It’s that time of the year again when the Chicago Fire and every other Major League Soccer team is forced to assess who they value the most by releasing their MLS Expansion Draft protected lists. Supporters have been mulling over who they would protect and later today we’ll find who the club will protect from being selected by new MLS side Montreal Impact. For now, let’s take a look back at who the Chicago Fire selected in their Expansion Draft protected list last season and analyze who could make the cut this season:
What a difference a year makes. It’s incredible how much things have changed around Chicago since this time last year as three of the players who made the list last November are not even with the club anymore. After 73 appearances for the Men in Red, Wilman Conde moved on to Mexico to play with Club Atlas, while Calen Carr was traded to Houston for Dominic Oduro at the beginning of last season and Bratislav Ristic was released a few months later. Meanwhile, both Mike Banner and Steven Kinney failed to make an appearance for the Fire last season as both players continued their recoveries from serious injuries. Kwame Watson-Siriboe also failed to record any playing time with the club as he was sent on loan to Tampa Bay.
That leaves about five players who made a significant contribution to the Fire’s 2011 season. So… who do the Fire select this season? Here’s who I would protect:
Dominic Oduro – Team M.V.P. about says it all
Patrick Nyarko – Integral part of last year’s success in attack
Sebastian Grazzini – Huge contribution to the club in such little time.
Pavel Pardo – Helped anchor a midfield that desperately needed help.
Logan Pause – Despite a shaky start to 2011, the Fire’s captain was mainly reliable throughout the remainder of the season
Marco Pappa – Inconsistent through 2011, but simply too talented and too important to risk losing
Jalil Anibaba – Big things to come in the future from last year’s rookie.
Baggio Husidic – Underperformed in 2011, but here’s a midfielder who still has great potential and will be a big player for this club if given the chance.
Gonzalo Segares – the most consistent player for Chicago last season.
Cory Gibbs – Provides valuable experience for the Fire’s defense.
Orr Barouch – His potential is too great to risk losing.
Home grown/Generation Adidas players:
That leaves fourteen players unprotected:
It’s a tough decision leaving the likes of Paladini and Gargan out, but there are generally a few difficult decisions to be made with these lists every year. The Chicago Fire and the rest of the league will be announcing their protected lists at around 4pm CT today.
The Chicago Fire have released their list of protected players for this year’s MLS Expansion Draft. Sean Johnson, Pavel Pardo, Logan Pause, Marco Pappa, Sebastian Grazzini, Dominic Oduro, Cory Gibbs, Jalil Anibaba, Gonzalo Segares, Orr Barouch and Patrick Nyarko all make the list.