Chicago Fire 2012 Roster Projection

Jalil Anibaba - a key part of the 2012 roster decisions

The Chicago Fire declined to participate in yesterday's weighted lottery for Lee Nguyen. Of the six teams that did enter, the Vancouver Whitecaps ended up as the lucky winners. Vancouver will be getting somewhat of an unknown product but Nguyen did dominate when he played in the V-League and he'll always have some USMNT call-ups in 2007 to his name. Nguyen's salary is reportedly 'a bargain' so my estimate is he is making around $70,000. That's the same as Daniel Paladini and right around other MLS veterans like Jay Nolly and Dan Gargan. The salary itself is not that big of a deal and on the face of things it seems like the Fire passed up the opportunity to add a low-cost, low-risk domestic player. The only penalty or downside for winning the Nguyen lottery is not being able to enter another weighted lottery in 2012. There aren't that many weighted lotteries in MLS so what's the big deal? Well, let's take a look at the roster breakdown after the break.

In MLS there is the Senior Roster and then there's the Supplemental Roster. Senior has 20 spots. Supplemental has 10. Neither roster has to be completely full but there are minor costs involved in not filling it. The Fire typically have used the full roster spots while teams like Peter Nowak's Philadelphia Union have flirted with lighter total rosters of 23 or 24 players. I expect Fire head coach/technical director Klopas to roll with a full house in 2012 and things are already getting pretty packed around here. Based on the fact that once you land on the Senior Roster you are always Senior Roster, here's what the Chicago Fire are looking at right now.


Roster
Slot

Team

Player

Position

Base Salary

Guaranteed
Comp

Roster Type

Age

1 CHI Banner Michael D $42,000 $42,000 Domestic 27
2 CHI Chaves Diego F $45,000 $45,000 International 25
3 CHI Cuesta Yamith D $72,000 $82,000 International 22
4 CHI Gargan Dan D $70,000 $70,000 Domestic 29
5 CHI Gibbs Cory D $150,000 $150,000 Domestic 31
6 CHI Grazzini Sebastian F $100,000 $100,000 International 30
7 CHI Mikulic Josip D $110,000 $116,250 International 25
8 CHI Nolly, Jay GK $65,000 $65,000 Domestic 30
9 CHI Nyarko Patrick F $110,000 $190,000 Domestic 25
10 CHI Oduro Dominic F $95,004 $97,004 Domestic 26
11 CHI Paladini Daniel M $75,000 $79,478 Domestic 27
12 CHI Pappa Marco M $120,000 $125,000 International 23
13 CHI Pardo Pavel M $129,996 $159,996 International 35
14 CHI Pause Logan M $176,000 $184,125 Domestic 29
15 CHI Segares Gonzalo D $160,000 $167,750 Domestic 29
16 CHI Videira Michael M $42,000 $42,625 Domestic 25
17 CHI Watson-Siriboe, Kwame D $44,000 $44,000 Domestic 25
18 CHI





19 CHI





20 CHI





Three spots. That's it. Now, Diego Chaves is a prime candidate for departure. A couple of these players might get cut before opening day but another pending issue is the potential graduation of some Fire players from the Supplemental Roster to the Senior Roster.

1 CHI Anibaba Jalil D $42,000 $82,000 Domestic 23
2 CHI Barouch Orr F $32,600 $32,600 Reserve/Domestic 20
3 CHI Johnson Sean GK $75,000 $108,000 Domestic 22

Starting in reverse we have Sean Johnson. Johnson automatically qualified for the Supplemental Roster in 2011 because he had the Generation adidas tag. Now that he has graduated from the Generation adidas program, his salary should almost certainly push him onto the Senior Roster.

Next there's Orr Barouch. Barouch's age makes him a prime candidate to stay on the Supplemental Roster but the Fire just purchased his rights from the Mexican club Tigres UANL. Terms of the deal were not disclosed so we don't know what Barouch's new contract is like.

Jalil Anibaba's age keeps him eligible for the Supplemental Roster but his Guaranteed Compensation figure is fairly high. Combine that with some heavy minutes in 2011 and the league or team might want to put him on the Senior Roster.

The team's wishes are another factor to consider when trying to put everything together. From a fan perspective it makes the most sense to keep Johnson, Barouch, and Anibaba on the Supplemental Roster and save the Senior Roster spots for players that are ready to make an impact right now. From a long-term approach, it might make more sense to promote all three of the aforementioned, make some strategic selections with the No. 9, No. 23, and No. 28 picks in the upcoming MLS Draft, and then sign a Homegrown player or two. The Supplemental Roster isn't exactly empty for those draft picks to enter.


Roster
Slot
Team Player Position Base Salary Guaranteed
Comp

Roster Type

Age

21 CHI Anibaba Jalil D $42,000 $82,000 Domestic 23
22 CHI Barouch Orr F $32,600 $32,600 Reserve/Domestic 20
23 CHI Bone Corben M $90,000 $151,200 Generation adidas /Domestic 23
24 CHI Gulley Kellen F $48,000 $62,000 Home Grown/Domestic 17
25 CHI Johnson Sean GK $75,000 $108,000 Domestic 22
26 CHI Kinney Steven D $42,000 $42,000 Domestic 23
27 CHI Pantazopoulos Pari D $42,000 $42,000 Reserve/Domestic 23
28 CHI Pineda Victor M $42,000 $48,742 Home Grown/Domestic 18
29 CHI
30 CHI

On the off-chance that every Supplemental Roster player stays Supplemental, that leaves the team with 2 empty slots for 3 pretty good draft picks. The Fire were able to grab Peter Lowry at No. 26 in 2008, Baggio Husidic at No. 20 in 2009, and the trio of Kwame Watson-Siriboe at No. 26, Steven Kinney at No. 45, Sean Johnson at No. 51 in 2010. That's a pretty good track record to suggest Frank Klopas and company will be bringing home some great talent on January 12, 2012. I think all three picks will earn a roster spot for 2012.

We are still waiting on the front office to come to an agreement with Re-Entry Draft selection Kheli Dube. I'd say the Fire hold most of the cards in that negotiation. The two sides have until this Monday to ink a deal. Pavel Pardo still needs to be re-signed but that appears to be a formality at the moment. Most of the players who got major minutes in 2012 will be back. There are a couple of holes to fill and we've got some international slots and draft picks at our disposal. Push is going to come to shove and I suspect a couple of players that didn't get a lot of playing time in 2011 will be cut instead of the technical staff sitting on its hands in the transfer window.

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