MLSsoccer.com's Simon Borg was in South Carolina covering the Carolina Challenge Cup last week, and, on Monday, he wrote up an interesting story about the Fire and their starters. Apparently no player's starting job is safe. Here is a quote from Chris Rolfe taken from the article:
"I think that as of right now that's probably the best thing that we have," Rolfe said. "The best addition to our team right now is the fact that we have competition in different spots and it's true competition. We've got good players that we're all battling for a spot. I don't feel secure. I don't think Mac feels secure."
I have to agree with Rolfe. This is a good thing. As Tweed pointed out earlier this off season, head coach Frank Klopas did not make full use of the entire squad in the 2012 season. A lot of that can be blamed on the lack of depth on the squad last season. As Jeff Crandall illustrated in his breakdown of the central midfield, this upcoming year's squad is going to be deeper and more competitive. Starting minutes could be hard to come by, and spots in the starting XI can't be taken for granted. After reading Borg's article, it sounds like the players realize this.
Here is a Frank Klopas quote from Borg's article:
"The field is going to decide who starts and who plays," continued Klopas. "The depth is good, the competition is very good. And there are different characteristics of players that depending on what we need, we can bring guys in who make a difference like [Santos] did."
Frank doesn't seem like one to "blow smoke", so it might be safe to assume that Fire fans (and Major League Soccer) might see a lot of different looks this season from Klopas' squad.
3rd Jersey Progress?
Section 8 has been pushing for it. Ryan Sealock over here at HTIOT has written about it. Daniel Casey over at On The Fire has written about it. Yesterday, the Chicago-Fire.com website addressed it in their Always On The Inside blog by interviewing Atul Khosla, the Fire's Chief Operating Officer. It's a short, interesting interview which culminates to the below quote:
AOTI: With that said, are you saying that Fire doesn't need a third kit?
AK: No. What I am saying is that the primary reason for creating a third kit would be to engage our fans in a unique way. Also, we need to take into account the practical considerations of the true demand for this product so we can meet the minimum requirements from adidas before we place the order. Since we just released new kits last year, we wanted to focus on our new designs and pace things appropriately to avoid flooding the market.
That last sentence makes a lot of sense business-wise. So I guess we can expect a flag jersey in 2014?
And speaking of flag jerseys - the Colorado Rapids got themselves a flag jersey today. Overall, I don't think it's bad looking. I like the subtle way they put the Colorado flag on it. Not sure how I feel about the monochrome crest on it.
Only a few more days until the season kicks off. Can't Wait!