During the Section 8 Chicago/ISA's Annual General meeting this past weekend Fire brass updated supporters on a variety of topics during a Q&A session. Here's a quick rundown of the highlights for those that were not in attendance:
Frank Yallop, Brian Bliss, Atul Khosla, and Logan Pause all participated in the Q&A session.
The Fire lost their shut out streak but still managed to stay undefeated this preseason by defeating the Colorado Rapids 2-1 in Tucson, Arizona. Frank Yallop said he would play trialists and young players in this match and the "B" squad impressed yet again. A midfield featuring Logan Pause in the holding role with Victor Pineda, Harry Shipp, Benji Joya, and Grant Ward ahead of him had the better of the play against a combination of Rapids reserves and starters.
As expected, the Fire announced today that Chris Rolfe has agreed to a restructured deal with the club. As usual terms were not disclosed but it's apparent that Rolfe accepted a lower salary while gaining a longer term contract. Logan Pause is also expected to officially re-sign with the team in the near future.
Ahead of Thursday's first round of the annual Re-Entry Draft the Fire have announced that 10 player options have been exercised and another 8 have been declined. The players who may be on the move include Mike Videira, Corben Bone, Joel Lindpere, Daniel Paladini, Logan Pause, Kellen Gulley, Chris Rolfe, and Maicon Santos although Frank Yallop has left the door open for some to return.
With today's deadline for clubs to notify MLS if player options are being renewed for 2014 it's possible that captain Logan Pause may have played his last game for the Fire. Frank Yallop declined the 2014 option on the veteran midfielder thereby making him eligible for December's Re-Entry draft. Yallop told MLSsoccer.
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After defeating the New York Red Bulls last weekend, April is already turning out to be a better month for the Chicago Fire than March. The Fire played their best game of this young MLS season and were able to triple their goal output for the season by winning against New York 3-1. Logan Pause came back from injury to anchor the midfield and Joel Lindpere played his best game as a Fire player after being slotted on the wing in place of Dilly Duka who was still out due to injury.
Your weekly gut check on the state of the Fire from OTF's writers and contributors...
Chicago Fire earned its first win this season with three goals against a lackluster RBNY side last Sunday. Beginning this Sunday however, they must face three of the top four Eastern Conference teams (Houston, Columbus, Montreal) in a thirteen day span.
We should expect to see an identical lineup to last week. If Logan Pause was healthy, then we could see a wrinkle or two, but I see Frank sticking to his guns tonight. Personally, I would rather see Kinney shift to RB if he has to play, with Anibaba in the middle with Berry. Honestly, the best bet might be to deploy someone like Mike Videira at RB, but I don't see that happening.
The Fire Reserves played their first match of the season yesterday. A 2-1 win over the New York Red Bulls featured a mix of bench players and Fire Academy products. Giuseppe Gentile scored a brace to provide the difference. Victor Pineda played ninety minutes and his brother Mauricio also got into the match.
Fire starting line up GK Kann D Ward, Alves, Kinney, Jumper M King, Ritter, Shipp, Pineda F Dantes, Gentile Players Available:Signed Players Goalkeepers (3): Sean Johnson*, Alec Kann, Kyle Reynish Defenders (8): Austin Berry, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Patrick Ianni, Hunter Jumper, Steven Kinney, Lovel Palmer, Gonzalo Segares, Bakary Soumare Midfielders (10): Yazid Atouba, Dilly Duka, Brendan King, Jeff Larentowicz, Alex, Patrick Nyarko, Logan Pause, Victor Pineda, Chris Ritter, Harry Shipp Forwards (6): Quincy Amarikwa, Juan Luis Anangono, Giuseppe Gentile, Kellen Gulley, Mike Magee* Chris Rolfe *-- Denotes a player currently not in camp because of U.
The Fire Reserves defeated the Columbus Crew 5-3 to improve their Reserve League record to 2-5-0. The match featured a switch to a 4-3-3 formation and the first appearance in game action for trialing center backs Yamith Cuesta and Elias Vasquez. The starting line-up also saw a return to the pitch for team captain Logan Pause.
The Fire seem to have stumbled onto an epidemic of injuries at the right back spot but may get some help this weekend if team captain Logan Pause is able to return to the line-up. Pause returned to training last week but the club felt it was too early in his recovery to insert him into competition against Sporting Kansas City.
The Fire are looking to register their elusive first goal and points of the 2013 campaign when they take on Sporting Kansas City in a Saturday matinee match on NBC Sports. The club's slow start has left fans disappointed and wondering where the spark is that helped them qualify for the 2012 playoffs while establishing a franchise record of 17 wins in a season.
It didn't take much thought for Logan Pause to answer a question about whether he preferred the front office or the field."Yes. Absolutely," said Pause of his preference for the bench following training earlier this week. Pause is the last link remaining on the first team to the club's most recent successes but he did have a transition to make after his retirement as a player.
Veljko Paunovic's assistant coaches will include Logan Pause and two members of his staff while with the Serbian U20 program. Marko Mitrovic and goalkeeper's coach Aleksandar Saric round out the match day technical staff. Jordan Webb has been named as the new strength and conditioning coach. Mitrovic's 14 year career as a midfielder in Serbia, Hungary, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan was followed by an assistant's position in the Serbian first division with FK Banat.
Does Fire GM Nelson Rodriguez's upcoming coaching decision dwarf the rest on the organization's needs?
New Chicago Fire General Manager Nelson Rodriguez speaks to the press for the first time officially thisSunday. Media speculatesthat a great deal of this conversation revolves around choosing a coach for the 2015 season.
The Fire were able to win their last match of the 2014 season and send Logan Pause into retirement with a victory. Florent Sinama-Pongolle's 91st minute goal provided the difference in what was only the Fire's fourth home victory this year. The result of a match between two clubs eliminated from playoff competition was inconsequential as it relates to the standings but it did provide a bright spot in an otherwise dismal season.
It's not often that professional soccer players can say they have spent their entire careers wearing the colors of just one club. The Fire drafted Logan Pause with 24th overall pick in the 2013 MLS Superdraft and 11 years later he's retiring from the only team he's ever played for as a pro. In his rookie season he made 21 appearances on a team that won the Supporter's Shield and the US Open Cup while learning from the likes of Chris Armas and Jesse Marsch.