As the tempo of the pulse of the Major League Soccer world begins to lag into hibernation mode for the remainder of 2013, there is a collection of small news items that Fire fans might find of interest.
Freddie Braun wins the 2013 Fire Open Tryout
I'm not going to lie, but I normally don't
give a shit follow the Chicago Fire Open Tryouts. This year I happened to skim the article about the winner, Freddie Baum, and was a little surprised by his resume.
A four-year standout at the University of Louisville from 2006-09, Braun signed with the Portland Timbers on Feb. 17, 2011 and made his professional debut on May 3, 2011 in a 1-0 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
Over the course of two seasons, Braun made three MLS Regular Season appearances for the Timbers. On March 8, 2013, Braun joined USL PRO side Orlando City SC where he appeared in 20 games, tallying two goals and one assist, as Orlando City captured the 2013 USL PRO Championship.
That's not a bad resume. This guy might actually stand a chance at seeing some playing time this year if he shows well in the preseason.
MLSsoccer.com Mock Draft
MLSsoccer put up their most recent mock draft. With the SuperDraft still a long ways off, and the Player Combine yet to take place, this mock draft is a huge shot in the dark, but I like what the MLSsoccer folks projected. For this mock draft, they had the Chicago Fire selecting:
Grant Van De Casteele (D)
Van De Casteele's stock got a big bump in the NCAA Tournament as he anchored the Notre Dame backline to their first-ever College Cup title. He's an above-average reader of the game, and is quite good in the air. The Fire need depth in central defense, and this is how they'll get (some of) it.
Best MLS comparison: Aurelien Collin;
Yes, if the Fire were to select Grant in the first round, he would be the third centerback the team picked in the first round over the last four years. Thanks to how much I've followed Harrison Shipp as of late, I have seen a lot of Grant, and I like what he brings. I don't like the comparison to Aurelian, but I get what they mean. Grant is a very vocal defender and can be a fiery presence on the backline.
The one issue with this pick is that the Fire do have depth centerback. Austin Berry, Bakary Soumare, Hunter Jumper and Steven Kinney will all be back next year. Grant, however, might add quality to the depth and might even be able to move up to the first backup centerback on the depth chart.
Cow Town Making Moves
The Columbus Crew are wrapping up some loose ends before the holidays. Earlier today, the Crew announced that they have set up a USL Pro partnership with the Dayton Dutch Lions. Across the country, Crew fans rejoiced!
@SliceOfTony I love that everyone seems to hate this move.— Brandon Gee (@UTPbrandon) December 19, 2013
There could be a 7th partnership announced soon as the Portland Timbers are rumored to be in talks for a partnership with newly formed USL Pro team Sacramento Republic FC.
On top of the new partnership announcement, the Crew announced yesterday that they have re-signed Jairo Arrieta. So if Jairo falls out of form again this year, Columbus now has somewhere to ship him off to.
Bobby "Lightning" Boswell
The D.C. United Front Office has put together a short video of Bobby Boswell, one of their most recent acquisitions. The video is Bobby talking about his time as a contestant on the hit Nickelodeon TV show GUTS back in 1994.. For any of you out there who grew up in the early '90s, the video is a great little bit of nostalgia.
No News on Pause
The Fire still have yet to announce anything on Logan Pause. If something does happen, it will surely be listed on the handy 2014 Transaction Tracker that the Chicago-Fire.com website has set up.