Fire's Fernandez makes speedy recovery for weekend

Alvaro Fernandez with Chicago Fire

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BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Chicago Fire midfielder Álvaro Fernández participated in full training on Wednesday, four days after he hobbled off the field with an ankle injury in the second half of his Fire debut, a 2-1 win over Toronto FC last Saturday.

“I feel much better than Saturday,” the Uruguayan told MLSsoccer.com through a translator.

In his first start with the Fire, Fernández took over for Patrick Nyarko on the right side of the midfield. It's similar to the role he played in Seattle, though he was positioned farther forward and on his natural right side. In the Sounders' 4-4-2 he was more often on the left, and playing slightly deeper.

Now, with defensive midfielders Logan Pause and Pável Pardo taking on much of the defensive responsibilities in the midfield for the Fire, Fernández has license to push forward.

“I feel more freedom on the field,” Fernández said. “Because when you have two holding midfielders, when you’re going offensive, you can take more chances and you can play more freely.”

Fernández should be ready to start again on Sunday against Philadelphia (7 pm ET; Galavision).

If he once again replaces Nyarko in the lineup, Fernández will give the Fire another skilled outside midfielder who does his best work cutting in from the flanks.

“For us, we have some good depth out wide,” head coach Frank Klopas said. “He’s very composed on a ball. Now, he’s coming inside a lot more and freeing up the width of the field for [right backs] Jalil [Anibaba] or [Dan] Gargan. He’s another guy who’s very good in tight spaces who wants the ball.”