Chicago Fire Technical Director Frank Klopas has been very busy making moves and Communications Manager Brendan Hannan has been very busy sending out press releases in the last 24 hours. The Chicago Fire have traded away forward and fan favorite Calen Carr, a 2012 Supplemental Draft selection, and exchanged an empty roster spot for a full one. In return, the team has added forward Dominic Oduro, defender Yamith Cuesta, and forward Gabriel Ferrari. A look at the value of the trades and how these moves will effect the team after the break.
Chicago Fire Trade Calen Carr to Houston Dynamo For Dominic Oduro
Calen Carr was one of the few remaining players from the 2006 US Open Cup Championship squad. Now only Logan Pause, Dasan Robinson, and Gonzalo Segares received playing time in that epic run and still wear Fire red. Carr will no doubt always be remembered for scoring 3 goals and adding 1 assist in the journey to trophy. Fire fans had high hopes for Carr but the 2006 Open Cup was essentially the peak of his Chicago Fire career. After that season, Brian McBride arrived and so did a string of injuries for Carr. Between McBride being a lock to start almost every game and Carr's inability to get on the field, he simply became a fan favorite rather than a regularly contributing member of the team.
The trade is somewhat surprising because Carr is currently injured as I type. Dynamo Theory is reporting that the trade has a stipulation where Houston will receive a conditional draft pick if Calen Carr is unable to recover from his concussion symptoms. That makes more sense on why Houston would choose to draw the trigger. It also makes sense in the light that Dominic Oduro is far from a fan favorite for the Dynamo and was booed as recently as this past weekend. Oduro does provide speed and at this point, the ability to take the field.
Chicago Fire Trade 2012 Supplemental Draft Pick For Yamith Cuesta
Fire selected Amani Walker, Yannick Salmon, and Sam Arthur in the 2011 Supplemental Draft and none of the three are currently playing with Chicago today. Some teams even pass on their Supplemental Draft picks as it goes on. The occasional gem or diamond in the rough can be found but the Fire basically lose out on a shot in the dark here. The most valuable part of this trade is losing an international roster spot by signing the Colombian. Only one international spot now remains. In return, Chicago acquires Cuesta who is already an experienced professional player at the age of 21. Coach Carlos de los Cobos said that Cuesta is a center back that can play right back if needed. The team needs that kind of depth.
Chicago Fire Sign Gabriel Ferrari
While it may not seem like Chicago gives up anything by signing Gabriel Ferrari, another open roster spot has been taken off the table and a guaranteed contract is now in place. MLS teams do not have to roll with 30 full roster spots, it's simply an open opportunity to sign that many players. There are 28 players under contract so two players could still be added during the season either through trades or signings that include academy players. Gabriel Ferrari provides the team with extra depth at forward. At 6'2, Ferrari will fight Orr Barouch for a role off the bench as a target forward. He doesn't take up an international roster spot being American but he does come with international background having played in Italy and Switzerland. Ferrari was projected to become a star at one point but the keys remain in the ignition.
Overall Team Outlook
I do not expect Dominic Oduro to be an immediate starter but he might poach some minutes from Patrick Nyarko, Davis Paul, Bratislav Ristic or Gonzalo Segares on the wing. Oduro cannot cut inside with the effectiveness of Nyarko but his aerial crosses are superior. Oduro is unlikely to be a permanent solution but for now he provides depth and flexibility. Nyarko is recovering from an injury, Ristic is injured, Paul has 0 MLS minutes to his name, and Segares might be better suited for a defensive role. It hurts to lose Carr but as Frank Klopas said yesterday after practice, sometimes situations come up and they make sense. You take advantage of situations that can help the team.
de los Cobos said that Cuesta was acquired to provide depth and I believe he was more referring to RB. If CDLC is married to the 3-5-2, it is awfully crowded at CB with the pecking order being something like Josip Mikulic, Kwame Watson-Siriboe, Cory Gibbs, Dasan Robinson. At RB the depth chart is Jalil Anibaba, Bratislav Ristic, Dasan Robinson, Mike Banner. In the pre-season game against Seattle, Carlos de los Cobos tried Logan Pause at RB no doubt to see if he could go in an emergency situation. That should tell you something. I fear that Dasan Robinson has been ruled to be ineffective in a three person back line as his playing time has dwindled to almost nothing even in pre-season. I think Cuesta fits 3-5-2 or 3-4-3 and provides the team with more future potential than his competition.
Last we have Gabriel Ferrari. In a 3-5-2, I think the current depth chart at forward is Diego Chaves, Gaston Puerari, Dominic Oduro, Gabriel Ferrari, Orr Barouch, Patrick Nyarko, and Davis Paul. I'm basing that on Oduro's MLS experience more than anything. Depending on the situation and how the players practice, Ferrari, Barouch, and even Nyarko and Paul could move up the chart. In a 3-4-3, I think Ferrari would have to play in the middle and for that he would be behind Chaves and possibly others depending on de los Cobos' preferences.
Frank Klopas and Carlos de los Cobos continue to go after players that fit into their system and the team got deeper across the field. In the excitement of opening weekend, don't forget that our US Open Cup game against the Colorado Rapids is in less than week on March 30th. While off for 10 ten days after Wednesday, the Fire face three games in 8 days between April 9-17. Players get fatigued and injuries happen. Chicago is more prepared for that today than they were yesterday and they didn't pay too much for the upgrade. So far, so good