It’s that time of year again. The weather turns cold, mugs of hot cocoa are passed around, twinkling lights line the streets, and the Chicago Fire front office moves to foist the consequences for their own failures on the players.
Today begins Major League Soccer’s offseason calendar of events. At 12pm CT today, all teams who did not compete in the MLS Cup Playoffs were required to notify League HQ of which players they were exercising options for and which players had received bona fide offers. While most teams announced their option decisions earlier this afternoon, the Fire waited until just before the end of the business day to make their announcement. Because of course they did.
The roster had already thinned somewhat ahead of today’s deadline. Brandon Vincent announced he was retiring from the sport, as did Christian Dean. Noted homophobic slur enthusiast Alan Gordon also called it quits. And while there hasn’t been an official announcement yet, Matt Polster’s social media posts are strongly hinting at an exit.
Meanwhile, the club announced over the weekend that they had exercised their option on rookie Elliott Collier.
But today was the big drop. Let’s sift through the carnage.
The players who had their options picked up were: Brandt Bronico, Diego Campos, Stefan Cleveland, Jorge Corrales, Raheem Edwards, Nicolas Hasler, and, as mentioned earlier, Collier.
The players who had their options declined were: Jonathan Campbell, Drew Conner, Michael de Leeuw, Daniel Johnson, Patrick McLain, Yura Movsisyan and Luis Solignac. All these players are eligible for the MLS Re-Entry Draft except for Johnson, who has to go through the MLS Waiver Draft.
The players who are guaranteed through next season are: Mo Adams, Nicolas Del Grecco, Aleksandar Katai, Grant Lillard, Dax McCarty, Djordje Mihailovic, Nemanja Nikolic and Richard Sanchez.
Bastian Schweinsteiger and Johan Kappelhof are out of contract, as is Polster. The Fire noted that they are in negotiations with all three out of contract players. (In the case of Polster, this might just be to fulfill some requirement from the league, as Polster really does seem to want out.)
There are now 15 players on the Chicago Fire roster.
GK: Sanchez, Cleveland
DEF: Corrales, Del Grecco, Lillard
MID: Adams, Bronico, Campos, Edwards, Hasler, Katai, McCarty, Mihailovic
FWD: Collier, Nikolic
It’s entirely possible that the Fire plan to bring back a few players whose options were declined, and that this is leverage to get these players to take pay cuts. It’s hard to imagine several of these players wanting to come back, given how the club conducts business.
We’ll update you with any more roster moves as they’re announced.