While many of us are freezing here in Chicago, the competition to make the 2013 Chicago Fire roster is heating up on the west coast.
The Men in Red are in Ventura, California for the second stage of training camp and while some players didn't make it out the first stage in Florida, the club has brought in some new players to challenge the first-teamers and attempt to fight their way on to the final roster.
Chicago-Fire.com editor Jeff Crandall released the names of the remaining trailists on Monday night, and the list isn't a total shocker, but there are some intriguing names.
First, the guys who didn't make it:
Rich Balchan - The former Columbus Crew defender was considered by many to be a decent bet to make the final roster, but instead he's headed home early. Oh well, maybe he can hang out with fellow former Crew teammate Robbie Rogers.
Caleb Konstanski - The former Indiana University captain's credentials apparently weren't enough as a defender for the defending NCAA champions was let go as well.
Eric Robertson - The Fire cut three defenders in total, as the trialist Robertson didn't make the cut either.
And now the guys made it from Florida to Cali:
Goalkeepers: James Belshaw, Alec Kann, Neil Kitson - Of this group, it would appear that the supplemental draft choice Belshaw has the best shot of making it, but you never know.
John Gallagher - The former Penn State defender was highly rated out of college. He'll get some more time to challenge for a roster spot as he avoided a pink slip this time.
Rauwshan MacKenzie - I would've been really surprised to see the former Chivas USA defender gone after Round 1. Now he's back in California for camp, and he'll get to face off with his former club tomorrow. Maybe he'll have a chip on his shoulder.
Yazid Atouba - The Fire's lone SuperDraft pick ain't gone yet - but the young midfielder will have to get better quickly, according to Fire head coach Frank Klopas.
And finally, the new guys:
Blake Brettschneider - AHHHHH!!!!! Why am I so excited about this? I have no idea. I think it's because I wanted the Men in Red to invite him to camp last year and they didn't. He could provide some very real striking depth, and I'm excited about his chances to make the team. We sure could use some strikers who score goals.
Dailos Tejara - an attacking player with experience in the Spanish second-division. Probably a long shot.
Kevin Mercado - an 18-year-old striker who plays in Ecuador. Probably just here to get a little bit of experience.
Jose Alexander Pabon - plays with Mercado as both play for LDU Quito. The midfielder is also probably here to provide a little bit depth and gain some experience for this camp. But you never know.
Trialists #3 and #4 - I already can't stand either of them. Who do they think they are, not releasing their names or positions? What a couple of jerks.
So that's it. What does everyone think about the players who made it to California? Who do you think has the best chance to make the final roster?