Top of the story of the day comes from Orrin Schwarz at the Daily Herald:
The Chicago Fire has filed a discovery claim with MLS on a 19-year-old Ecuadorian midfielder the club found on a scouting trip to Argentina.
According to Andell Holdings' Javier Leon, the player is a two-way midfielder who can play the middle or right side and is "very dynamic, like Patrick Nyarko."
Exciting news in the first off-season since Major League Soccer unveiled new rules for signing designated players that are under 23 years old. Should this player warrant such a contract, he would be a budget charge of just $150,000 instead of the usual $335,000. This news comes on the heels of the Portland Timbers gearing up to announce their own 19 year-old designated player, José Adolfo Valencia. The 'discovery claim' and the '19 year-old' sound some alarm bells but it's also important to know that Fire discovery players that were on the team last year included Diego Chaves, Sebastian Grazzini, Marko Maric, Josip Mikulic, Cristian Nazarit, and Daniel Paladini. That's a wide range of talent right there. Early speculation on the player is Juan Cazares with the hat tip going to Big Soccer.
From a front office standpoint, this is very positive. Javier Leon is quite vocal at the annual media dinner but we don't get a lot of quotes from him throughout the season. MLS and the Fire have been quiet about these discovery claims in the past. Major props to Orrin on getting the scoop and props to Javier for putting this out there.
More of the hat trick and the question of the day after the break.
Nicolas Anelka's request for a transfer has been accepted by Chelsea and he'll be eligible to leave in January. Que the Anelka-to-MLS rumors... or should I say rumours? Montreal could make quite a splash by acquiring the Frenchman. I don't know if Anelka wants to be on what is shaping up to be one of the worst teams in MLS history but the French aspect could reign supreme.
I laid out my initial qualms with NBC's hiring of Arlo White but I've slightly warmed up after reading this three-part interview White did with Jeremiah Oshan earlier in the week (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3). The first time he ever came to the United States was when he was 13 and his family visited Chicago. He spent two weeks here and went to various sporting events. He says he has a fondness for the Bears. Arlo, you just might work out after all...
Question of the Day: Are you happy the Chicago Bulls are back?
The NBA lockout is over. I didn't think it would last forever but it was nice being the temporary '5th team' in town so to speak. The Fire are at such a disadvantage having to go up against the Bulls, Blackhawks, and Bears in the winter and the Cubs and White Sox in the summer. If one of those teams went away, the Fire by default would get more coverage. That said, I love the fact that one of the superstars in the NBA is from Chicago and that Chicago superstar is on the Bulls. I'm looking forward to the NBA starting again but some Fire fans could care less about the league. What about yourself? Are you happy the Chicago Bulls are back?