Last night was C.J. Brown's retirement party at The Pitch. Guillermo Rivera has a quick blurb about it here, which also links to photos of the event on the Fire Facebook page. It looks like there was a fantastic turnout to honor the Fire original. Definitely a great way to finish out C.J.'s career. Follow me after the break for some other thoughts...
Guillermo Rivera reports some interesting news in his Fire confidential blog, specifically involving Krzysztof Krol. Although nothing official has been announced by the Fire, it would seem his days as a Fire player are over. It's odd to me that his wife would be the one to break news like that. I am guessing it was a slip up, but once it's out, there's no going back. I thought Krol was a solid player, and I think he has a bit of upside in him too. We will have to see what the offseason brings for replacement options.
Wilman Conde and Freddie Ljungberg were in attendance at C.J.'s party. This gives me a bit of hope that both will be back. While it is possible they are staying in Chicago for the winter, the fact that they are still here and involved in team events is a good sign that they will be back next year. That would certianly be uplifting news. In fact, Conde has been practicing at Toyota Park, another good sign that he is around to stay. The rumors about him moving along have seemed to die down recently so hopefully no news is truly good news.
I think both Freddie and Wilman will be a big part of gauging our success next year. Even though Wilman had what could be considered a down year, he was phenomenal the year before, and I would like to see him get the chance to bounce back next year. With the uncertainty in areas along our defense, it would be great to have him back as he has great skill and already knows the system we have under CDLC. Additionally, he has experience playing with the defenders that will be back, so that cohesiveness they were able to build last year should be a big plus.
As for Freddie, I am sure every Fire fan could see what he brought to the team. While I think we will have a good draft and aggressively pursue some players to bring in, I view Freddie as a lynch pin. His form was very good and seemed to get better throughout the year. I can just imagine what it would be like to have him in Fire red for a full season. We have a guy that can control the ball well, can distribute well, can attack and score and wreak havoc on opposing defenses, and has fire (pun intended) and passion to do whatever it takes to win. Making sure he stays HAS to be a top priority this off season.