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updated: 5/28/2014 9:18 PM

Bliss working to pinpoint Fire's roster needs

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  • While Chicago Fire owner Andrew Hauptman, left, has given Frank Yallop, the team's head coach and director of soccer, some leeway to add more talent, there aren't any player personnel moves in the pipeline right now.

      While Chicago Fire owner Andrew Hauptman, left, has given Frank Yallop, the team's head coach and director of soccer, some leeway to add more talent, there aren't any player personnel moves in the pipeline right now.
    Associated Press/2013

 
 

Brian Bliss wants to make sure he maintains an even keel.

"You're emotionally involved when you win and don't think you need to do anything, and when you lose you want to do something," the Fire's technical director said during training Wednesday, adding he doesn't have any player personnel moves in the pipeline now.

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"You've just got to make sure we're not too high or too low, depending on the results.

"Obviously, we've got (salary-cap) room since we moved Chris (Rolfe) earlier in the year. We've got a little bit of money and a roster spot available. It's not a matter of whether we want to sign somebody. We'd like to. It's just a matter of pinpointing what's most needed. I think we'll get somebody signed, it's just a matter of when."

It's also a matter of what position is the area of most need for a team that's 2-3-6 and in eighth place in the MLS Eastern Conference.

"We're giving up goals -- we need something on the back line," Bliss said. "We need something to help Jeff (Larentowicz) in the middle of the field. Do we need some experience? Do we need to sign a guy with long-term vision as an attacking-type guy? Do we try to make a deal within the league to shore up something else. It's difficult to say.

"Obviously, from afar you'd say you've got to have somebody on the back line. But with the money available I'm not sure you can get somebody who's going to make a huge impact on the back line. Do we go a DP on the back line? I'm not sure that's the best use of money."

One possibility is former Fire player DaMarcus Beasley, who reportedly wants to leave his club team in Mexico after next month's World Cup. But Beasley would have to go through the MLS allocation process, and that's just one factor in whether the Fort Wayne, Ind., native returns to Chicago.

"We've talked to his representation," Bliss said. "Is it the biggest need in our club? No, but it's a semi-need. It fits a fan-base need, an identification need. It's just a matter of cost."

Bliss said he and coach / director of soccer Frank Yallop don't have a blank check from Fire owner Andrew Hauptman to spend money on players, but they do have a lot of leeway.

"If we had a blank check we would have had Michael Bradley or somebody else," Bliss said of the son of former Fire coach Bob Bradley, who signed a $6.5 million contract with Toronto FC in the off-season. "I wouldn't say everybody is within our reach, but it opens up a big pool of players when you're willing to spend that kind of money."

Bliss said he doesn't expect other veterans with big contracts to follow Rolfe out the door in an effort to clear more salary-cap space.

"We're not actively out there shopping guys," he said. "But if somebody came to us and came up with something that made sense, why not? We'd look at it. It's not like we're at the top of the table. We're satisfied with what we've got, but if we get a reasonable offer we'll listen to it."

The Fire will have the opportunity to clear more contracts from its books in the off-season, though Bliss declined to name names.

"There's probably 8, 9, 10 guys on options," he said. "And I think only two guys with what I would say expiring contracts, where they're in their last year."

Follow Orrin's reports on Twitter@orrin_schwarz.

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