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Fitness fanaticism helps Chicago's Pardo bounce back

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. — Normally, when athletes fabricate legal documents, they’re attempting to make themselves seem younger than they actually are. But Arne Friedrich thinks Pável Pardo is manipulating his age the other way.

How else could a 36-year-old, who had missed six straight games, run for 90 minutes without looking completely spent?

“I guess he cheated on the passport,” Friedrich said with a smile. “We should check it. For his age, definitely it was a great performance that he could run for 90 minutes and he didn’t look tired. He’s in really good shape.”

The former Mexican international planned on playing for 60 or 70 minutes on Saturday against D.C. United after returning from a calf injury. But Pardo had a conversation with coach Frank Klopas at halftime of the 1-1 draw and said he could play the rest of the game.

READ: Klopas wants Fire to be the new Dynamo

“I’m surprised, too, because I know that after four weeks, it’s not easy to play 90 minutes,” Pardo told MLSsoccer.com. “I did 100 percent in the whole game.”

Pardo has been lauded all season for his fitness, but Klopas thinks his intelligence also plays a part in his ability to sustain a consistent level all game every game.

“He’s smart,” Klopas told MLSsoccer.com. “He takes very good care of himself, and he’s played in enough big games that he knows when he needs to move and where to be at the right time, at the right moment. I think as you get older, you get more experience and you know when to move, when not to move. You’re just a lot smarter with how you use up your energy in the game.”

Because the Fire tied the game, 1-1, and didn’t win, they’ll have to play again on Wednesday, this time against the Houston Dynamo in the Eastern Conference Knockout Round (9 pm ET; ESPN2, TSN2/RDS2; LIVE chat on MLSsoccer.com). Pardo said he’ll play, but once again he hedged as to whether he’d be able to play the entire game.

“I’m tired, I’m sore,” Pardo said on Monday. “We’ll see how I respond and if I can play 60 or 70. It depends.”