The Chicago Fire have a very important two game stretch coming up over the next few days. On Saturday the Men in Red will take on defending MLS Cup champion Colorado Rapids and then will have a quick turnaround before their Tuesday tilt with the USL Pro side Richmond Kickers in a US Open Cup semifinal matchup. Both matches are very important to the team, and both will present their own unique set of challenges. It will be of the utmost importance for the Fire to come away from these two matches with victories. The Colorado match presents an opportunity to build on their win last weekend against Toronto FC and continue to make a push for the final playoff spot. A victory in the Richmond match will see the Fire through to the US Open Cup finals and put them one win away from a shot in the CONCACAF Champions League next season.
Here we go. The updated list of player salaries for 2011. According to Guaranteed Compensation, the top Fire players are: Cristian Nazarit ($302,500), Patrick Nyarko ($190,000), Logan Pause ($184,125), and Gonzalo Segares ($167,750). The complete list of Fire players is shown below, sorted by Guaranteed Compensation.
Cristian Nazarit is leading the Fire - by over $100,000 in salary??? I'm sorry, but that is simply unacceptable. I've read all over where people have said he will be a very good player in the future and etc., but right now he's too hesitant and doesn't hustle to the ball (last night was a prime example).
The next thing that stands out to me is the salary to Pavel Pardo. Given that he signed such a shortened contract, this amount seems like a lot - but definitely worth it.
Corben Bone is making more than Gibbs, Pappa, Johnson, Oduro and Grazzini? Anyone else see a problem with that? Barouch and Grazzini are grossly underpaid for what they bring to the team.
Other than that, I thought the list was interesting, and provides a lot of insight into the club. Enjoy.
On Saturday Chicago will face Colorado at home in a match that could either crush our playoff hopes or keep us alive for one more game. Let’s face it, we’re basically already out of the running this season with only 24 points in 25 games. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still a chance, but it will be a very hard fight. The way I see it, the Fire should take it easy against the Rapids on Saturday in order to play strong against a surprisingly tough Richmond Kickers side in Tuesday’s USOC Semifinal. Richmond have done amazingly well so far, beating KC (2-0) and Columbus (2-1) in the last two rounds and scoring 12 goals in only 4 games during USOC play. It’s obvious that Richmond are serious about winning. The Open Cup will be their biggest accomplishment this year, hell, this decade. The way the Fire season is going, the Open Cup will be our biggest accomplishment of the year as well. And damn it, the Kings of the Cup need to defend their crown. Five years is long enough. I just hope the fans can be patient through Saturday night if Frank Klopas does decide to rest some of our key players for the Semifinal on Tuesday.
If you haven’t seen it yet, check out this video of the Fire USOC goals.
We recently had the opportunity to ask former Fire defender Jared Montz some questions. The questions range from the current Fire roster to the USMNT to his soccer academy to the future of MLS. We hope you'll enjoy the interview as much as we did! Make sure to check out both of Jared's websites once you're done reading through the interview, they are both very good resources for young athletes.
Chicago Fire Earn Their Third Victory of the Season - Such a Bizarre Result That I Can't Think of a Catchy Title
Yes, that is correct. Chicago Fire won a match yesterday, the first since June 12 at Columbus, and their first at home since March 26. The 2-0 victory over Toronto FC gives Chicago the slightest glimmer of hope at maybe still making a run at the MLS playoffs. However, with only 9 matches remaining they have to start getting 3 points in almost all of their matches. Several things stood out to me last night, including the return of Cory Gibbs and the performances of several players.
Marco Pappa Pappa looked a lot better last night. He didn't try to do too much, and every time he took a shot he put it on the frame. This was a huge turnaround from Thursday's match where Pappa was trying to dribble through multiple defenders at times, and was taking very errant, ill-advised shots. I was very happy to see Pappa back to playing good, crisp soccer.
Gonzalo Segares I have been one of the largest Segares haters all season. However, in the last two matches he has looked pretty good. He made a lot of great hustle plays last night to beat TFC players to the ball, and made some great clearances that really helped stop a TFC attack. He didn't have any bad giveaways, and overall he has just looked like a much better player the last two days.
Dominc Oduro Dom was able to shake off the horrid performance from Thursday night by scoring early on in this one, hopefully lifting his confidence a little bit. As always, he had some incredible runs with the ball, just making defenders look foolish at times. We've said it before and I'm sure we'll say it again, but Dom just needs to bring some level of consistency to the park each and every day, and he could be a top striker in this league.
Sebastian Grazzini Nothing overly impressive from Grazzini last night. He had a few bad mental errors where he gave the ball up in the middle of the field, but he also didn't flop around too much. I didn't see him do his patented dive to the ground and then just sit there for 90 seconds while the other team is moving towards goal, so I was happy about that. He didn't look as sharp as he has, and a lot of that was probably just a lack of fitness and energy after a match Thursday, and going 89 minutes last night.
Cory Gibbs It was great to see Cory out there again, he really does make a difference across that back line. Very glad that he's healthy, and that he is playing as well as he has been. Having a defender who also has the ability to position himself to score on set pieces is especially valuable.
Dan Gargan Newcomer Dan Gargan got his first Fire goal last night, and it probably couldn't have felt any sweeter. Scoring against the team that traded him just about three weeks ago, Gargan looked absolutely ecstatic. It was a great goal, and I couldn't have been happier for the guy.
What's next? With nine matches remaining, we trail RBNY by 8 points for the final playoff spot. RBNY has played one more match than Chicago, so there is some good news there. Ending the season with matches against DC and Columbus could prove to be crucial to playoff position and qualification, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. The club has one for the first time in over two months, but now they need to win again, and again. They need to put a couple together in a row here so they can move quickly up the table and try to put pressure on the teams in that 9 or 10 spot.
If this club can string together a few victories, we could be in for an exciting couple of months. Let's hope that this team has finally found the will and strength that it takes to win.