playing in the KC Royals baseballs stadium to the new and revolutionary Sporting KC park of today! It's amazing and something that the MLS holds in high regard as it bodes well for MLS and US soccer to hopefully attract big names in the past, now, and going forward!

  • Guillermo. Could you please do a podcast with the ever truthfull Evan whitfield. I would love to hear his impression of this 2016 fire team. Honestly comparing the fire and any other team in this new dynamic mls is like comparing the kelly high school team to Barcelona. For the life of me I cannot figure how the league permittes a major city like chicago to be owned by someone like old andy. Who in the earth cares what color shirt they are wearing when they are the worst team in the league.

  • In reply to Brokerman:

    Yep....we'll probably have Evan back clioser to start of the season.

  • Am I the only one that doesnt like this jersey? I was so disappointed when I saw it. It looks like a plain template of a jersey. IMO, it is so plain and boring, which is the way the team has played for the past two seasons. They could have done so much better.

    On a different note, did anyone else get a letter for the front office giving them two complimentary tickets to any home game in March or April if they call and ask for them? That can't be a good sign...

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    See here's the thing. I feel like the primary jersey should be a bit boring and "plain". It's the brand of the team. You go nuts with the second jersey or third jersey. But the Fire went nuts with the primary jersey a couple seasons ago and now have a "safety first" secondary jersey too. The biggest problem with the jersey now is that the material's shininess and the sponsor font and the narrowness of the white band make it look like one of those Blanco knockoffs the scalpers sell at TP.

    So while I admit the jersey is plain and boring and cheap looking, its STILL a welcome change IMO to a Lisa Frank LSD trip.

  • In reply to TomazPP:

    Someone had mentioned on the twitters that this design template is similar to some of the minimalist designs that several of the European (national? club?) teams unveiled this year. That said, I'm neutral, but glad the white stripe is back.

  • Vidic retired BTW

  • Fire have acquired defender Johan Kappelhof from Dutch side, FC Groningen. This finally looks like a seriously good signing. He's 25, just coming into his prime and looks very good.

  • In reply to Arklow:

    Agreed. I like this one a lot. Plenty of first team experience, including in European competition, and a winner (I can guarantee NR will mention that last one in the presser whenever they announce this).

  • In reply to Arklow:

    Davie Downer here - this looks on the surface to be much better than our last Dutch signing, Sherrjil MacDo. But I am so tired of false hype for players who do not work out that... well, I'll get excited when JK is in the center of a backline that shows that they can register regular shutouts. Until then, assuming that victories start to pile up as well... he and the rest of the rebooted club (from players to management) will have everything to prove. AH is still ultimately in control, and that makes me very, very wary.

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