Maybe the Fire will sign free-agent midfielder Robbie Rogers. Maybe they will ship the occasional U.S. national team member off to another MLS team.
For now, though, the MLS rights to Rogers, acquired in the Dominic Oduro-for-Dilly Duka trade, are “a valuable asset,” Fire coach Frank Klopas said.
Rogers was the hidden element in the Oduro-Duka deal, and when healthy he’s the best of the three players. He had been property of Leeds United, but the English club let him go last month by mutual agreement.
His next move is unknown, and the Fire is trying to reach him, Klopas said on Monday’s conference call from California, where the Fire has started its second phase of preseason training.
“He’s a valuable asset to bring on the team,” Klopas said, “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.”
With Dilly Duka and possibly Robbie Rogers expected to compete for the left midfield spot along with Naperville native Brendan King, Alex and Wells Thompson, the Fire feels pretty good about that position.
“With (Alvaro Fernandez) leaving I think that was an area we felt we were a little bit thin and needed to address,” Klopas said. “… 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 (Santos) and I think out wide we needed Dilly to address that area of the field.”
If the Fire does trade Rogers, it probably will be for a forward, a spot where Santos is the only signed backup to Chris Rolfe and Sherjill MacDonald after Oduro’s trade, though Alex could fill in there.
While Arne Friedrich and Patrick Nyarko have joined their teammates for the second phase of preseason training, goalkeeper Sean Johnson remains away. Johnson impressed U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann enough to earn a spot on the American’s roster for Wednesday’s World Cup qualifier at Honduras (3 p.m., beIn Sport).
Johnson is one of three goalkeepers on the roster, along with New Lenox native Brad Guzan and likely starter Tim Howard.
“It’d be great to have him here with us,” Frank Klopas said, “but I know he’s getting quality training with the national team.”
The Honduras match is the Americans’ first of 10 matches of the final round of CONCACAF qualifying, which concludes in October.
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