Jalil Anibaba

Chicago Fire

Match Day 1: Title Defense Begins

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By the time KC takes the field tomorrow in Seattle against the Sounders to start the 2014 MLS season, it will have been just 91 days since Sporting KC lifted the 2013 MLS Cup. They were the last ones off the field in 2013 and will be one of the first teams back on it as they and the Sounders are the first game of the 2014 season.

Maths Apology: Why Dropping Arevalo Rios Was a Good Idea

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Miss me? (photo: ultra palermo.com)

OTF's Brian Battle looks at Chicago'sdecision not to pick up Arevalo Rios's contract, and tries to make sense of the math...

When Chicago Fire said goodbye to far-and-away their most seasoned and talented player late last year some fans cried foul, while others simply shrugged.

Backline Beef-up, Part Two: Yallop Adds Rookies and Vets

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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...

Last season, Chicago Fire shipped 52 goals, tied for third worst in Major League Soccer.

OTF Roundtable: Chicago Fire Week 34

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Jalil and the Beanstalk: Que Golazo! (photo: chicago-fire.com)

Each and every Wednesday, OTF contributors have their say on our Men in Red...

The Men in Red are over the thin red line again. With two games left to play, they control their own playoff destiny. Are you surprised?

OTF Roundtable: Chicago Fire Week 34

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Jalil and the Beanstalk: Que Golazo! (photo: chicago-fire.com)

Each and every Wednesday, OTF contributors have their say on our Men in Red...

The Men in Red are over the thin red line again. With two games left to play, they control their own playoff destiny. Are you surprised?

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

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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...

The Men in Red were fresh off a 2-1 win over Montreal heading into a matchup against New England four weeks ago.

Same Old Sporting

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It seems to be a regular occurrence for Sporting. Out shoot your opponent, don't put enough shots on goal, and end up losing by the odd goal. It happened again last night in Chicago where Kansas City allowed an early goal by Hunter Jumper, and even though they had close to 60% possession throughout the game, KC couldn't find the net.

Dispatch: Chicago Fire (2) vs. Montreal Impact (1)

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Dilly Duka & Joel Lindpere leading the way to victory (photo: chicago-fire.com)

OTF's Daniel Casey contends the Men in Red are primed for a playoff run...

There was definitely the sense that this weekend's match against Montreal was going to be a rough one. Many fans seemed to have had a major hangover from the midweek upset loss to DC United in the US Open Cup semifinal.

In Defense of the Defenders: Why Chicago’s Back Four Look So Tired

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I bet he's at about 0.5% body fat by now. (photo: chicago-fire.com)

With a little help from the Editor, OTF's Adam Morgan brings you a disheartening case of Chicago Fire coaching malpractice and man-management failure...

Lately, defending has been a bit of a nightmare for Chicago Fire.

A Beautiful Game

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The newest member of #cf97 Nation may be young, but he knows a good photo op when he sees one!

Join OTF's Robert Suarez as he welcomes a special new friend to the Chicago Fire family...

It was a typical early spring morning. Too cold and raw to be called spring, but the sun was also too high in the sky for it to be called winter anymore.

Match Day #12 Game Thread: Philadelphia Union vs. Chicago Fire

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Game: Philadelphia Union vs. Chicago Fire

Where: PPL Park, Chester, PA

When: 7:30 PM ET

Channel: The Comcast Network

Commentators: JP Dellacamera and Alejandro Moreno

Meet the Opposition: Hot Time In Old Town

Philadelphia Union starting XI: (4-4-2) Zac MacMath; Raymon Gaddis, Bakary Soumare, Amobi Okugo, Sheanon Williams; Brian Carroll, Danny Cruz, Kleberson, Michael Farfan; Jack McInerney, Sebastien Le Toux

Philadelphia Union bench: Chris Konopka, Chris Albright, Keon Daniel, Leo Fernandes, Roger Torres, Conor Casey, Antoine Hoppenot

Chicago Fire starting XI: (4-4-2) Sean Johnson; Wells Thompson, Jalil Anibaba, Austin Berry, Gonzalo Segares; Dilly Duka, Logan Pause, Jeff Larentowicz, Joel Lindpere; Patrick Nyarko; Chris Rolfe

Chicago Fire bench: Paolo Tornaghi, Michael Videira, Corben Bone, Brendan King, Alex, Quincy Amerikwa, Sherjill MacDonald

Prediction: The last time these two squads met, the Union won but things could have gone better.

