Fire notebook - Alvarez signs, Dutch connection, new signings, and more

As expected, the Fire have announced that Arturo Alvarez has signed with the club. The MLS veteran played well enough during his preseason trial to pick up a one year deal with an option for 2017. He should compete for a spot at right midfield come Sunday.

Double Dutch

The Fire have been busy with Dutch players this offseason. Johan Kappelhof and John Goossens figure to play important roles right away. General Manager Nelson Rodriguez said this past Monday that landing a trial for Goossens worked out very well for both sides.

“I would love to tell you that it was the work of brilliant scouting, but candidly it wasn’t,” said Rodriguez. “It was more a product of having good relations with people who know me and know Pauno, who believed that John’s style would fit well with what we were trying to do. They provided us with the opportunity to consider him and we invited him in. I must say, John is an incredible professional. He gets off the plane from travelling all night and Pauno says to him, ‘would you like a day or two to rest or acclimate to the time zone to get ready?’, he said ‘no sir, I came here to win a job’. And he did.”

Veljko Paunovic is also bullish on what Goossens can contribute. “His understanding of the game and his ability of scoring goals, assisting, and (being) a hard working player is something that we need for this team. We saw in the games that we played, that he can play in different positions and different systems. It’s a great addition for us,” said the Fire’s first year coach.

Goossens echoed that ability to be flexible in describing his preferred position on the field. “It depends on the system but usually I’m underneath the striker or as a left or right midfielder,” he said earlier this week.

Both players used the web to find out more about their new destination but Chicago Fire wasn’t completely unknown to them before signing with the club. “We saw a lot on the internet. It’s really hard to follow the league on television in Europe. I was interested a couple of years ago in MLS and I started searching on the internet. I’m excited to be here,” said Goossens. Kappelhof had a similar view. “If I though about MLS, there was a few clubs I knew. There was Chicago Fire, LA Galaxy, New York Red Bull, so I knew the club. For myself, I looked on the internet for some more information,” said the defender who says centerback is his best position, but he can also play left or right back.

Goossens has had some serious injury issues since his days in the Ajax youth system. He hopes those days are behind him and the Fire have signed him to a two-year deal with an option for a third. “I’m fully fit. Every player has his history, but I’m full fit right now,” he said.

Both players seem to realize that 2016 is a work in progress with Chicago but are both optimistic that things can turn around. “I think we did a great job (in preseason). Portland is the champion of last season, so if you win on their home ground it’s a great job,” said Goossens.

“The whole back line, compared to last season is new so we have to get used to each other. That’s why we trained good, and hard in Portland. We did good in that (last) game and that’s a good sign for this season,” said Kappelhof of the favorable results over the last few weeks.

Goossens appears to be genuinely happy about the opportunity in MLS and said the experience so far compares favorably to other stops during his career. “Here in the US, everything is so professional. It’s high level. Everything from cleats, from the clothes, on to the pitch. Everything is high level. I’m really happy and satisfied with the situation. I just want to play games.”

He’s also aware of the fan support demanding his signing after scoring a golazo against the University of Portland. “I heard about it,” he said. “I’ve made some good goals and hopefully I will make more like that.”

Goossens will be available once his visa paperwork clears. There is now word yet on whether or not that will happen in time for Sunday.

In pursuit of Adu and others

The Fire are interested in adding Ghanaian midfielder Enoch Kofi Adu to the roster but this report claims that a deal was turned down yesterday.

The horse has not been buried yet in targeting FC Groningen attacker Michael de Leeuw either.

The Fire are apparently still pursuing several options in midfield and on the attacking side.

NASL Chicago

Several Fire and Chicago notables have taken to supporting Peter Wilt’s NASL venture. CJ Brown. Eric Wynalda, and former Sting owner Lee Stern talk about their backing of the idea here. Interestingly, Stern notes local ownership as an important factor in Chicago success.

