Fire head coach Frank Klopas held his weekly preseason conference call earlier Monday afternoon and hit on the team’s situation at forward with the trade of Dominic Oduro, his thoughts on Dilly Duka and the team’s potential plans for Robbie Rogers ahead of Tuesday’s friendly vs. Chivas USA (LIVE audio beginning at 1:30pm CT on Chicago-Fire.com).
With Dominic Oduro officially joining the Columbus Crew on Monday, the team currently has only three out-and-out forwards in camp. The Fire head man suggested Brazilian attacker Alex could be used as a forward as well as the team looking both in the league abroad for more options up top.
“Obviously you feel like you have guys like Alex that have the ability to play [up front]. When I saw him play in Switzerland [last offseason] he was a second striker. We feel like we have guys like [Sherjill] MacDonald and Maicon [Santos] that are first strikers and [Chris] Rolfe and Alex are guys that can combine well and play off those guys.
“Alex has proven in the time that he’s played to be a capable guy that can score goals and be dangerous in the final third. The experience from last year and being here with us from the beginning now is going to be big for us on the field and bring more for us as a player.
“We are also looking very hard and I think we have some very good options but you have to understand that some of those options we have within Europe are players that aren’t free at this time. There might be an opportunity within the league to give some more depth there but we’re also pushing really hard whether its now or in the next window to bring a difference maker in that spot.”
Klopas also addressed the reasoning behind Monday’s acquisition of Dilly Duka and the rights to Robbie Rogers from Columbus...
“With Flaco [Alvaro Fernandez] leaving, I think that was an area we felt we were a little bit thin and needed to address. The situation sometimes doesn’t work all the way around how you want it to. Bringing Dilly I think we have the ability now with a guy that’s very quick off the dribble like Patrick [Nyarko] and can beat players. I thought we were good down the middle and up front we’re looking to add another striker but we brought Maicon and I think out wide we needed Dilly to address that area of the field.
“Obviously with Dilly and the rights to Robbie Rogers that’s another option that we have there.”
With rumors swirling that Dilly Duka’s exit from Columbus was because of conflict in the locker room, Klopas then adjusted the character of the team’s newest addition…
“We spend a lot of time [researching]. It has to make a lot of sense for us talking with the player about what our expectations are within our organization but also it has to make sense from a budget standpoint both this year and next year. We felt that we accomplished that.
“There are situations – we don’t know what happened there. You read stuff in the paper but I’ve talked to the kid many times and I think he’s looking forward to being part of this organization and having an impact based on the talent that he has.
“Sometimes things happen and things get blown out of proportion sometime. For me, for the people I talk to he’s a guy that even within the former team in Columbus he’s a guy that’s going to work hard and have natural talent. I don’t think there are any issues for me from a character standpoint.”
Another intriguing wrinkle to Monday’s trade was the team’s acquisition of the MLS rights to currently out-of-contract winger Robbie Rogers…
“Obviously we knew he’s free now. We’ve been trying to reach and speak to him. I think he’s a valuable asset for us and he’s a very good player. A player that’s a national team guy, he’s fast and he’s strong and I think we have options to do a lot of things.
“He’s a valuable asset to bring on the team or if there are opportunities where it makes sense for us to trade those rights, I think we have to look at all those options but I think it’s a valuable asset to have.”