Backline Beef-up, Part Two: Yallop adds rookies and vets

Chicago's new soccer boss added five defenders this week in his quest to strengthen the club's weakness. (photo: chicago-fire.com)

Chicago’s new soccer boss added five players this week in his quest to strengthen his club’s greatest weakness. (photo: chicago-fire.com)

A look at what Chris Ritter, Marco Franco, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, and Patrick Ianni will bring to Chicago Fire’s defense…

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Prime Your Fire Pump: Chicago vs. New England Revolution #3

Sean Johnson try to keep a clean sheet against the youthful New England attack (photo: Getty Images)

Sean Johnson and company will try to keep a clean sheet against a youthful New England attack
(photo: Getty Images)

OTF’s Jon Denham wants to see Hunter Jumper in the lineup and Total MLS’s Seth Macomber fills you in on the latest from New England…

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Jalil Anibaba: Past, Present, and Future

Young Jalil wearing the badge of Los Rojiblancos last fall. (photo: clubatleticomadrid.com)

Chicago Fire defender Jalil Anibaba wore the badge of Los Rojiblancos last fall in Madrid. (photo: clubatleticomadrid.com)

On The Fire’s contributing writer Rob Thompson recently sat down with Jalil Anibaba to discuss the young defender’s development, his training stint with Atlético Madrid, and the upcoming 2013 season.

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Dispatch from a Man in the Stands: Fire at Sporting KC

S8OT reppin’ well at SKC. That’s me in the corner. That’s me in the spotlight, practicing my religion.

If you care about what you do and what you write, and if you passionately love your club and your fellow fans, being a virtual hype-man can be a high-risk proposition at times.

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Dispatch from a Man in the Stands: Fire vs. L’Impact

Di Vaio: That’s not the gesture he made after scoring last night. Di Vaio MERDA VAFFANCULO!!! (Photo: impactmontreal.com)

From the first kick, I felt as if something was off kilter. The Toyota Park crowd was quiet, Section 8 wasn’t bringin’ their usual ruckus, and ominous messages from reliable sources circulated the tweetosphere. My superstitions began to get the best of me. And sure enough, my gut was right…

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Dispatch from the Couch: Fire at DC United

I know what I saw last night: too much of this. (Photo: mlssoccer.com)

Houston, we have some problems: fitness, fatigue, questionable lineup and tactical decisions, and most apparent of all, liabilities in defense. And for good measure, I’ll throw a little hubris into the mix.

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Prime Your Fire Pump: Chicago at DC United

DeRo: Don’t hate the playa?

A quick turnaround after the third Chitown beatdown in a row of an Eastern Conference opponent (the lowly New England Revolution) has the Men in Red traveling over to the nation’s capital to take on Dwayne De Rosario and the Dirty Birds known as DC United.

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Dispatch From a Man in the Stands: Fire vs. New England Revolution

(photo: goal.com)

(photo: goal.com)

As the afternoon passed, you could feel it. A heady vibe that smacked of faith rather than hope.

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Dispatch from a Man in the Stands: Fire at Philadelphia Union

Fire fans (top right of opposite side), Delaware River (background), sweet Ron Jon shirt (foreground)

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