Armchair Analyst's Breakdown
- Strength: They’ve kept most of their squad together for a year or two, so they should have a chemistry advantage over most teams.
- Weakness: They need a lot of guys to show better in 2023 than they did in 2022 if we’re going to seriously say they have a talent advantage. Chemistry can take you only so far.
- Gaga Slonina: Across a year and a half, homegrown goalkeeper Gaga Slonina caught the global transfer market’s attention. Now, the 18-year-old US international is MLS’s most expensive goalkeeper after joining English Premier League side Chelsea in a deal worth up to $15 million.
- Jhon Durán: Slonina was briefly the Fire’s club-record transfer… until Jhon Durán made a huge move to English Premier League side Aston Villa for up to $22 million. The Colombian international signed with Chicago following his 18th birthday last winter, and by the fall, was their starting center forward and bright spot in a forgetful year.
- Jhon Espinoza: In a corresponding move with Maren Haile-Selassie’s signing, defender Jhon Espinoza joined FC Lugano, which is also owned by Fire owner Joe Mansueto. Between Espinoza and Duran leaving, there are no more Jhons on the Fire roster (!).
- Arnaud Souquet: Chicago have a new starting right back by way of Ligue 1-experienced Arnaud Souquet. The 30-year-old arrives from Montpellier after making 149 appearances in France’s top flight. He’s likely a day-one starter.
- Maren Haile-Selassie: Winger Maren Haile-Selassie arrives from FC Lugano on loan, offering another option in the attack. The 23-year-old former Swiss youth international had 1g/3a in just under 700 Swiss league minutes this year before joining Chicago.
- Full roster
Projected Starting XI
- Marcelo Balboa: 15th in East
- Charles Boehm: 13th in East
- Tom Bogert: 15th in East
- Matt Doyle: 14th in East
- David Gass: 15th in East
- J. Sam Jones: 15th in East
- Sacha Kljestan: 15th in East
- Kaylyn Kyle: 15th in East
- Joseph Lowery: 15th in East
- Melissa Ortiz: 14th in East
- Danielle Slaton: 14th in East
- Andrew Wiebe: 15th in East
- Bradley Wright-Phillips: 15th in East
Odds & Ends
- Head coach: Ezra Hendrickson
- Stadium: Soldier Field
- Last year: 10W-15L-9T, 39 points, 12th in East
- Audi 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs: Did not qualify