The Fire’s 2017 roster took on a more complete look this afternoon, as #cf97 announced the signings of 2017 MLS SuperDraft selections Daniel Johnson and Stefan Cleveland. Both young men were selections out of the University of Louisville. Johnson, an attacking midfielder who primarily plays inverted on the left, was taken in the first round, 11th overall, and Cleveland was taken in the second round, twenty-sixth overall. Johnson was a member of the West Ham United Academy from 2009 to 2012. After his time in West London, Johnson played two seasons for the Cardinals, appearing in forty-one games, scoring seven goals, and adding five assists. Cleveland, a goalkeeper, spent his first three collegiate seasons at Dartmouth, appearing in thirty-three matches, earning 16 shutouts. After transferring to Louisville for has last season of eligibility, Cleveland appeared in twenty-two matches, earning 10 shutouts. Both players have signed deals through the end of the 2017 MLS season, with club options for each season through 2020.
Hot (Time) Take
The Fire have bolstered the fringes of their roster with these two moves. Cleveland is very likely the third goalkeeper on the roster, and will spend a good portion of the regular season on loan at new USL affiliate Tulsa Roughnecks. He will likely be recalled to Bridgeview if at any point during the season the Fire might need some depth beyond Jorge Bava and Matt Lampson at goalkeeper.
Johnson, on the other hand, should feature at some point during the regular season. A speedy left winger a la current incumbent David Accam, I would expect Johnson to provide Accam with relief in midweek games in between weekend matchups, or in interconference matchups when Accam is in need of a rest. If he is able to prove himself in those sorts of matchups, it could lead to an increase in his playing time, and make Accam expendable, as the front office already seems to be hesitant about his long-term prospects with the club.
After these moves, the Fire’s roster stands at twenty-four players, sorted as follows
Jorge Rodrigo Bava, Matt Lampson, Stefan Cleveland
Brandon Vincent, Johan Kappelhof, Michael Harrington, Jonathan Campbell, Patrick Doody, Joao Meira
Matt Polster, John Goossens, David Accam, Arturo Alvarez, Joey Calistri, Collin Fernandez, Drew Conner, Juninho, Dax McCarty, Djordje Mihailovic, Daniel Johnson
Michael de Leeuw, Luis Solignac, David Arshakyan, Nemanja Nikolic
How are you feeling, Fire fans? The Fire’s roster is starting to come together with just 6 weeks until the start of the season. Discuss in the comments below!