There's no immediate 'hook' to Cory Gibbs, the player chosen by the Chicago Fire with the 7th pick in Round 1 of Stage 2 of yesterday's MLS re-entry draft. He isn't a local guy. He's from Fort Lauderdale, FL and it's possible he has only been in town to play soccer games. At 31 years old, it's hard to get excited about his long-term prospects with the Fire. You have to wonder why the inferior New England Revolution gave up on Gibbs. You might have read from Sam Stejskal, Charlie Corr, and Guillermo Rivera that Gibbs is an injury risk. It's hard to get excited about his arrival but if you think that, you aren't looking at it the right way. Believe me, the excitement is there.
More after the break
Cory Gibbs adds veteran experience
This could be the only positive attribute to Mr. Gibbs and he would be a fine fit here. They say that when your life is coming to an end, your whole life flashes before you. Well if someone managed to capture the soccer experience of C.J. Brown, Brian McBride, John Thorrington, Wilman Conde, and Freddie Ljungberg and started flashing it before your eyes when the Fire season ended, you would still be watching. The difference between the amount of soccer knowledge on the 2010 roster versus the 2011 roster will be staggering. You can't buy that kind of veteran experience (unless you are the Los Angeles Galaxy although we still aren't sure how they will be paying for everyone). Cory Gibbs has played in four different national leagues and has international experience with the United States National Men's Team. In fact, his 19 caps make him the most internationally capped player on the team. With Dasan Robinson switching to an exclusive role at center back and Kwame Watson-Siriboe just beginning his playing career, Gibbs' experience and guidance will be vital. Just recently many Fire fans were treated to a lecture on Francis Okaroh and how C.J. Brown learned a lot just by playing with him. Perhaps one day we will look back and be telling newcomers in 10-12 years, 'Yeah, Kwame is great, but do you even remember who Cory Gibbs is?'. Gibbs has that kind of knowledge to share. He could have that kind of impact.
Cory Gibbs can have a stabilizing presence
In addition to the five veteran players mentioned above, let's not forget that Peter Lowry, Collins John and Krzysztof Krol combined for almost 3,500 minutes of playing time to boot. The 2011 Starting XI is going to be drastically different than any lineup we saw last year... even with the wide variety of lineups we saw last year. Cory Gibbs can immediately come in and provide some stability to a situation where the listed set of defenders include Steve Kinney, who will be out for the first couple of months, Dasan Robinson, who will be trying a new position, Kwame Watson-Siriboe, who will be trying out being a full season player, Gonzalo Segares, who will be trying out getting into 2009 form and Deris Umanzor who probably should be trying out for the reserve squad. Mike Banner and Bratislav Ristic will likely see time at LB/RB given our set of circumstances but that just adds more uncertainty to the mix. Ristic seemed like an answer to any question that was thrown at him last fall but just remember he needs to play a full MLS season before we can truly rely on him. Cory Gibbs comes into that mess as the CB. That's it. We know what he is. He's not going to play on the wings. He's not going to go to Europe or Mexico. For better or worse, he is a starting CB and he isn't going anywhere unless the team doesn't want him.
Cory Gibbs suggests there is more coming
Gibbs is not the answer. He is not a final piece to the puzzle. Obviously not because we only have 17 guys on the roster but Frank Klopas had the option to pick up Jeff Cunningham. I could be writing about Guillermo Barros Schelotto but I'm not. We desperately need a creative midfielder (or two) and a striker (or three) but by not selecting either of those two players who were available at the time we selected Gibbs, you can tell something big is in the works. For the critics that blame Klopas for getting Nery Castillo, any GM in the MLS would have taken that risk. If they wouldn't, they should be fired. For those of you who are worried that there are no rumors for players coming in, just remember that the Freddie Ljungberg trade came out of nowhere. For those of you who scoff at Klopas' most recent trip to Europe, just remember what Bratislav Ristic brought to the table this year. Gibbs may not be the flashiest guy but he is just what we need. Klopas is a master and the car is just getting started. Buckle up Fire fans, I have the feeling we are in for an exhilarating off-season.