Soccer MLS

5 Bold Predictions for Chicago Fire’s 2014 MLS Season

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Bold Predictions for Chicago Fire in 2014

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The Chicago Fire are one of the best clubs in the league, but they have definitely not played like it in the last couple of seasons. It's been a rough few years for the club. Fans may continue to be proud of their team, but other clubs do not really see them as a threat. However, that is starting to change. Last year, they merely missed out on playing in the playoffs by a goal difference. It must have been a heart-shattering experience for the club, and Chicago is definitely a team with heart.

There has been a lot of changes made to the Fire since the beginning of last season. They have tried new things and added new players. Like any club, they know that neither the defensive nor offensive side alone carries them. They had a good defensive side, but they needed to make it a little better. Luckily, Chicago acquired Mike Magee last year, but they pushed him from attacking midfielder to striker.

With all the changes that the Fire have experienced from the middle of last year to the current preseason, there are a lot of things that can happen. If the Fire truly gives it their all next year, then opposing clubs should beware. I continue to believe that Chicago is one of the best in the league, but just hasn't been given the opportunity to show it. This will be the Fire's year to show it; this is the year Chicago reminds everyone of the team's namesake.

Jackee Arce is a soccer writer for Follow her on Twitter @knackeredwriter, “like” her on Facebook or add her to your network on Google.

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5. Homegrown Players Will Compliment Club

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The Chicago Fire signed two homegrown players this offseason: Chris Ritter and Harrison Shipp. These players are the first homegrown players since 2010, when they signed Victor Pineda. Pineda did have minutes with Chicago's reserves but did not see any minutes with the first team. I think Ritter and Shipp will add to the club where Pineda could not; Chicago took its time with these signings, and hopefully they'll be what the Fire hope for.

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4. Sean Johnson Will Be Best Goalkeeper in Eastern Conference

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Sean Johnson was recently named the U.S. National Team's third goalkeeper and for good reason. Jurgen Klinsmann thinks he's the third-best goalkeeper in the U.S., and I think many others agree. He is a great goalkeeper, and the new boost of confidence from earning the spot will make him even better. Chicago Fire's defense will take the club far this year.

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3. Acquired Defenders Will Add Needed Depth

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The Chicago Fire picked up an awesome pair of defenders from the Seattle Sounders this offseason: Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and Patrick Ianni. This will only add to their strengthening defensive side, and it was the best possible move for the club. It's going be scary to face this full-rounded club.

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2. Mike Magee Will Continue to Awe and Inspire

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Last year, the Los Angeles Galaxy reluctantly let go of Mike Magee for Robbie Rogers. Magee continued to shine in Chicago as he had done in Los Angeles. He played 25 matches for them between MLS and the U.S. Open Cup, and scored 18 goals for Chicago. He was a successful midfielder in L.A., but an even more successful forward for Chicago. The rightful winner of the MLS MVP award will continue to move this club forward and give his hometown something to be proud of.

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1. The Chicago Fire Will Win Eastern Conference

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Chicago Fire have not made it past the knockout round since 2009. That's five years without a true chance at the MLS Cup -- something they have only won once. But after the great addition of Mike Magee, Chicago has a better chance to get there. Last season with Magee only in the club for half the season, they did not make it into the playoffs solely because of goal difference. The added defenders will also help the club get more wins. It will be a great year for Chicago.