Pre season is almost here - Yallop, Bliss, Brown talk 2014

Frank Yallop, Brian Bliss, and CJ Brown hit on a variety of topics in a pre-season press conference this afternoon. Players report for physicals tomorrow and the team departs for Florida on Sunday and the top three decision makers on the Fire’s revamped technical staff were made available to discuss their plans going forward. You can watch the full presser in the video above but here are the highlights.

  • Aron Hyde will rejoin the team this weekend after spending time with Sean Johnson and the USMNT in Brazil over the last two weeks.
  • Yallop expects to hire the final full time member of his coaching staff very soon and said they were “down the line with somebody” in negotiations. He didn’t want to mention any names but the new addition is presumably Clint Mathis.
  • Yallop and Bliss reiterated that the cap continues to be a challenge. Yallop wants to make sure the team is set up for years to come but he believes they can be a good side this season. The additions of Palmer, Ianni, and Hurtado should help after allowing too many goals in 2013. There could be more moves but they’re ready for camp. They want to give everyone a chance but will continue to look and try to make team better. Jobs are wide open for competition in the upcoming camp.
  • Bliss’ role will include working with Yallop to formulate the roster, making sure the team is cap compliant, negotiating contracts, along with domestic and international scouting. The job is similar to what he did in Columbus.
  • Bliss anticipates hiring additional scouts.
  • The Fire have explored the possibility of bringing Marco Pappa back. A return would require a trade but clubs in position for an allocation claim are asking for someone that they don’t want to give up. Nothing is close to being consummated.
  • Brown feels competition for spots should make the team better defensively.
  • Bliss shot down rumors that the Fire pursued Diego Forlan. The Fire never discussed a move with him or his agent and another MLS club owns the discovery claim on Forlan.
  • Bliss says they have the resources to bring in a DP. Hauptman has made moves in the past but the cap room has to be available to make a move. The Fire don’t have much wriggle room unless a big trade clearing cap space is made.
  • There will be 36 players in camp during Phase 1 in Ave Maria, Florida. There will be some trimming after that.
  • Orr Barouch is injured at the moment but will come into camp. Yallop liked what he saw of him when he was with the Fire in 2012.
  • The Fire are trying to facilitate an agreement with Federico Puppo to “move him on his way.” They don’t have the cap space to bring him back as a DP.
  • They are looking at ways of ensuring they have space going forward for a June or July move.
  • The team may only have 3-4 lower salary range spots available going into the season.
  • Yallop wants to get a look at the Homegrown signings on the field and if they’re good enough to play they will get on the field.

The 36

Yallop and Brown mentioned that 36 players will participate in the first phase of training camp in Ave Maria, Florida. Here’s a look at the current roster:

GK (3): Johnson, Reynish, Kann

DEF (9): Hurtado, Berry, Segares, Soumare, Kinney, Palmer, Ianni, Franco, Jumper

MID (14): Alex, Duka, Larentowicz, Nyarko, Pause, Pineda, King, Shipp, Ritter, Atouba, Braun, Bolden, Dacres, Ciesulka

FW (6): Anangono, Magee, Amarikwa, Rolfe, Gulley, Barouch

That total equals 32 so there are 4 players yet to be named not counting a player added later today (see below).

Pause re-signs

There never really was much doubt, but the Fire made it official today. Logan Pause will be returning for a twelfth season in Chicago. He will tie Cobi Jones and Pablo Mastroeni this year for the longest consecutive tenure at one club in MLS history.

Magee, Johnson make the cut

Jurgen Klinsmann trimmed his USMNT roster to 22 players after a stay in Brazil and both Mike Magee and Sean Johnson will remain part of the squad. The Nats head to Los Angeles this weekend to begin the next phase of training before a match against the Korea Republic on February 1.

