The Chicago Fire re-signed forward Calen Carr on Monday, and that got me to thinking about some players on the team's roster who are in need of a rebound season in 2010. Here are just a few that stand out:
Calen Carr: Knee injuries have hampered Carr so much so that he has only played the equivalent of roughly four full games in two seasons if you roll all his minutes together. Unfortunately in his sporadic playing time in 2009, Carr came up empty. He had a wide-left attempt during the Fire's 2-2 draw against Toronto FC in late September, and the Toyota Park crowd groaned in unison as Carr missed a golden chance for the game-winner in stoppage time. It's unfair to use this moment to completely label his limited season, but those are the situations that define his role. Carr has shown in the past that he can come up with a clutch play in limited playing time, and that could lend itself to additional opportunities. He needs to make sure that the injury bug isn't the main reason for limiting his time on the pitch.
John Thorrington: Thorrington was a necessary spark for the Fire when they advanced past the New England Revolution in the Eastern Conference semifinals last year. It's just too bad we could not see a full season of that energy. Whether it was an injury or a pair of red cards shortening his stint on the field, we did not see enough of Thorrington, who only contributed one assist and did not find the back of the net during the regular season. That was his follow-up to a five-goal, two-assist 2008 campaign. Thorrington's amped-up energy is an asset when he plays the ball cleanly and he's completely healthy. Thorrington could certainly put together a solid campaign this year, and he will have to in order to compensate for the losses of Cuauhtemoc Blanco and Chris Rolfe in the midfield.
Justin Mapp: Mapp's playing time went down dramatically last year. There probably were a few other games in there where you could justify less playing time than the 1,013 minutes he saw. For Mapp himself and even the casual soccer fan, it's no mystery he didn't perform at a high level -- one goal and three assists. That followed a four-year stretch in which Mapp posted eight assists in 2005, 2006 and 2008. Chicago protected Mapp this offseason so the expansion Philadelphia Union couldn't latch onto him. The Fire obviously feel that there still is some value within that left foot of his, but the 25-year-old midfielder has a lot to prove heading into the 2010 season.