The Chicago Fire's starting central defense quickly evaporated following the team's 2010 season. They hope they found one answer in selecting and signing Cory Gibbs during Wednesday's second stage of Major League Soccer's re-entry draft.
The 30-year-old Gibbs played a career-high 25 games for the New England Revolution this past season. And Gibbs will be expected to shoulder a heavy load for the Fire's defense now that C.J. Brown has retired and Wilman Conde is no longer with the organization.
The X-factor for Gibbs will be maintaining a healthy stint, as he has suffered through multiple injuries during his career.
Gibbs has earned 19 caps for the U.S. National Team, but a knee injury prevented him from joining the Americans for the 2006 World Cup.
Following his collegiate career at Brown University, Gibbs found his way to FC St. Pauli of the German Bundesliga, where he became the second youngest American to score a goal in league play against FC Cologne on Nov. 24, 2001 (he was 21 at the time).
In MLS, Gibbs played for the Dallas Burn in 2004, Colorado Rapids in 2008 and 2009, then New England in 2010.
At this stage for the Fire, Gibbs would team up with either Dasan Robinson or Kwame Watson-Siriboe in the central defense. Watson-Siriboe is coming off his first MLS season. Robinson was briefly on the expansion draft block, but the Fire protected him after the Portland Timbers selected midfielder Peter Lowry.
Also in Wednesday's second stage of the re-entry draft, former Fire forward Josh Wolff, who tallied 32 regular-season goals for Chicago in his first five MLS seasons, was the first pick by D.C. United. Juan Pablo Angel switches coasts, going from the New York Red Bulls to the Los Angeles Galaxy. But one designated player who was not selected was four-year Columbus Crew star Guillermo Barros Schelotto, whose option was declined after the season.