Welcome to the sixth Season Preview of the 2023 MLS season! We are continuing this journey with the league's biggest sellers this offseason, Chicago Fire FC. With both Jhon Duran and Gaga Slonina off to the Premier League this winter, how do the Fire plan to use this new chunk of change? For those of you who are new to MLS Now's work, thanks for reading today and check out all of what our podcast and blog site has to offer. Let's get into it below.
Record: 10-9-15 (39 points/12 in East)
Team Leader Goals: Jhon Duran 8, Xherdan Shaqiri 7, Kacper Przybylko 5
Team Leader Assists: Xherdan Shaqiri 11, Brian Gutierrez 7, Chris Mueller 5
Manager: Ezra Hendrickson (2nd season)
Additions: RB Arnaud Souquet (free from Montpellier/30 years old), LW Maren Haile-Selassie (loan from FC Lugano/23 years old), GK Jeff Gal (free from Degerfors IF/29 years old), RB Jonathan Dean (transfer from Birmingham Legion FC/25 years old)
Subtractions: CF Jhon Duran ($18 million transfer to Aston Villa/19 years old), GK Gabriel Slonina ($10 million transfer to Chelsea/18 years old), RB Boris Sekulic (free agent/31 years old), RB Jhon Espinoza (free to FC Lugano/23 years old), LB Jonathan Bornstein (free to CDS Vida/38 years old), RW Stanislav Ivanov (free agent/23 years old), LB Andre Reynolds II (free agent/21 years old)
Designated Players: CAM Xherdan Shaqiri, RW Jairo Torres
Projected Starting XI
This Chicago Fire team, especially their attack has so much potential on paper. Kacper Przybylko was so dominant in Philly, Chris Mueller broke out a few years ago in Orlando, Shaqiri is one of the biggest names to leave Europe for MLS in recent years, Jairo Torres has lots of potential. What's going to unlock them? Props to them for earning $28 million minimum from just two players, I think it's awesome for the league, but the Fire just aren't showing any clear direction. Their rumored designated player, Hwang Ui-Jo, is a player bouncing around Europe because he just can't find any form. He's their answer to this? The front office has to provide manager Ezra Hendrickson some clear direction, because this roster is far away from contending for the playoffs in my opinion. If they can get this designated player signing right (which was a great move buying down Gaston Gimenez), my mind will be changed very fast. Hopefully this is a preview that just came out too early prior to the season.
Thanks for viewing our sixth 2023 season preview. There will be a new one out about every single day leading up to MLS kickoff. If you are a passionate fan looking to write about your club, we are actively seeking contributors for MLS clubs this season. If interested, message us on either Twitter or Instagram @MLSNowPodcast. We want to provide an outlet for fans to discuss their club on the site and also guest star on the podcast throughout the season.