1. The first bit is obviously the biggest. Although not yet made official by the Fire, many outlets are reporting the Fire have traded for Joel Lindpere. This is obviously a great move any way you look at it. I am sure those of you that have not heard this yet may be wondering about the cost, as I was. Well, as with the Flaco trade, it is low. The reported trade has Lindpere coming to the Windy City, with only an international slot heading to New York. An added benefit here is that Lindpere, hailing from Estonia, has a green card and does not take up an International Slot. When Guillermo Franco leaves (as expected and most likely soon), the Fire should still have one open slot left.
While there could always be other moves to open up slots, with 1 slot left I wouldn't expect to see multiple international signings. In fact, I think the odds are good that the current roster once Lindpere arrives will be almost identical to the opening day roster. I would still like to see another addition, but Lindpere coming here is a big get.
I have to give credit to Frank for pulling off a great transaction again. Considering we also got Flaco for next to nothing, that is 2 pretty high profile players in and not much out. You can't ask much more than that from your head coach/TD. Now, I have been pretty harsh on Flaco, but if he stays with us in 2013 and can pick it up, the value of Frank's moves will be fully fleshed out.
The debate making the rounds on Twitter right now is just how will Lindpere be used? He is a dynamic midfielder that can play defense and score. Do we slot him in CAM? What about in a 1 DM look given Pardo's age and Pause's limitations? This would free us up for the 2 striker look I have been clamoring for. However he is used, I am already thinking about Lindpere in Fire red. Although not yet official, welcome to Chicago Joel.
2. In another bit of news, the Fire have announced their pre-season schedule. Fire players will report to Toyota Park on Jan. 18th for 2 days of tests and medical exams. The team then will depart for Ave Maria, Florida on January 20th for 10 days. The Men in Red will play friendlies against Florida Gulf Coast University on Sunday, January 27th at 3PM CST. They will follow this up with a friendly against the Columbus Crew on Wednesday, January 30th at 10 AM CST in Bradenton, Florida.
The Fire then depart for Ventura, California from February 2-10. The Fire will play San Jose at some point, but time and date are yet to be determined.
Finally, the Fire close out the preseason in a familiar place. The team will be in Charleston, South Carolina from February 13-24 to take part yet again in the 2013 Carolina Challenge Cup. The Men in Red will face the Houston Dynamo, Charleston Battery, and Vancouver Whitecaps in this year's Challenge.
3. The last piece of news to report is a heart warming one. Chris Rolfe will take part in "Soccer Night In Newtown" next Monday. For those that may be unfamiliar with the event, over 30 current MLS players, including Rolfe, will be in Newtown to help the community heal and get a chance to meet some soccer heroes. Eric Wynalda, Alexi Lalas, Cobi Jones, and Mia Hamm will be some of the other celebrities in attendance.
We all know that Chris Rolfe is a stand up guy, and this just proves how much he cares and wants to give back. The community of Newtown has suffered a horrible tragedy, and it's great to see all the support being shown for the victims, families, and the town. Hopefully this special night can bring a lot of joy to those most in need of it right now. And it's great that Chris Rolfe will be a big part of that.