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Monday, February 22, 2010
Fire trim roster, waive Woolard, Washington

By Charlie Corr

The Chicago Fire reduced its roster size from 36 players to 28 on Monday as they head into the second leg of their preseason.

Most of the trial players were passed over, such as former University of Illinois-Chicago goalkeeper Jovan Bubonja and former Northwestern defender Mark Blades. The most noteworthy men waived were a pair of Fire defenders from last year's team -- Daniel Woolard and Austin Washington.

Washington and Woolard both played in eight regular-season games and both started in four of them during the 2009 season. The release of Woolard in this first roster adjustment is a bit of a surprise.

The offseason signing of Krzysztof Krol pushed Woolard down the defensive depth chart. But before Krol was on board, it was not out of the question to consider Woolard as a potential starting left back to fill the void of Gonzalo Segares. Woolard did start in the Fire's final two playoff games of the season and showed some potential.

Four trialists still remain on the Fire's preseason group -- midfielder Joao Baptista, midfielder Jaime Cuesta, defender O'Brian Woodbine and forward Collins John. John's resume in Fulham and his two-goal effort in the Fire's preseason opener against the Vancouver Whitecaps make his name eye-popping among this group.

The Fire face Chivas de Guadalajara at 12:30 p.m. Thursday and it will be the first chance to have the full roster together after splitting up the squad in the first leg of exhibition matches against Vancouver and the Arizona Sahuaros.

It will be interesting to see how deep into the bench Fire head coach Carlos de los Cobos goes on Thursday. Heading into this match, 2010 draftee Sean Johnson represents the No. 2 goalkeeper behind Jon Busch. Trialist Bubonja no longer is on board and Andrew Dykstra is staying in Chicago to take care of an injury to his left rotator cuff.

In the midfield, first-round draft pick Corben Bone is not with the team in Guadalajara. Bone is recovering from a left knee injury he suffered during the Fire's match against the Whitecaps.