Grazzini trains "inside", Kinney back, striker rumors & more

The Fire’s bizarre handling of Sebastian Grazzini’s contract situation took another odd turn today.   The Argentine midfielder did not train with the rest of his teammates this morning at the Toyota Park practice field, instead he trained “inside” the facility according to the club.  Grazzini was not made available to speak to the media once again but Frank Klopas addressed his absence.  “He’s here.  Where’s he going to go? He’s under contract,” said Klopas.

Klopas cited some general soreness after a match as the reason for his absence from full training.  He also said there was nothing new to report with regard to contract talks with the player.  “There’s no update and nothing new to report right now,” said Klopas.

Sherjill MacDonald joining the Fire?

Rumors surfaced this morning that the Fire were close to a deal with Dutch striker Sherjill MacDonald.  The 27 year old forward currently plays for Germinal Beerschot in the Belgium Jupiler Pro League and had been at Fire training for a trial a few weeks ago.  He registered 7 goals in 29 games over the course of Beerschot’s most recent season so it wouldn’t appear that he would be a player that should be considered a final piece to the puzzle or a considerable upgrade over what the club currently has on the roster.  If signed, MacDonald appears to be a move for additional depth.

Klopas confirmed the Fire’s interest in MacDonald after training today.  “Yes. He’s on our list,” said Klopas.  “We have a list of four or five candidates that we’re looking at.  They’re all guys that we’ve done a lot of work on and research but we’ll see how it goes, we’re definitely looking to add another striker”.

Adding MacDonald or any other international player would necessitate a move involving one of the Fire’s eight current internationals, which is the league limit.

Another striker on the horizon?

The club is still considering other options at the forward position and Klopas indicated that there are players interested in plying their trade in Chicago.  “There’s a lot of interest. A lot of players want to come,” he said.  “For me, you just have to see the qualities of the player on and off the field.  Age also plays a factor.  When you make moves sometimes you want to bring guys that you can build with for longer than six months or one year.  I think that’s the goal, to have guys that we can build the team around for two, three, or four years.  It’s difficult when you make a lot of changes every year,” he continued.

That answer would not seem to bode well for the rumored interest in Ukranian forward Andriy Shevchenko, who turns 36 in September and has indicated that he is weighing offers while also mulling retirement.  Shevchenko is not the Fire’s top wish list target.

Segares Out – Gargan In?

A red card issued to Gonzalo Segares on Saturday night leaves Klopas with a decision to make at left back against Sporting Kansas City.  Dan Gargan moved to the left side as the Fire shifted positions and could get the start again in lieu of rookie Hunter Jumper.  “We have Dan who can play there.  We just have to see how we match up,” said Klopas.  “It’s also still a game that we’ll be playing on the road and experience always helps in difficult environments like that.  We just have to assess where everyone is with match- ups, but we have some options”.

“That’s a play I wish I could get back,” said Segares of the tackle attempt resulting in the dismissal.  ” I won the first ball and was trying to follow through and I really thought I was going to be able to get there.  It skipped a little bit fast on me and when I was going for the tackle I tried to pull my foot back and I definitely couldn’t get my body all the way out (of the way).  I definitely took my foot out and with the movement I steamed over him,” explained Segares.  “He got the ball first and that’s what went toward the call for the ref.  I wish I could take it back because I feel like I let my team down,” said Segares.

Dube Waived

The Fire waived forward Kheli Dube in what will likely be the first of several moves over the next few days as the July 1 “guaranteed contract” date for MLS rosters approaches.  “It was difficult, but it just didn’t work out.  He hasn’t played a lot and it was difficult to see where he would get minutes to play.  His wife just had a baby and they’re in Zimbabwe so it’s been difficult for him.  He was a good guy and a good pro, we wish him all the best,” said Klopas.  According to Klopas, the Fire and Dube parted ways mutually amicably and the forward is returning to Zimbabwe to be closer to his family.

Dube was a green card holder and therefore did not occupy one of the eight available international spots on the roster.

Kinney returns to full training

Defender Steven Kinney resumed full training today for the first time since the end of the 2010 season when he suffered a torn achilles in the final match of the season.  “It felt wonderful to be out there, full running,” said Kinney.  “Now it’s just a matter of getting my fitness back and getting my sharpness back,” he said.

