Updated: Feb 12, 2022
It’s that time of the year again! We are less than one month away from the season opener for the Chicago Fire. Many fans have been left wanting more from the team, with just one playoff appearance in the past five seasons. However, there are many reasons for Fire fans to be hopeful for the future of the club.
Tickets for the Chicago Fire home opener in the CHIFOOTY section available on fevo.me/chifooty5
With the coach-talk out of the way, what players does coach Ezra have to work with this season? Well, the club parted ways with ten players after last season. Some of the notable players let go were Alvaro Medran, Luka Stojanović, and Robert Berić. Many homegrown players were added to the roster, however, it left many wondering if any quality signing would be added to the squad. The wait wasn’t long, as in January the Fire signed Rafael Czichos and Kacper Przybyłko. Rafael comes in from 1. FC Köln(Bundesliga) to reinforce the defensive line. The comparison that comes to mind with this signing, is when the Fire signed German International Arne Friedrich in the 2012 season. Czichos is coming into the club with a lot left in the tank, and I expect him to have an immediate impact. In the case of Kacper Przybyłko, it could be the striker the Fire desperately needed. He will not be someone who will break the goal record in the MLS, but he is someone who will score on a consistent basis and not disappear in crucial moments.
Those transfers however, did not match the excitement for what was to come in February. Rumors were circulating about Xherdan Shaqiri coming to the Chicago Fire. This seemed far fetched to many, as it had been a few years since we had signed someone of that level. The rumors began to grow stronger, as it began to circulate that Shaqiri asked Lyon to let him negotiate with Chicago. Truth is, Shaqiri never fully adapted in the French league. It looks like Lyon agreed and let him begin negotiations. On February 9 it became official and Shaqiri joined the Fire. Chicago is currently advertising Shaqiri to be ready for the home opener.
Going by each position on the roster, the one position that is in need of reinforcement is the wing. Stanislav Ivanov looks to be a lock for one of the wing positions, however the other wing is completely open. We do have homegrown player Brian Gutierrez to play in that spot, however he has shown to be better coming off the bench and is not ready to take that starting spot just yet. The rumor currently circulating is that the Fire is close to signing not only one, but two wingers. The first being Atlas winger Jairo Torres. The 21 year old if signed, would be either a Designated player or would fill a u-22 spot. This signing alone would give the Fire a strong lineup, obviously if no injury problems occur. The other player is a South American winger. Currently the name has not leaked out. The signing is said to be not done, but close.
Below I will attach what I believe will be the potential starting lineup come opening day, with one or two questions.