With the season almost over and the team already out of the playoffs it is time to start looking at making the adjustments necessary to improve our team for 2011. Here is my thought and wishlist position by position:
Goalkeepers: Keep starting Sean Johnson, he has the ability to develop into a fantastic keeper. Andrew Dykstra really is as good as a backup that you could ask for in this league and we don’t really need to do anything new here.
Back line: Kinney needs to continue to get starters minutes on the right and Siriboe needs to have the same in the middle. Gonzalo Segares will be ready to perform on the left next season and either Krol if we can keep him or Umanzor if we can’t will be good or servicable backups respectively. Meanwhile Dasan Robinson will continue to function and a backup center back. This leaves us with our needs:
1. we need a top center back, a real leader for the whole defense.
2. we need backup center back and right back capable of filling in at any time.
Midfield: We will break down the midfield by position. First I will say I think we need to let John Thorrington go, it is just not ok to continue paying someone to hardly play all season.
CDM: I really think we should consider starting Bratislav Ristic here. It is obvious he can function out wide in the midfield, or on the defensive line. I think he could be an upgrade on Logan Pause, a player capable of not only protecting the team defensivly but helping push the transition into the attack. Logan Pause should stay on as depth here, he is perfect for this…the player who does not hurt his team but doesn’t really having the skill to create going forward.
Wingers: I think both Patrick Nyarko and Marco Pappa should come back as starters as our wide midfielders. However, we need to find depth to fill in should these two falter or get injured.
CAM: Freddie Ljungberg has at least one more good season in his legs and considering his skill set it would be best if we kept him on and put him in that attacking midfielder role. We have decent depth here with Husidic, Lowry, and Bone all capable of stepping in. Both Husidic and Lowry have had some good moments during the season this year and Bone hasn’t really had a chance yet..but he needs to get that chance.
Strikers: My gut says start next preseason with Nery Castillo in the withdrawn striker role with Collins John up front as the target striker. It is clear that Castillo has the skills but with such a lack of condition when he came to Chicago he hasn’t really had the opportunity to gel on the field, next year is his chance. As for John I believe that he needs consistent minutes to hit his form and he has not had that this year, I say we give him the chance next year to see what he can do if he finds his form. Calen Carr can go, as he really hasn’t proved anything to me, but that means we need to pick up #3 and #4 striker who are capable of stepping into the starting lineup at any given time.
So it seems to me that Chicago could really turn around next year without much change to the starting lineup. The players we have used at the end of this season are starting to play some decent football and with 1 or 2 adjustments to the starting line-up and quite a bit of additions to the substitutes bench we should be competitive next year.