Here’s the current roster:

GK (3) : Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEF (7) : Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Clarence Goodson (San Jose Earthquakes), Michael Harrington (Portland Timbers), Michael Parkhurst (Columbus Crew), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders FC)
MID (8) : Eric Alexander (New York Red Bulls), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Benny Feilhaber (Sporting Kansas City), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake), Dax McCarty (New York Red Bulls), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
FW (4 ): Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Eddie Johnson (D.C. United), Mike Magee (Chicago Fire), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)

Section 8 Chicago’s Annual General Meeting

The AGM will be conducted tomorrow at 1pm at Chitown Futbol in Pilsen. The annual meeting is an excellent opportunity to meet other supporters and find out more about Section 8 Chicago and plans for the upcoming season. Voting for this year’s Board of Directors will also take place at the meeting. If you haven’t been to an AGM, check this one out.

Waiver draft

Wait, there was another draft today?

The Fire selected UNC-Charlotte forward Giuseppe Gentile in today’s MLS waiver draft. Gentile is an underclassman who decided to leave college and sign with MLS. Since he signed after the Superdraft he was made available via waiver draft.

From’s scouting report of Gentile:

“Gentile, who holds Swiss and American dual citizenship, is considered a prototypical No. 9 forward. According to his college scouting report, he’s an athletic, powerful runner and hard worker who runs the channels and likes to get in behind defenders. He scored 27 goals in three seasons at UNC Charlotte and was the team’s leading assist man in 2012.”


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  • Anangono is under real pressure to produce, the Fire picked up a lot of young talent at the forward and midfield positions, probably the most talented group of rookies in the past several years, then picking up Gentile yesterday. Good to see Barouch back with the club and it looks like he'll get a fair chance to show what he can do.
    Too bad the Fire isn't hooked up with a lower classification club to see some of these guys get some quality playing time, the reserve league sucks. I doubt if Bone and Paladini will be missed.
    Yallop has the first half of the season to see how things develop
    prior to jumping into the DP situation. This club is going to be a contender.

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    My thoughts exactly--JLA showed great qualities a few times last season with some fancy footwork (see his Big Red assist vs DC), a tendency to be dangerous in the air, and about a dozen off-the-post chances. Hoping he can get in a good rhythm this season from the start.

    It's also encouraging to see other forwards who will challenge for that starting spot if he's not up for it. Remember when nothing was going in early last season and Nyarko was playing forward for a few matches again? Glad it appears that won't be necessary!

  • Who heard of Wondolowski before Yallop got his hands on him. Could be a positive sign for one of the young forwards on the team.

  • Could you explain what is meant by another MLS team having a "discovery claim" on Forlan? The guy has been a pro footballer since 1997. It's not like he's been hiding in the weeds somewhere.

    Who has the "discovery claim" for Christiano Ronaldo? I think he could make it in MLS from what I've heard!

  • In reply to Roti2000: MLS clubs can place discovery claims on up to 10 players every season. That includes veteran international players who could end up in the league at some point. The discovery claims prevent all out bidding wars for players coming in. In the case of a player like Forlan, if he were to sign with the league and the team with a claim can't get a deal done with him the next team in line would have an opportunity to cut a deal. Diego Valeri was a Portland discovery claim for example.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Is there a duration on those claims? That is, if they're allowed a discovery claim on 10 per season, do those claims expire on Jan 1 (or whenever after the current season is over)? Sounds like they do, but just curious... And it makes me wonder if the Fire ever did have a claim on Forlan...

    It would be really interesting to know if these claims can be filed on a rolling basis, just during transfer windows, etc. Ah, the wonder and mystery of MLS!

  • In reply to Modibo:

    The Fire did not a have claim on Forlan.

    Discovery claims expire after each season but teams that first filed a claim maintain first dibs if a player on the previous year's list signs at a later date.

    Teams have until the roster freeze date to sign any players on their discovery list.

    MLS roster rules make my head hurt.

  • Per Jefe on twitter.....former Fire right back Tim Ward is in camp.

  • Thought he was fairly decent defender during his timer with the Fire

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    I second that. But all the right backs who seemed to do a reasonable job in my mind (Ward and Gargan) have been shipped out for one reason or another. Seems like we're allergic to true RBs. Quite a contrast on the left side (minus Sega's foray to Cyprus).

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