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Armchair Analyst's Breakdown

  • Strength: The midfield trio should be a strength given the complementary skillsets. They should fit well together and make each other better.
  • Weakness: It’s been half a decade since they’ve had an actual strength? It feels like they’re building this team from scratch – maybe a good thing, maybe a bad thing.

Key Departures

  • Robert Beric: The first of two DP departures, Robert Beric spent two years with Chicago and tallied 20g/4a in 56 appearances. Beric remains without a club after not agreeing to terms with Sporting KC, who selected him in the Re-Entry Draft. Chicago also moved on from DP winger Ignacio Aliseda, who was acquired by Swiss side FC Lugano, which is also owned by Fire owner Joe Mansueto.
  • Francisco Calvo: Lighting rod center back Francisco Calvo was among the major players out this winter, ending his two and a half years in Chicago, where he was named club captain. He signed with the San Jose Earthquakes in free agency.
  • Alvaro Medran: A bright spot over the last two years despite the Fire’s disappointment, Alvaro Medran became a free agent and signed with Saudi Arabia’s Al-Taawoun. The former Real Madrid midfielder had 55 appearances in MLS.

Key Acquisitions

  • Xherdan Shaqiri: Perhaps you’ve heard: Switzerland’s national team captain and someone who’s still an integral part of their World Cup-bound squad has arrived in MLS. Xherdan Shaqiri, who immediately becomes one of the league’s biggest names, was acquired by Chicago for a $7.5 million fee from Ligue 1’s Lyon. He’s dealt with injuries and competition for places at the club level, but he’s still only 30 and has plenty to offer. He’s twice won the Champions League and has domestic league titles to his name in England, Germany and Switzerland.
  • Jairo Torres: A Young Designated Player who arrives May 1, Torres comes as one of the highest-rated young attackers in Liga MX. He's currently with Atlas FC, a winger who's also been capped once by Mexico's national team. He'll be a big part of Chicago's revamped offense come the spring and summer.
  • Kacper Przybylko: Kacper Przybylko is a known commodity in MLS, acquired by Chicago in a $1.15 million GAM trade from the Philadelphia Union. He is widely expected to soon sign a long-term contract extension in Chicago as well. Przybylko was the leading center forward for the Union’s best-ever three-year stretch, with 35 goals and 14 assists in 83 regular-season appearances. He’s a key addition in a completely revamped attack with Shaqiri, Torres and…
  • Jhon Duran: … Rising center forward Jhon Duran. A deal was agreed for the 18-year-old Colombian last winter, but he couldn’t join the club until he turned 18. Duran was recognized by The Guardian as one of the world’s top talents in their annual Next Generation rankings. He already has 46 professional appearances with Envigado FC, including nine goals and three assists in 24 appearances in 2021.
  • Rafael Czichos: Another veteran addition to a youthful team, German center back Rafael Czichos was acquired from Bundesliga club FC Koln this offseason. The defender has been an integral starter for Koln the last three years, including their promotion to the top flight and numerous relegation battles.
  • Full roster

Projected Starting XI

Note: Torres will join the XI once he arrives in May.

Chicago Fire - projected XI 2022

Predictions

  • Charles Boehm: 11th in East
  • Tom Bogert: 7th in East
  • Matt Doyle: 10th in East
  • David Gass: 10th in East
  • Sam Jones: 11th in East
  • Joe Lowery: 11th in East
  • Greg Seltzer: 11th in East
  • Andrew Wiebe: 7th in East

Chicago Fire FC Season Preview