Source: Ljungberg, Conde exiting Fire

Updated: November 28, 2010, 2:30 PM ET
By Charlie Corr | ESPNChicago.com

Midfielder Freddie Ljungberg and defender Wilman Conde are pursuing opportunities away from the Chicago Fire and Major League Soccer, a source with knowledge of the Fire's offseason plans told ESPNChicago.com.

While the Fire have not completely ruled out future talks if the players don't find an opportunity outside of MLS, at this stage Ljungberg and Conde are not in the team's plans for 2011, according to the source.

Ljungberg performed well for the Fire, contributing seven assists and two goals in 15 games during the second half of the 2010 season. But according to the source, Ljungberg is looking for a salary in the realm of $3 million -- more than twice his 2010 salary.

Conde has shown an ability to play solidly from the back, but his 2010 campaign was disappointing. And, according to the source, Conde also did not jell with first-year Fire head coach Carlos de los Cobos. Conde was protected for the expansion draft so the Fire could maintain his player rights.

The loss of those players, and the need to correct some mistakes made while building 2010's playoff-missing squad, means that for a second straight offseason, the Fire have a long list of necessary adjustments.

Forward Collins John and defender Krzysztof Krol were released last week, and Chicago also has a thinner center midfield with Peter Lowry and John Thorrington's departures in the expansion draft.

Krol's departure was expected. John was a failed experiment, and De los Cobos even singled him out during the 2010 season for his laziness.

The source said a major challenge lies ahead in rebuilding the team, and that the Fire will not take the "calculated risk" approach that burned the team with several failed signings.

In addition to John, Salvadorans Julio Martinez, a midfielder who was released during the season, and defender Deris Umanzor were signings that didn't pan out for the Fire in 2010.

Fire technical director Frank Klopas and De los Cobos are overseas and director of player personnel Mike Jeffries is in South America as they attempt to draw some new pieces to the puzzle.

Charlie Corr covers the Fire for ESPNChicago.com.

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