Pickens Turns Down Fire Offer

The Chicago Fire have come to the realization that Matt Pickens may not be their starting goalkeeper in 2008 after all. After a breakout year in '07, Pickens, currently exploring options overseas, has turned down the club's contract offer according to Luis Arroyave of the Chicago Tribune, leaving the Fire to search for Plan B.

"We made what we felt was a good offer last night and his agent turned it down," said Fire coach Denis Hamlett.
Pickens, 25, made 102 saves last season and posted a 1.15 GAA over 27 games for Chicago. His performance earned him a ticket to USMNT camp earlier this month, but Pickens chose to leave camp early to go on trial for Norwich City of the English League Championship.

Faced with the potential loss of Pickens, Chicago used their second pick of the 2008 MLS SuperDraft (12th overall) to select Tulsa goalkeeper Dominic Cervi. The problem is, Cervi is ALSO looking into his chances overseas and may choose to spurn MLS altogether.

"We couldn't just sit around and wait," said Hamlett on the decision to select Cervi. "We needed to protect ourselves. We were excited he was available at that number."

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