Chicago Fire GM Nelson Rodriguez and Head Coach Veljko Paunovic calling Brian Bliss to get his laptop password.
Frankly, all of Fire Nation was hoping we’d have more things to talk about by now, but no dice.
With the international transfer window now open and the MLS Superdraft combine beginning today Chicago continues to shed both salaries, personalities, and staff.
The number of players remaining on the Fire’s roster sits at 14, with the organization making no additions during either stage of the Re-Entry Draft in December and choosing not to cash in on any of MLS’s first, albeit aging, free agents.
Evaluating players is a messy thing. With MLS’s first Free Agency class now available for purchase and MLS’s yearly Re-Entry Round 2 Draft beginning tomorrow (Thursday, 12/17), it is worth looking at who’s available… and who’s worth being available.
Chicago shed a lot of player contracts last week as new GM Nelson Rodriguez and new coach Veljko Paunovoic freed up as many dollars as possible for the upcoming MLS post season scramble.
As Phase One of the Re-Entry draft begins it’s worth taking a look at how the 2015 Fire performed in context to their MLS salaries.
(courtesy Sean King on Fire Confidential)
MLS designated the final round of matches in the 2015 regular season as Decision Day. Some playoff spots were still up for grabs and Sunday’s results finally resolved postseason matchups. For the New York Red Bulls, Decision Day was a two-pronged battle: they would face the Chicago Fire on the field, and they were vying for the Supporters Shield with Western Conference leaders FC Dallas. The Fire, already locked in as the very bottom team in MLS, could only spoil the party for the Red Bulls.
(photo courtesy chicago-fire.com)
The Chicago Fire’s 2:0 blanking of FC Dallas on Sunday was truly a breath of fresh air. For once, the Fire’s backline looked like a disciplined, coordinated group, unlike the amateurish vagabonds that allowed two very sloppy goals to New England on July 25. Whether this turnabout was due to the return of Jeff Larentowicz, the benching of Adailton, the return of Matt Polster to his rightful place in midfield, or some combination of the three is great fodder for discussion. Regardless of how the Fire did it, they got the job done, and these three points are crucial in determining whether a playoff spot is even feasible. With 13 matches left and 39 points on offer, the Fire really need to take the positives from this performance and make sure that they are part of the game plan every week.
Emotional Faces! (via MLS)
The Chicago Fire uncorked their attacking power when they took on New York City FC on Friday at Yankee Stadium and were 2:0 up before a half hour had elapsed. But fundamental defensive errors at the most crucial moments proved costly, as NYC conjured goals in stoppage time of both halves and salvaged a point that they had no business winning. For their part, the Fire had an opponent reeling and lacked the knockout punch to bag their first road victory of the season…
Fire Lose, but Red Stars and Fire Academy top out the Weekend with Victories
The Fire lost to Real Salt Lake in the Fire’s lone meeting with this Western Conference opponent.
On the positive side, Section 8 was loud yesterday and the Chicago Red Stars were greeted with open arms by Section 8 supporters as well as their own supporters, Chicago Local 134. The Red Stars gave the fans something to cheer about, beating Boston Breakers, 3-0. Awesome scarf!
For good or for bad, the Fire’s loss did not have the gut punch of last year’s 3-2 loss to Salt Lake with late game goals. Rather, this time the Fire went down 2-0 and attempted a last minute comeback after Shaun Maloney earned a penalty kick in the 88th minute. Captain Jeff Larentowicz scored on a strong, well-placed shot. And credit to him to following up his shot and picking up the ball and running to the center circle with a sense of restrained urgency.