Thanks to Chicago Fire Confidential’s Guillermo Rivera and his fantastic Twitter feed, Fire fandom has almost immediate access to a transcript of what went on in this afternoon’s media conference call with Fire General Manager Nelson Rodriguez. You can look through Guillermo’s Twitter feed and get an idea of what Nelson brought up, but here are some of the big talking points:
- Nelson began by saying that no signings are imminent, and later went on to elaborate by saying that the draft will come before the next player signing.
- Nelson said that “the draft has various players that are interesting,” and that while “they are considering trades,” the Fire is leaning towards using both the third and eleventh picks.
- He did, however, say that the Fire is in contact with “three international players,” and that the Fire is “balancing multiple options.”
- Nelson also added that the possibility of the Fire acquiring more international slots did exist, and that there was no concern in using an international slot on newly signed goalkeeper Jorge Rodrigo Bava.
- With regard to Bava in particular, Nelson acknowledged that while “there is some risk” involved with his addition, signing Bava came after an “extensive goalkeeper search.”
- Sam Stejskal tweeted during the conference call that Nelson “expects Matt Lampson and Jorge Bava to compete for the starting goalkeeper job.”
- With further regard to players already under contract, Nelson said that “Juninho and Nikolic add a great layer of leadership to the locker room.”
- When speaking about the overall construction of the roster, Nelson said that “the goal is to have as close a a complete team as possible for the start of the season, not necessarily for the start of camp.”
Hot (Time) Take
There’s a lot to digest here, but I think the overarching point of the whole call is that the Fire isn’t done wheeling and dealing before the start of the season, as evidenced by the fact that there are only 20 players under contract as of writing. Having said that, I think the opening day starting 11 is already in the building, along with most of the bench. It’s obvious that we are looking to acquire more warm bodies for the bench both for rotation and supplementing the current roster with guys who are better equipped for different tactical profiles. Nelson and Pauno are obviously looking to add more, and they are looking to do their due diligence and wait on the guys they truly want, much like we saw around this time last season. It’s a shame we won’t be getting any of the guys eligible for homegrown deals immediately, but in the long run, this could be better for the Fire in the long term. Stay tuned for more as the Fire’s roster develops this Friday, and in the weeks leading up to preseason. Nelson and Pauno clearly are not done yet.