” I tore my achilles and when I was coming back I had a sports hernia and then the other ligament in my ankle started to flare up but that’s calmed down now.”  Kinney doesn’t feel he has any after effects from the string of injuries and should be close to 100% soon.  “I haven’t run in a year and a half so there are aches and pains so we’ll just have to fight through this.”

Misc Notes

  • With the transfer window opening tomorrow, Alex will be officially available for selection against Sporting Kansas City on Friday
  • SKC takes on the Dayton Dutch Lions in US Open Cup play tonight.
  • Expect other transactions to be made shortly in lieu of the July 1 deadline in order to free up roster spots and avoid the guaranteed contract date


Filed under: 2012 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire


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  • Oh boy.

    This article claims that Beerschot was anxious to move MacDonald because his salary was weighing heavily on their budget and a TRANSFER FEE has been agreed to between the Fire and the Dutch club.

    They wouldn't possibly pick up another marginal striker for a transfer fee again.....would they?

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Two word: Nery. Castillo. Ugh

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    what the hell is the direction of this club? this is really starting to make me question our scouting ability. not to make it worse but the team is actually a mid table team that plays in the Belgian league.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    also i thought the ownership was trying to not waste money?

  • Seems like they ( F.O. ) are trying to go cheap. With Rolfe and Oduro why to they need another 7 goal a season striker, you would think they would try to get one that averages at a minimum 12 to 17 goals a season.
    These are the same stupid asses wondering why the attendance isn't
    higher. The whole thing is disgusting, too bad the F.O. lacks vision
    and a sense about promoting attractive and winning soccer.

  • Hmmm... this sounds eerily familiar, and eerily Argentine: "He's here. Where's he going to go? He's under contract," said the manager. Oh, yeah! Tevez! And he didn't go anywhere, did he? (Granted Tevez was a more extreme case, but still...)

    In the MLS article on Soumaré's return to MLS with the Union, they mentioned Gutiérrez is technical director. Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't Guti Baky's agent when he transferred to Boulogne? Not that Baky's not a good player, but seeing as he didn't exactly light up Ligue 1, it seems like in the end who you know is as important as how you perform. Surprise, surprise.

  • In reply to Modibo:

    The baffling thing about the Grazzini issue is that they're making themselves look bad by the manner in which they're approaching the whole thing. If they're going to pick up the option all they need to do is have one of the big wigs step up and say "We are addressing the situation in discussions with Grazzini's agent.".

    If they're not going to pick up the option all they need to do is have one of the big wigs step up and say "We are addressing the situation in discussions with Grazzini's agent and will have a decision by June 30."

    It cant be left to Klopas to massage answers and generate reasons for why the player isn't available when he has clearly stated that he is not a part of the negotiations. Mind boggling.

    You are correct. Diego Gutierrez was indeed Soumare's agent when he made the move to France.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    You say "they're making themselves look bad" but I say they're just being transparent and revealing that they ARE bad. This is a completely open and honest junior high level operation. They've done all they can do to explain that to us except to simply say it in those words.

    It's amazing how good this team has become of late. We can be sure some tinkering will be forthcoming within days to fix the problem.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Arklow:

    I have full confidence we can excel at just barely getting by. It's times like this I kinda wish we had an owner with the last name Steinbrenner or starts with the words Sheikh...

  • If Grazzini leaves, I could see the Fire (with the help of Friedrich) begin to really go after Ballack. I'm not sure that he would be the best fit though. We really need Grazzini to stay, and the club(Andrew Hauptmann) has stated that they would be willing to spend Robbie Keane type money on a player if they felt that player was a good fit for the team. However, if Grazzini does go, then I could see the Fire picking up Dimitris Salpingidis and slotting Rolfe in as a supporting striker/attacking mid role.

  • In reply to Blaizeingspeed:

    I don't think they've got any interest in Ballack. I think his best days are far behind him. There was some rumored interest in Salpingidis this past January but he re-signed with PAOK and he's under contract for another year. The transfer fee for him would be much too high.

    Klopas said yesterday that there are plenty of players who want to come here. We'll see if any are worth "Keane money".

