Fire sign Mexican-Argentinean striker Guillermo Franco

Guillermo Franco

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The Chicago Fire have bolstered their front line with another intriguing overseas signing, announcing the capture of Mexican international Guillermo Franco on a free transfer from Pachuca on Friday morning.

Born in Argentina, Franco made his name with CF Monterrey in the Mexican Primera, where he scored 63 goals from 2002-05 before earning a high-profile move to Villarreal, who at the time were one of Spain’s top three clubs and a perennial UEFA Champions League qualifier. Following an injury-marred stint with the “Yellow Submarine,” he signed with West Ham United in 2009, becoming the first Mexican to play for the English Premier League side.

The veteran striker represented his adopted country in the 2006 and 2010 FIFA World Cups, and has eight goals to his name in 25 appearances with El Tri.

“We’re happy to add a talented player like Guillermo to our team,” said Fire coach Frank Klopas in a club release. “He has a wealth of international playing experience and will be a great asset as we look to strengthen our squad for a potential MLS Cup playoff run.”

Franco, 35, awaits clearance to take part in match action pending the receipt of his International Transfer Certificate (ITC) and P-1 Visa. He has been training with the Fire and the club hopes to have his transfer paperwork completed in time for him to take part in Tuesday’s Reserve League match against FC Dallas. With the signing, Chicago now boast four World Cup veterans on their roster. 

The Fire have won five of their last six league games to climb into second place in the Eastern Conference standings. Klopas and his men host the Montreal Impact in another important East matchup at Toyota Park Saturday night (8:30 pm ETwatch LIVE online).