The Chicago Fire are back at work. After spending most of last week easing back into a training routine at the Toyota Park Dome in Bridgeview, the team flew to Florida to continue their preparations and get ready for their first preseason friendly. With that first scrimmage happening tomorrow against the University of South Florida, let’s take a look at how things are going so far.
As usual, the Fire have taken on some unsigned trialists during preseason training. Arturo Alvarez and John Goossens were trialists two years ago before signing for the club and become key parts of the team, so there’s a definite path into the first team for those who impress. Chicago has welcomed 3 players to preseason camp: Sam Howard, Maxi Moreira, and Joshua Gatt. The first two are relatively unknowns with low expectations. Howard is a goalkeeper who played college ball at Howard University, while Moreira is a 23 year old defender from Uruguay. The most well-known trialist is definitely Joshua Gatt, who did not have his option picked up by the Colorado Rapids, making him a free agent. Gatt’s career is as interesting as it is depressing. The winger chose Europe over college, and made quite the start to life at Molde FK in Norway. However, injuries derailed his time there, and he missed almost three years of action. He went back home to MLS, signing with Minnesota United before being traded to Colorado, where he had a underwhelming season. Now he hopes to revitalize his career with the Fire, who hope the former US international can rediscover his old form.
The Fire’s academy system is also a point of pride. This year sees two promising youngsters from the academy join the team in Florida. One of these talents is 14-year-old Javier Casas, a midfielder who has previously featured for the United States U-14 team. The other is 17-year-old Gilberto Angeles, who is left-footed and plays as an attacking midfielder. With the Cam Lindley fiasco still fresh in the minds of the fans, the Fire front office will hope to prove that they can raise homegrown talents from the youth academy up to the first team.
USMNT January camp call-ups Matt Polster and Brandon Vincent re-joined the team in Florida on Tuesday afternoon. Polster got the start against Bosnia at right back, going the full 90 minutes while picking up a bloody nose. Vincent did not feature, but many still expect the Stanford defender to feature for the national team in years to come. Thankfully, neither picked up any injuries while on international duty, and both should be ready to kick on with the Fire