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.
Please welcome OTF's new contributing writer Daniel Casey as he breaks down Chicago's Saturday night 3-2 win over Houston in game one of the Carolina Challenge Cup preseason tournament
It's been a positive preseason thus far for the Chicago Fire. New signings have begun to blend into the squad quite well and several newcomers look like they've certainly earned a spot for themselves come the regular season.
Before we get to the action, I want to give a hearty thanks to Brendan Hannan and Jeff Crandall and the rest of the team for their hard work in getting us live streams of these pre-season matches. They are certainly going above and beyond for the fans, and for that they deserve many kudos.
On Thursday, Major League Soccer announced the finalists and the schedule for their 2012 awards. New York's Thierry Henry, San Jose's Chris Wondolowski, and Kansas City's Graham Zusi are up for the Most Valuable Player. Rookie of the Year Finalists Austin Berry (Chicago Fire) Nick DeLeon (D.C. United) Darren Mattocks (Vancouver Whitecaps FC) Xbox Individual Fair Play Finalists* Ante Jazic (Chivas USA) Logan Pause (Chicago Fire) Heath Pearce (New York Red Bulls) *Selected by MLS.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Stage 2 of the Re-entry Draft takes place today. Santa Fe prez says club negotiating to keep Carlos Valdes. Union 5th most searched soccer team on Google in US. Locals honored with NSCAA COY awards. DC lands Eddie Johnson. More.
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.
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.
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.
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.
After looking pretty decent in their 2-0 win over FGCU the other day, the Fire struggled a bit more today, mostly in a fairly punch-less 1st half. In the Fire's defense, they were playing into a very stiff wind, which played some crazy tricks with the ball. It's pretty hard for any team to be as accurate with passes, crosses, and long balls when kicking into a gale.
Chicago's Austin Berry is Major League Soccer's Rookie of the Year, MLS announced on Monday. Berry led across all of the voting blocks, receiving over half the votes in the club and media sections and over 30% of the player votes. Also announced on Monday, Berry's teammate Logan Pause is the 2012 Individual Fair Play winner and the New England Revolution won the team Fair Play award.