A number of moves were make by Frank Yallop’s Chicago Fire this week. A club legend in his own right, C.J. Brown returns to the Fire as assistant manager after three seasons at Real Salt Lake. Brown brings 13 years of playing experience with the Fire, including four U.S. Open Cups (1998, 200, 2003, 2006), one MLS Cup (1998) and one MLS Supporters’ Shield (2003).
“I have tremendous respect for C.J. Brown as a player, having coached against him and those tough Fire teams for so many years,” Yallop told reporters. “Watching him grow from one of the top defenders in MLS history to helping guide RSL with their tremendous recent success speaks volumes of his coaching style, character and connection with the guys in the locker room.
“C.J. is the perfect choice not only for all his qualities as a coach, but also for what he means to this city and Club, and what they mean to him as well.”
“The Fire has always had a very special place in my heart,” said Brown. “When the Club reached out to me I was excited about the possibility of rejoining the organization. I’ve gained valuable experience with RSL and now, to come home and be a part of Frank’s team, it’s really a dream come true.”
In addition, the Fire acquired Lovel Palmer from Real Salt Lake in exchange for allocation money. One would imagine that Palmer couldn’t wait to get out of Salt Lake City after costing RSL their second MLS Cup. Timing, timing, timing.
“We’re pleased to welcome Lovel to the Fire,” Yallop told reporters. “He is a versatile, experienced player who will be instrumental in building a deep squad to compete in 2014.”
Name: Lovel Palmer
Born: August 30, 1984
Hometown: Mandeville, Jamaica
Citizenship: Jamaica (U.S. Green Card Holder)
Acquired: Via trade from Real Salt Lake on Dec. 13, 2013
Professional Experience: Real Salt Lake (2013), Portland Timbers (2011-2012), Houston Dynamo (2010-2011), W. Connection (2004; loan), Harbor View (1999-2010)
“I’m feeling good,” Palmer told Chicago-Fire.com’s Jeff Crandall via phone from Kingston. “It wouldn’t be fair if I said I wanted to get out of Salt Lake, it was a bittersweet feeling. I love the fans in Salt Lake, the guys were great to me, a great franchise and great city that welcomed me. At the same time I have to say I’m elated to move to Chicago Fire.
“When I went to Salt Lake I thought I was just going to be playing on the right side backing up Tony Beltran but it turns out Jason [Kreis] and his staff had other ideas for me. I’m really happy the way the season turned out playing left and right back, I think it made me a more complete and wanted player.
“[C.J. Brown's] a guy that I have a lot of respect for and he appreciates and respects my game. I’m looking forward to working with him again as well as Frank Yallop in Chicago. Hopefully we’ll try to create what we had in Salt Lake or even something better.”
The hope now for Palmer, of Mandeville, Jamaica is that once he takes a penalty, he will actually convert it, with a certain Mike Magee keeping watch.
“Come next year if the Fire are in a shootout situation, I’ll be more than willing to step up again because you have to take your chances – if you don’t take it you’re not going to score,” Palmersaid. “I’m over it, I’m not going to have one PK define my career, I know I’m a good player and my teammates had confidence in me to step up and take it.”
Finally, in other news, Corben Bone was selected by the Philadelphia Union in Stage One of the 2013 MLS Re-Entry Process while Daniel Paladini was acquired by the Columbus Crew in exchange for the Crew’s fourth round (61st overall) selection in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft. Yallop preferred Brazilian midfielder Alex to Paladini because, according to the boss, youth won out.
“The positions they play are the same,” Yallop told Crandall on Thursday. “Danny’s been here for three seasons and Alex is up and coming and turns 25 in a few days. I wanted to give Alex a real good go at the club and obviously Danny is one of the favorites here but I felt for him to try and make himself a starter in the league — I didn’t see it happening with us.
“Daniel’s not a really high cap number but we have a view towards some younger guys coming in and I’d rather give them a chance and I didn’t see him as a starter. Columbus came in and said they wanted him so I felt ‘let’s try to get the player to where he wants to be in terms of time and salary.’”