Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Fire prep for '11 draft; team adds assistant

The Chicago Fire have plenty of work to do in molding the pieces for their 2011 squad, and one outlet is through this Thursday's MLS SuperDraft at the Baltimore Convention Center (11 a.m. CT start, televised on ESPN2).

"We've lost players in every line, so we need to address all three areas," Fire technical director Frank Klopas said. "Depending on who is selected before the ninth pick, that can dictate whether we'll pick in the front or the back. There are a lot of good players, and we've seen them play live, even before coming to the combine."

In this year's draft, the Fire have the ninth overall selection in the first round and also have three picks in the third round (45th, 49th and 51st overall). With a top-10 pick, the Fire should target the offensive side of the ball with their first selection. Brian McBride retired, the Fire parted ways with Collins John, and aside from McBride's meager six goals, not a single Chicago forward contributed more than three goals during the 2010 season.

Akron forward Darlington Nagbe is considered the top attacking option in this year's draft as he and Akron midfielder/defender Perry Kitchen are expected to be the two top selections. Indiana's Will Bruin also could be out of the Fire's reach. But there is a possibility that Omar Salgado (U.S. U-20s, pictured above), Corey Hertzog (Penn State) or Victor Estupinan (Liga de Quito) could be available for the Fire's taking.

• On Wednesday, the team named Leo Percovich as its new first assistant coach, taking over the position previously held by Naperville native and U.S. U-18 men's national team head coach Mike Matkovich.

For more about the Fire, visit's Fire blog.

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