  • In reply to Blaizeingspeed:

    Yeah they will spend Keane like money on transfer fees for players like Puppo and Macdonald.

  • There should be another move coming today. Stay tuned...

  • I think we've been "tuned" for a while now. Our concern is whether the front office has finally got itself "tuned."

    Let's hope Nero isn't still just "fiddling."

  • Rafael Robayo says he wants more playing time. There is a chance he could return to Millonarios and expects the club to contact the Fire this week..........

  • Fire trade Kwame Watson-Siriboe to Real Salt Lake for a 4th round pick..........

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Was the the move you referenced earlier or is there another one coming?

  • In reply to c0quito18:

    That was the move. Expect there to be more but I doubt there will be anything today.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Yeah!! Lets trade a recent past 2nd round pick for a future 4th rounder. Way to eval talent.

  • I am underwhelmed...

  • and.........................................?

  • I think the Chicago Fire Front Office needs a Major Over Haul.
    Most should be working in the Circus since these Clowns don't know
    what they are doing to grow the sport and increase attendance.
    For example you don't irritate the Fans by screwing around with a
    Fan favorite player like Grazzini and promoting Puppo and Robayo
    who should be sent packing back to were they come from.
    You don't waste funds on a Belgium second division player while
    you have Orr Barouch and Kellen Gulley not being developed or
    used to achieve their Full Potential. Klopas was a good striker so
    he thinks, why not work with Orr Barouch and kellen Gulley???

  • In reply to Juergen:

    I agree, the Fire is now officially a model of how NOT to run an organization. The front office and coaching staff are in over their heads and going nowhere fast. Looking forward to the years of mediocrity yet to come.

  • In reply to DerSting:

    The Fire organization can't be any worse than Toronto FC. Talk about a complete joke. TFC fire coaches and front office personnel every year along with no identity to structure a franchise. I believe it was last year or two, the Sounders front office refunded their money to season ticket holders and wrote an apology letter after a horrendous performance.

  • In reply to longoria3:

    I fear we are much closer to Toronto than Seattle in the front office department. I was in Seattle last week and Sounders merchandise was EVERYWHERE. Watched a game in a local pub and the environment was electric. The team was even talked up in the local media! We are a long way away from that now. The Fire are a mid table team, with mid table ownership, and a clueless Front Office, and I have seen little to no effort to improve that on any level the past 4 years. Losing the opening match in the Open cup is a disgrace. Bringing in players who do not pan out shows little in the efficacy of the scouting department. Arne was a good risk but has contributed little due to injury. Now we are supposed to get excited about a guy who played in Switzerland and a mid table Belgian team? That clearly shows the aspirations of management. Klopas says there are several players who want to come here? From what league? Instead of bringing in someone who MIGHT pan out, how about a proven stud who will make an immediate impact instead of one who pulls splinters out of his backside after each game.

    Are we as bad as Toronto? Probably not but the Fire are farbaway from where they should be.

  • In reply to DerSting:

    I think that you're mixing public support with front office capabilities. I haven't been to either Toronto or Seattle, but I don't think anyone is going to say that Toronto hasn't got support. In fact, they were trumpeting their supporters as tops in the league before the product on the field went south, and as Seattle entered the league with a better team and a fan vacuum to fill (in terms of professional sports). Toronto still has a number of major league franchises, despite the lack of titles which is a definite issue with what seems to be one entity - Maple Leaf Sports - owning them all.

    What I'm saying is that you can't point to the support that Seattle has and give all the credit to their front office for it. Just like you can't point to a single Toronto FC fan and say that their FO has delivered anything worth cheering for on the field. Would the Fire get more support with a better FO, and hence better team on the field (and perhaps more promotions, like an English language radio program?)? Yeah, for sure. But Chicago also has a lot of pro teams on the field, and some of them actually win games (unlike in Toronto) and have a long embedded history behind them. If one or two of Chicago's teams uprooted and moved somewhere else - as has happened in Toronto, Seattle, Cleveland, Baltimore, etc - then the sports loyalties would suffer a major shakeup that a winning Fire franchise could exploit. But even a winning Fire team would not supplant those teams for the attention and love of fans, in my opinion.