OTF Roundtable: Chicago Fire Week Twelve

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This is Soccer. This is Chicago. (photo: chicago-fire.com)

Each and every week, OTF's writers and contributors chime in on the state of the Fire...

What are your thoughts on the Fire's 0-1 home loss last Saturday? What's your starting eleven and formation this weekend at Philly and why?

Match Day #10 Game Thread: Chicago Fire vs. Philadelphia Union

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Game: Chicago Fire vs. Philadelphia Union

Where: Toyota Park, Bridgeview, IL

When: 1:30 PM ET

Channel: NBCSN

Commentators: Arlo White and Kyle Martino

Meet the Opposition: Hot Time In Old Town

Philadelphia Union starting XI: (4-4-2) Zac MacMath; Gabriel Farfan, Amobi Okugo, Bakary Soumare, Raymon Gaddis; Brian Carroll, Keon Daniel, Michael Farfan, Danny Cruz; Conor Casey, Jack McInerney

Philadelphia Union bench: Matt Kassel, Roger Torres, Chris Konopka, Sebastien Le Toux, Chris Albright, Kleberson, Antoine Hoppenot

Chicago Fire starting XI: (4-4-1-1) Sean Johnson; Gonzalo Segares, Austin Berry, Jalil Anibaba, Wells Thompson; Dan Paladini, Logan Pause, Joel Lindpere, Dilly Duka; Chris Rolfe; Patrick Nyarko

Chicago Fire bench: Corben Bone, Quincy Amerikwa, Paolo Tornaghi, Alex, Maicon Santos, Michael Videira, Yazid Atouba

Prediction: The Union continue to run out a formation and starting XI that has been show time and again to not work.

Prime Your Fire Pump: Chicago at L’Impact de Montreal

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Allez Fire! (image: twitter.com via @MLS)

OTF Editor Scott Fenwick brings you the Fire week in review, player and coach interviews, and gets you match prepped for Chicago's trip to Canada's sin city...

Perhaps this week's trip to La Metropole will show us whether the Fire have indeed turned a corner.

Dispatch: Chicago Fire vs. Chivas USA

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Walk away. Move on. (photo: media.zenfs.com)

OTF Editor Scott Fenwick thawed himself out on Sunday night and watched the tape on Monday night. Here's his take on Chicago's latest bungle...

Let's start with some positives, shall we?

  • My fingers have sufficiently thawed, allowing me to work the keyboard properly.

Dispatch from the Couch: Chicago Fire at Sporting KC

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Anibaba and the Men in Red: 'D' up (photo: zimbio.com)

With a little bit of luck and a lot of hard work, Chicago Fire earned a point in Kansas on Saturday...

Yes, it is true, the Fire have no goals. And yes, it is true, only about 1/3 of the parts seem to work at the moment.

Berry to train with Atletico Madrid

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Photo by ISIphotos.com

Jalil Anibaba will not be the only member of the Chicago Fire training with Atletico Madrid in the coming weeks.

Austin Berry, the recently-named 2012 MLS Rookie of the Year, will join Anibaba as Fire players who will practice alongside the likes of red-hot striker Radamel Falcao and centerback Diego Godin at Atletico this offseason.

Berry to become second Fire player to train at Atletico Madrid this offseason

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Sooooo...Atletico Madrid apparently likes the Chicago Fire's young defenders.

The Men in Red announced this morning that 2012 Rookie of the Year Austin Berry will spend two weeks training with Atletico Madrid from November 25 to December 9.

Berry will join second-year defender Jalil Anibaba, who is there until December 2.

Houston Dynamo 2 Chicago Fire 1

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The Season is over. The Chicago Fire were bounced out of the playoffs by the Houston Dynamo 2-1; on the back of two goals by Will Bruin. Alex stepped off the bench and put one back in for the Fire.

The first goal was on a corner. Brad Davis hit a perfect ball directly onto an unmarked Will Bruin.

Sporting to Play Dynamo

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Sporting KC will be heading to Houston on Sunday for the first leg off the Eastern Conference semifinals. Tonight in Chicago, the Houston Dynamo completely out played the Chicago Fire as they won 2-1 thanks to a pair of goals from Will Bruin. The Dynamo came out strong from the start and controlled the game.

