NOTEBOOK: Charleston trip means roster decisions coming for Klopas

Roster close to being finalized as team heads into Carolina Challenge Cup

Just 17 days away from the team’s opening match at the LA Galaxy, Fire head coach Frank Klopas isn’t far from having his roster finalized.

“I think we’re pretty close to that,” he said on Thursday’s weekly conference call. “I think we have a couple spots open and we’re going to look to add another player but the rest of the group, I think with some of the guys that are here, they’re contending to be on our team.

“Maybe there are one or two guys we’re going to be looking at in the next week to make a decision on but I think with the group we have here, it’s as close to the group we want to have.”

READ: Chimbonda hoping to earn Fire spot

One player not in Fire camp that Klopas mentioned as a possibility was forward Quincy Amarikwa who appeared as a guest player and drew what would be the game-winning penalty kick in last Saturday’s 1-0 win over San Jose.

With his MLS rights currently owned by Toronto FC, Klopas indicated that he and his staff were in discussions to bring the MLS veteran attacker to the Fire.

“I think we’re looking and trying to sort it out,” he said. “We liked when he was in with us and what he brings. We’re going to look at his situation and if it makes sense to get him in here we will.”

Another position he was specific on was that of the third goalkeeper spot. Earlier this week I wrote about the battle for the position between Supplemental Draft pick James Belshaw and trialist Alec Kann, both aged 22.

“We have supplemental and apprentice spots that we’re going to use to sign one of the keepers we have here.”

Klopas didn’t indicate which way he was leaning, generally saying the choice will be, “a younger guy who has shown a lot of potential and ability to grow in training with us.”

READ: Charleston Trialist List

While the league maximum roster is set for 30 players, Klopas said he won’t fill out a roster just for the sake of doing it.

“We’re pretty close to where we want to be at this moment. If there are some open spots, we’re not going to just sign guys if we don’t feel they’re going to fit within our team right now.”

Other notes

* The team is hopeful that Homegrown midfielder Victor Pineda will begin running when they arrive back in Chicago at the end of the month. Pineda is on schedule in rehabbing from the repair done on his right meniscus last November.

* Klopas indicated the team is still looking for a loan situation for Homegrown forward Kellen Gulley potentially to a lower league team based in the U.S.: “I think for his goal he needs to be able to get meaningful games and minutes to play.”

* Fire SuperDraft selection Yazid Atouba has continued to impress the technical staff and fans alike. Asked about whether or not he could see the 20-year-old cracking the first 18 this season, Klopas said, “I think that depending on how players perform, one of the things for me is if they do well and perform well, they’re going to get on the field.”