    Now as to the player selection... to quote Moon Unit Zappa, "gag me with a spoon". Over and out.

  • In reply to Modibo:

    My point was that the marketing department in Seattle works overtime. Jerseys and scarves were in most stores I went to. Not just soccer specific outlets. (a Walmart for Pete's sake!)

    I saw more press coverage in a week than I have seen in a years time here. Their front office does work overtime to create a presence that is nearly invisible here. I agree there is more competition here, but if you do nothing like the front office is doing now, nothing will ever improve and the franchise will dwindle into obscurity. You cannot expect a population to become curious if they are not aware of your product.

  • In reply to DerSting:

    Don't forget that 1) Seattle shares ownership with the Seahawks and that helps a lot. 2) They got the team right as the Sonics where leaving. 3) their attendance demands media coverage. The Fire got more coverage last year probably in the week around the Man United game then they had the months surrounding it because that game demanded media attention.. If the Fire could sell out every week, and start getting good tv ratings then the media would be forced to cover it.

  • In reply to lijien:

    Now if we can only get the front office to make that connection and act on it!

  • In reply to Juergen:

    I know it's natural for fans to want to see young players get on the field but they've got to earn their way onto the field. I'm surprised Barouch hasn't seen more time but to be honest Gulley needs to step up his work rate in order to earn playing time.

  • So what'd Eddie Johnson do last night that had twitter buzzing? I was going to watch it yesterday, but opted for sleep instead. Was it worse than flipping-off the fans near the tunnel at TP? Maybe he tried taking out Omar while he was with his grandma at church during the "Sunday cease-fire" (from the Wire, anyone?).

  • In reply to c0quito18:

    It's hard to tell from the video but he supposedly decided to taunt the San Jose bench and fans after the game ended. He also allegedly slapped/punched/shoved an Earthquakes player who called him on it.

    I guess the lame fine that MLS slapped him after the incident in Chicago wasn't enough to get his attention.

  • Keep Grazzini and sign him to a new contract; he is worth the money. I will keep Robayo and he isn't getting enough playing time because of Pause; he the one that needs to go. Pause is worthless and has no value to the team and Klopas needs to go as well.

  • When is MLS going to do away with the foreign players rule?

    It seems like a disservice to fans of the league if a team can't sign a player simply because of his nationality.

  • If anyone is wondering why most soccer experts rank Lionel Messi
    superior to Christiano Ronaldo just watch the Spain/Portugal shootout of today's game. When one waits to become a hero one could run out of time.
    Back to the Fire, I agree with most of the above, the decision making
    within the Fire organization is both abysmal and amateurish.

  • so what moves if any are in store for today? also frank said there are plenty of players that want to be here, well how come they're not here?

  • According to today's (28th) Trib article the Fire are apparently considering both MacDonald and Schevchenko, if this happens in all probability Grazzini will be gone. The Fire again makes what could be opportunity to highlight the club into the laughing stock of the MLS.
    Still don't know what's going to happen but from various reports it seems the signing of MacDonald is likely, not the game breaker the team needs.

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    The Jupiler league really pumps my nads.

  • Should have some comments from Javier Leon this morning.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    can you ask about sending young players out on loan to build experence, like KWS last year. If it is hard to do, or what the deal is. Seems like MLS doesnt do it at all.

  • In reply to KChance:

    I agree, the Reserve league as now structured is a detriment to the development of younger soccer players.
    No matter how long young players are in training with the top club there is nothing better than competitive action on the field.
    A 10 game schedule is nonsense, loaning out players seems like a workable plan if they can be recalled to the top club if needed.
    Barouch should be playing somewhere instead of the bench.

  • How can the younger forwards maintaim any motivation with bringing in more marginal strikers, Klopas said he is looking for more depth at the forward position, we have depth already, what we need isn't more depth but more quality.

  • so javier leon is a real person? ;) i wonder what bs he has to say. could you ask him to justify the puppo signing?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to penapirata:

    Please get something done before the EPL pre season, or you will lose me again when football starts again in Europe. That is what should be said to the FIRE FO.

  • Grazzini is staying in Chicago,0,1369383.story

  • another link

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