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Guerrero hoping to fill need for Klopas' Fire side

Ivan Guerrero in 2007

Photo Credit: 
Getty Images

Iván Guerrero didn’t move back to Chicago this winter solely for the chance to rejoin the Fire.

The 34-year-old left-sider enjoyed the city when he played there from 2005 to 2007. It was only after he decided to move with his wife and three children to Chicago that head coach Frank Klopas offered him the chance to join the Fire on trial during the preseason.

“I loved to live here, and I want to come back to the team, too,” the Honduran native said. “I talked to Klopas about my situation. Chicago was my first team in the league, and he gave me a chance to play with the team.”

The Fire have depth in the midfield but are in need of a backup for starting left back Gonzalo Segares.

The team’s 2005 team MVP still doesn’t have any guarantees from the Fire he’ll be signed, but Guerrero started preseason games against Real España and Chivas USA when Segares sat because of an injury.

Guerrero’s chances of making the cut benefit from the inexperience of the two other players fighting for the spot, rookie Hunter Jumper and former open tryout winner Pari Pantazopoulos.

“That’s going to be one of the positions that’s going to come down to the end,” Klopas said on a teleconference earlier in camp. “We have Iván and we have other guys, too. We want to make the best decision for the team. [Guerrero is] an experienced guy. We want to add some depth and a player that can make our team better.”

Jumper, the No. 28 pick in the SuperDraft out of Virginia, said he’s been soaking up all of the information he can from Guerrero and Segares.

“Iván is an extremely hard worker. He just gives it everything he has,” Jumper said. “I’ve definitely been watching them play really closely because they’re legends here. Every time I go to practice, I notice little things like their positioning, how they see the field, what balls they like to play, how they close down, how much running they’re actually doing.”

With transfer rumors constantly swirling around left midfielder Marco Pappa, Guerrero would give the Fire needed depth at the position as well.

The veteran said he wants to play for two or three more years. If it were up to him, the Fire would be his last club. He thinks he fits Chicago well, and that his age is a help, not a hindrance.

“I’m more experienced, I’m 34,” Guerrero said. “I like the people and the fans. I feel good here.”