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MLS Preview

The Chicago Fire in One Word: "Determined"

With 19 MLS teams, scores of personnel changes, and an ever-shifting competitive landscape, we decided to cut through the noise and craft short MLS team previews built around a one-word descriptor.
BY Matt Thacker Posted
February 26, 2013
12:07 PM
Heavy turnover during the summer often leads to problems in Major League Soccer, but the Chicago Fire made it work last year.

Despite losing Marco Pappa and Sebastian Grazzini while adding several new players midseason, the Fire won seven of eight matches in August and September before fading at the end. The focus this year will be consistency. Only three teams in MLS conceded fewer goals than the Fire last year, and defense should remain the team’s strength with Rookie of the Year Austin Berry and veterans Arne Friedrich and Gonzalo Segares returning.

The additions of Jeff Larentowicz, the woefully under-appreciated Joel Lindpere, and Dilly Duka should strengthen and ideally stabilize the midfield, which has experienced heavy turnover. Although Sherjill MacDonald is the Designated Player expected to score goals, Chris Rolfe sparked Chicago’s run last year, and his play will likely determine how far the team goes.

EXPECTED FINISH: 5th in Eastern Conference. The Fire should be in the thick of the playoff race until the end of the season.

OK, your turn to chime in. Is "determined" the right word to describe this team? If not, what would you choose? Tell us below.

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