Recap: Fire Leave Points On The Table, Lose 1-1

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The Chicago Fire needed a win to clinch the second seed and the third best record in MLS. The rewards would be avoiding the knockout round, and an almost guaranteed birth into the CONCACAF Champions League. Instead, the Fire let opportunities pass them by and left points on the table. In an exciting and frustrating game broadcast on NBC Sports Network, the Fire and DC United played in a back and forth, up and down affair, quite different than the cagey defensive affair that most experts predicted.

Chi-Town Breakdown: The First Goal

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It's the 33rd minute. And things aren't going well for your Chicago Fire. The Montreal Impact are up 1 on a goal by Italian Marco Di Viao. The Men in Red have played a flat half an hour thus far, and a goal at this point seemed like a pipe dream. When Chris Rolfe cut through the middle and passed the ball to Jalil Anibaba, we all figured he'd waste the cross like he had before.

Major League Soccer

Fire acquire Palmer from RSL

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He might be best remembered as the guy the who missed the deciding penalty kick to give Sporting Kansas City the MLS Cup last Saturday but the Fire acquired a solid role player in Lovel Palmer today. The well traveled Jamaican defender can play right back and holding midfield and should pose some competition for Jalil Anibaba.

Magee named MVP finalist, Forbes lists Fire as 8th most valuable MLS franchise

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MLS has named Mike Magee as one of the three finalists for the league's Most Valuable Player award. Voters made up of three categories (players, clubs, and media) determined that trio of Magee, Marco Di Vaio, and Robbie Keane were the top candidates for the honor. The winner will be announced on December 5, two days before the MLS Cup Final.

2013 MLS Award Finalist Unveiled

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Major League Soccer today announced the finalists for its 2013 awards. The winners for each award will be revealed in the coming weeks.

You can see how I voted here.

2013 Major League Soccer Awards Finalists

(Listed in alphabetical order by last name within each award category)

AT&T Rookie of the Year Finalists

Deshorn Brown (Colorado Rapids)
Dillon Powers (Colorado Rapids)
DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders FC)

Xbox Individual Fair Play Finalists*

Jalil Anibaba (Chicago Fire)
Nat Borchers (Real Salt Lake)
Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers)

*Selected by MLS based on objective criteria such as fouls committed, cards received, games & minutes played, as well as subjective evaluation of sportsmanlike behavior.

Bakary Soumare

Dispatch: Chicago Fire (3) at FC Dallas (2)

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Young Jalil Anibaba and the Chicago Fire are in the midst of a delicate balancing act (photo: youtube.com)

OTF's Brian Howe Battle takes a closer look at last Saturday night's Chicago win and cautions Fire Nation to take it one game at a time...

Studies have shown that fewer options will ultimately make people more happy.

Fire v Union match preview

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With the regular season clock ticking down, this one is important. If the Fire are going to make a move to claim one of the five available Eastern Conference playoff spots they are going to need to start winning against their closest competitors for those positions. Now. Already having suffered two losses at the hands of the Philadelphia Union in back to back games on May 11 and 18 they'll need maximum points in this one to avoid falling twelve points behind them.

MLS SuperDraft Week At HTIOT

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Although many see the MLS draft particularly as a very hit or miss affair, the Fire have always done a great job of drafting players that end up being major contributors to the team. The list is really a who's who of Fire teams, both past and present. Carlos Bocanegra (2000), Damani Ralph (2003), Logan Pause (2003), Chris Rolfe (2005), Sega (2005), Bakary Soumare (2007), Patrick Nyarko (2008), Sean Johnson (2010), Jalil Anibaba (2011), and Austin Berry (2012) is a pretty star studded lineup to have as a draft history.

Gonzalo Segares

Revolution vs. Fire 2013: Live Match Open Thread

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Be sure to discuss the New England Revolution's upcoming victory (knock on wood) in the comments section below!


