The Chicago Fire roster picture ahead of the 2014 MLS season became clearer Thursday with the club’s announcement that midfielder Yazid Atouba had been waived.
The club’s second round selection in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft, Atouba impressed during preseason last year and earned three appearances in the team’s first four matches during a tough start to the campaign.
Once the ship was righted midway through 2013, Atouba only went on to appear in the team’s summer friendly against Club America last July and in Reserve matches.
The Cameroonian midfielder was brought back prior to the start of preseason, with head coach Frank Yallop saying that he wanted to give the young players he wasn’t familiar with a chance to prove themselves. The 21-year-old saw time in preseason but do enough to distance himself in the competition for roster spots.
Following the acquisition of midfielder Matt Watson from Vancouver on Wednesday, Atouba’s release puts the Fire roster back at 28 players, a number which Yallop has said would be his bench mark to start the season. If or when Grant Ward does join the club on loan from Tottenham Hotspur, the team would potentially have to move another rostered player.
Some roster speculation surfaced around the absence of forward Orr Barouch from Tuesday’s Season Kickoff Luncheon. His lack of presence was not due to a coming move but because the Israeli youth international has been back in Los Angeles continuing his rehab from a broken foot.