Fire expect Tornaghi to compete in GK pecking order

Fire Sign Goalkeeper Paolo Tornaghi

Photo Credit: 
Courtesy of Chicago Fire

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. — The Chicago Fire announced the signing of Italian goalkeeper Paolo Tornaghi on Tuesday, and the club expects him to be more than the No. 3 goalkeeper..

The 23-year-old product of the Inter Milan youth system is right now behind starter Sean Johnson and veteran backup Jay Nolly, who was picked up in the offseason.

But Johnson will probably be gone on Olympic team duty this summer, so the Fire needed cover at the position. And head coach Klopas said he expects Tornaghi to make a push for the No. 2 goalkeeper spot.

“Why not?” Klopas said. “We signed the guy because he’s got very good qualities. It’s all about healthy competition. The guys know that.”

Grazzini breaks DC hearts in stoppage time

The story of how Tornaghi came to join the Fire has an indirect link to former Fire coach Bob Bradley. Tornaghi learned of the Fire’s interest in him because his Italian-based agent knows the agent of Bradley's son, US international Michael Bradley, and the two agents talked about the possibility of Tornaghi signing in MLS.

Now the deal is done and it's up to Tornaghi to prove his worth.

“I’m very excited,” Tornaghi told MLSsoccer.com. “I hope to help the team and get in some games this season, because I am here for that.”

Grazzini gets more time to heal

Opening weekend of the MLS season will be a quiet one for the Fire. They have a bye.

With attacking midfielder Sebastián Grazzini returning to fitness after a hamstring injury and recent signing Arne Friedrich arriving in a matter of days, that’s probably a good thing for the Fire.

Klopas doesn’t quite see it that way.

“It would be nice to play,” Klopas told MLSsoccer.com. “But we’ll have an opportunity to see a lot of the teams this weekend. Especially with a new team [in Montreal], it gives you an opportunity to look at them and be better prepared.”

Despite the fact that Grazzini hasn’t participated in scrimmages all week, he said he would’ve played if the Fire had a game this weekend. The Argentine is confident he’ll practice normally next week.

Marco Pappa took Grazzini’s place behind the two forwards during scrimmages this week, with Rafael Robayo playing on the right and Logan Pause on the left, but Klopas said that’s not necessarily his contingency plan.

“We can try Pappa there, we’ve played Paladini there, and there’s Corben Bone,” Klopas said. “We have some options.”

Other news

  • Central defender Austin Berry has been out of training since Feb. 25, when he picked up a leg contusion in the Fire’s preseason game against D.C. United. Berry had fluid drained from his leg this week, and the rookie said he should be back in training next week.
  • Former New England Revolution forward Zach Schilawski began a trial with the Fire on Thursday.
  • The Fire will face second-division club Minnesota Stars in a friendly on Friday.