When it comes to dissecting the double-top secret plans of MLS managers for the coming season, nobody should get too carried away, obviously, with analysis of lineup choices in January.
That said …
The selections might tell us something, along the lines of future possibilities and potential experiments, if nothing else.
So we look at the Chicago Fire’s 2-0 win Sunday over Florida Gulf Coast University. The starting lineup (for the first of three 30-minute periods) looked like this:
- Alec Kann*, Logan Pause (captain), Jalil Anibaba, Austin Berry, Gonzalo Segares; Alex, Jeff Larentowicz, Joel Lindpere, Wells Thompson; Chris Rolfe, Sherjill MacDonald.
That certainly looks like an early version of Frank Klopas’ starting lineup this year. Sean Johnson, currently in Houston with the U.S. national team, is the sure starter in goal.
And nobody needs to wonder about why Arne Friedrich wasn’t in the lineup: the former German international was given permission to report late.
Interesting, then, that newcomers Jeff Larentowicz and Joel Lindpere (pictured) were the preferred starting midfield combo in a 4-4-2. (And that’s not a bad looking center-of-the-park duo, is it?).
Of course, than left no room for Logan Pause – who was stationed at right back.
There was speculation that Pause was headed right there in 2013, so there’s supporting evidence in that direction. Yes, in January, but still …