Fantasy Football

Sign up for the Fire Confidential fantasy league here by entering code 13768-3109.


Filed under: 2016 Pre Season

Tags: Chicago Fire


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  • fb_avatar

    The Fire should have a list of targeted players they want, if they don't accept their offer by a certain deadline, move on to plan B and so forth! But don't wait until the European season ends at the end of May to re-start the process again! By that time a third of the season over, and those potential players want a "holiday" and need to re-charge themselves after a grinding season before coming over to MLS. Add time to get acclimated and you have another year out of the playoffs, fans calling for new ownership and everyone questioning the new GM and coach! Act now, yes the right guys, and the right fit are important but so is a strong start with so many young players before they get discouraged. Consider guys on one 1 year deals (thru 2016 only) with Fire options for renewals/extentions once they prove/earn a good contract. We have had successful "trialist", why because we don't have much competing with them, don't be fooled by the pre-season as to our expectations going forward. Your thoughts GR?

  • In reply to Bob Bilocerkowycz:

    Agree with that in principle. Ideally you want guys for the whole season of course, but that can't always get done without paying transfer fees. In de Leeuw's case he has a contract that expires in mid summer but it seems that his team is holding out for the best deal possible. They're going to lose him for nothing in July when he moves if they don't deal now but that's a chance they're talking. Not always cut and dried.

  • Lee Stern definitely got it right about the local ownership part.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Looking at the comments from the player and the manager, the two points of view could hardly be more different. The player is saying that he very much wants to play for Malmo, while the manager looks like he is holding the door for Adu and can't wait for him to leave.

  • fb_avatar

    Of the two, who would you rather see in red? Adu is more of a defensive mid, correct? The first video that pops up in a search for de Leeuw has me sold though, sooo many top shelf goals: He would be a fantastic signing. I hope they pay a fee to bring him in now.

  • In reply to Carl Miller:

    Easy choice of the Leeuw.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Agreed, his highlight reel is just damn sexy.
    Looking at vids of Adu, he has pretty good distribution from a deep lying position, and fairly good with his feet for a DM. He's listed as 5'8" but somehow looks like a much bigger presence in his highlight videos.

  • In reply to Carl Miller:

    Transfer fees- isn't it a combination of ownership money and league money? Does TAM/GAM/BLAM qualify to be used specifically for the transfer fee?

  • I'm wondering what other people think in relationship to NR/VP's comments about the "core" they are looking for. Especially in relation to some recent signing.

    Logically, I'm assuming the "core" is going to translate mostly to the spine of the team. Center forward, center midfield, centerbacks. Gilberto seems to fit the system as an extremely industrious (if limited) forward. Polster (I hope) is the planned long term solution at Dmid. But do I think that Goosens, Meira, Cocis, and Alvarez are long term solutions to the "process?" Certainly not. (Is Kappelhof? I think they are hoping he is)

    That's why I think they are focused on a couple guys that, for the bare minimum, aren't really needed in 2016. Is de Leeuw better than Goosens and fills a bigger need for the team than Adu right now? I agree with GR that the easy answer is yes. Do NR/VP care, or are they just looking for anyone that fills their vision for the future, regardless of immediate need? I think that the latter is more true. We can debate the merits of that, but it seems to me that is what they are focused on. Especially given the lengths of some of these deals.

  • Is Matt Polster hurt? Heard that he had or is having a MRI done.

  • In reply to penapirata:

    Per John Kass, he hurt his knee in a non-contact drill, but the MRI showed no structural damage and he was back at practice on Thursday. Unknown if he plays on Sunday.

  • Picks today

    New York RB and Toronto FC draw
    Chicago over New York City FC
    Orlando City and Real Salt Lake draw
    FC Dallas over Philadelphia
    San Jose over Colorado
    New England over Houston
    Portland over Columbus
    Vancouver over Montreal
    Seattle over Sporting KC
    Los Angeles over DC

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