Revolution: Matt Reis; Andrew Farrell, A.J. Soares, Jose Goncalves, Kevin Alston; Donald Smith, Clyde Simms, Kalifa Cisse, Juan Toja; Lee Nguyen, Jerry Bengtson

Bench: Shuttleworth, Barnes, Caldwell, Dorman, Rowe, Barrett, Fagundez

Fire: Sean Johnson; Steven Kinney, Jalil Anibaba, Austin Berry, Gonzalo Segares; Patrick Nyarko, Jeff Larentowicz, Joel Lindpere, Dilly Duka; Chris Rolfe, Sherjill MacDonald

Bench: Tornaghi, Videira, Paladini, Thompson, Atouba, Alex, Santos

Fire begin training for season opener

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Winning the Carolina Challenge Cup was one thing but now the season starts for real next Sunday in Los Angeles and the Fire are back in Bridgeview (for one day at least) to begin preparations for the 2013 kick-off match. The team trained at the Bridgeview Sports Dome on Tuesday before departing for Los Angeles and warmer climates on Wednesday morning.

Positional Analysis Part 5: Coaching/Roster- A Look Back And A Look Forward

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As we look forward to the end of the offseason and to the start of preseason, we have to wonder what is going through the head of head coach Frank Klopas. What kind of moves will he make? What kind of formations and tactics will he employ throughout the 2013 season? These are the 2 major questions in my mind that I will delve into and try to answer for you.

MLS Carryover Minutes: Why Your Team May Not Have Enough

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Last year I looked into the concept of 'Carryover Minutes' and their relationship to success in Major League Soccer. I define carryover minutes as minutes that come from a player that was on a team the previous year. For example, the Chicago Fire received carryover minutes last night from Sean Johnson, Jalil Anibaba, Gonzalo Segares, Logan Pause, Patrick Nyarko, Dominic Oduro, and Daniel Paladini.


Paint By Numbers: Gargan v. Anibaba Debate from an OPTA Perspective

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Dan Gargan's benching in favor of Jalil Anibaba at the right back position has been a point of contention for many Fire fans. Gargan is a fan favorite due to his gritty style of play and his strong work rate. Most Fire fans argue that Anibaba is not a good fit at right back because his natural playing position is center back.

Release the Kraken: It's Time for Gargan To Start Again

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Last Wednesday's game against DC United reinforced a point that many Fire fans have come to the conclusion of: it's time for Dan Gargan to be re-inserted into the starting XI. Although the team as a whole had an off game against DC, Jalil Anibaba was especially deficient at the RB position. He had a large share of the blame on a couple of DC's goals, and ever since moving to RB to make room for Austin Berry in the starting lineup, he has struggled to be honest.

The Rest

SuperDraft time, Valdes deal “verbally agreed,” more news

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The latest news before today's SuperDraft. Report says verbal agreement for Valdes loan to San Lorenzo reached. More news.

Yallop may still be looking to deal - discusses the trade, draft, and DP's

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Frank Yallop addressed the trade of Jalil Anibaba this afternoon via conference call with reporters and also discussed a variety of topics including depth on the back line, additional moves heading into the season, the club's cap/budget situation, the draft, and his philosophy on landing a designated player.

The Gargan Has Been Released; Bone Back?

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Gargan leaves the Fire and heads to a high scoring San Jose team for the 2013 season. I was a fan of Gargan, and I still think he should have been in at RB last year. This move seems to solidify the fact even more that Jalil Anibaba will continue to be played out of position at RB in 2013. While Gargan is not getting any younger, he still brings a lot of experience and toughness to a San Jose back line.

Cory Gibbs Retires

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It would seem that Cory's season ending injury that he suffered early last season was too much to come back from. I think we can all agree that Gibbs was a great teammate and a great leader. Unfortunately his career was cut short more prematurely than any of us would have liked, but Cory has a nice 12 year professional career to put to his name.

MLS Knockout Round: Galactic or White-Knuckled?

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Will DeMerit rise and shine tonight?

Well, TSG got it's predictions off to a booming start last night, huh?

Chicago v. Houston Review:

You can't put this entire game on Sean Johnson, can you? Well, not really. However, this one was really over in the first thirteen minutes.

XI Quarterly Launches with a Bang and a Party

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There has been a lot of talk recently about how Chicago doesn't get much respect from media outlets. The roots of this might deserve further treatment than what they will get here but take a look at MLS' top 10 soccer journalists as listed by MLSSoccer.com last August. Seattle, New York, and D.