The first official week of the Major League Soccer offseason came and went in relatively quiet fashion for the Chicago Fire and for most clubs around the league.
The week began with the naming of the first-ever class of MLS free agents, who as of Tuesday afternoon were permitted to enter negotiations with potential suitors. The class includes four veteran players -- GK Jon Busch, defenders Jeff Larentowicz and Ty Harden and forward Mike Magee -- who most recently were with the Men In Red.
On Wednesday, the Fire -- whose current First Team roster stands at 13 players -- were among 19 MLS clubs that passed on the opportunity to claim a player in the 2015 Waiver Draft, which consists of individuals who have been waived by their clubs and are not eligible for the Re-Entry Draft or Free Agency. A total of 30 players were eligible for selection, but only Michael Azira, previously of Seattle Sounders FC, found a new home when the Colorado Rapids opted to acquire the Ugandan midfielder.
The action picked up slightly on Friday with Stage 1 of the league’s Re-Entry Draft, which makes available experienced MLS players who have not agreed to a new contract with their current club.
Chicago, which held the draft’s No. 1 position, announced Friday morning it had dealt the pick to FC Dallas in exchange for general allocation money and the No. 17 selection. FC Dallas went on to acquire former Portland Timbers forward Maxi Urruti, who joined former Fire goalkeeper Alec Kann (Sporting KC) as the only players on the move in Stage 1 of the draft.
Unlike in Stage 1, Stage 2 of the Re-Entry Draft -- which is set for Thursday (Dec. 17) at 2 p.m. CT -- allows a club to negotiate a new contract for players chosen. With Kann’s selection by Sporting KC, the list of former Fire players available in Stage 2 has been shortened to Greg Cochrane, Jason Johnson, Lovel Palmer and Matt Watson. Visit MLSsoccer.com for the full list of players available in Thursday's draft.
Preparations also are underway for the 2016 MLS SuperDraft, with MLS on Friday announcing the 59 players invited to the MLS Combine Jan. 7-12 in Florida.