I have been meaning to give Guillermo Rivera a thank you for linking my blog on of one its very first days and now I have the perfect opportunity. He always provides the latest information on player updates, who is injured, who is traveling with the team and he asks good questions in his articles over at Chicago Fire Confidential. Today is no different as we find out that Nery Castillo once again will enjoy his Wednesday in our fair city, not San Jose. Are we taking safety precautions on a $1.7M investment because we are out of the playoffs? I don't know but it's getting rather annoying. I guess I would rather see what some of the new kids have to offer but it's not exactly like Castillo is old hat with the organization... The player I am most hopeful to see take the field today is Corben Bone.
More on him after the jump.
Some of you may have forgotten Corben is with the team. Depending on when you became a Fire fan, you may have not even heard of him. Carlos de los Cobos threw him on the field late in the Philadelphia Union game in Philly and in the Real Salt Lake game in Chicago, so a 50th minute substitution in the away game against Toronto FC has been his only extended MLS experience. None of those were good times to judge him. 5-7 minutes when your team is down 1-0 is not an ideal situation for scouting and the Toronto game took place in some kind of winter typhoon.
We can evaluate him from practices and international games though. He received some full starts in the Sister Cities International Cup and the SuperLiga 2010. He has speed for sure, looks like he has some good passing skills, and provides decent defense. Right now he strikes me as a very poor man's Freddie Ljungberg in the way he covers a large area of the field and moves the ball to his teammates well. Freddie Ljungberg should be his role model, not even necessarily for his offense or defense but his attitude.
Prior to Freddie Ljungberg's arrival, no one on this team wanted to challenge the opposition. To call the 2010 Chicago Fire a 'soft' squad would be an understatement. If a team is going to get three points from anything 'Chicago', it should at least hurt after the fact or have the teammates looking at each other and thinking "What was that?!". Currently I imagine they walk out of Toyota Park and say "That was like a slice of delicious Chicago deep dish pizza. Mmm mmm mmm good!". Obligatory soccer DISGRACE.
Ljungberg has at least helped. The tenacious Swede is the master of the nudge that flips someone over the video board, the tactical foul that slows the other team's offense, and providing those little nicks to the other team that add up over the season and keep a team in check. I've noticed other players display a flash of this since Freddie arrived and we need that energy on this team. Any great Bears team has had the same mentality since 1919. Chicago itself has got by on a largely defensive approach to things with the occasional offensive brilliance... was Freddie really born in Vittsjö?
The problem is that as perfect as Freddie might be for the team and this city, he has options to go elsewhere in 2011. I'd love for the Fire to sign him but he may be too expensive for someone who doesn't provide that many goals. Most importantly, I think Corben Bone could replace him. Corben, on the significantly off chance you read this or hear about it, I have an open request for you. Be that menace in the middle that Freddie has been. Please start tonight, it sounds like Carlos de los Cobos wants to at least play you. Provide that and I will be your biggest champion. All Fire players must start doing this but if Bone does it first, it may be a move that saves us a significant amount of money while restoring some Fire honor to the field.