Schwarz: Fire GM is sticking to his long-term plan

  • General manager Nelson Rodriguez and Chicago Fire coach Veljko Paunovic will welcome two new forwards to the team.

    General manager Nelson Rodriguez and Chicago Fire coach Veljko Paunovic will welcome two new forwards to the team. Orrin Schwarz | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 8/4/2016 10:09 PM

Chicago Fire general manager Nelson Rodriguez has chosen his path. Nothing can cause him to deviate from his long-term plan to rebuild the club.

Not disgruntled fans. Not impatient media. Not yet another playoff miss. Nothing.

 

"I know that patience has become a dirty word in pro sports when teams have suffered results and they want to get back on the opposite side as quickly as possible," Rodriguez said during a conference call Thursday to discuss Wednesday's acquisitions, "but I remain encouraged by the reaction and the response of most fans who I think are seeing the plan."

The Fire acquired forward Luis Solignac via trade with Colorado and signed Armenian forward David Arshakyan via transfer from Lithuanian side FK Trakai.

Arshakyan and Solignac are part of the plan, if just building blocks rather than the kind of big, bold moves long-suffering fans crave. Rodriguez seems in no rush to accelerate his plan despite a 4-10-6 record that has the Fire last in MLS again.

"No, I think moves that are born out of desperation tend to be bad moves. I believe that it's more important to get it right than get it fast," he said.

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That's not to say that Rodriguez is ruling out filling the two designated player slots he will have available this winter with players worthy of the so-called "Beckham Rule." He'll only do it if the fit is right.

A dominant central midfielder and depth on the wing top his priority list, but "we will look to improve along all our lines," Rodriguez said, including goalkeeper.

"It is really important that we tune out the media and we stick to our plan, and when we make the decision on bigger players, if you will," he said. "Higher-name players, if you will. Or players that require a higher level of investment ... that we are as convinced as you are that we are getting the right man and the right player."

The key for the Fire, he said, is the targeted allocation money and general allocation money the team adds in almost every trade in which it has dealt a player. TAM especially is the league's way of helping to pay players and encouraging spending on top-flight talent.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"Allocation money is the tool to make all things happen in the league," Rodriguez said. " ... We're in a position should we choose to do so or should we find the right player that we can make another high-quality impact player for next year."

The winter transfer window opens in January, and Rodriguez likely will make a number of changes to the roster again. He already has brought in 18 of the 26 players now on the Fire roster.

March will bring the second season in charge for Rodriguez and coach Veljko Paunovic. Previous coaches Carlos de los Cobos and Frank Yallop didn't survive poor starts to their second seasons with the club.

Will Fire ownership be more patient with Rodriguez and Paunovic than it was with de los Cobos and Yallop?

• Follow Orrin on Twitter at @Orrin_Schwarz.

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