Catching up with Gonzo

and dangerous -- defenders in MLS.

This summer, as Gonzo hopes to reach new heights with the "Men in Red," the talented and tenacious player will also look to follow his beloved Costa Rica, who will compete on soccer's most luxurious stage in Germany. And although he will be watching his team from thousands of miles away via his TV set, all of a sudden, watching Gonzo represent the Ticos at the international level is not such a far-fetched thought.

Chicago-Fire.com: Happy New Year, Gonzo. How are you feeling?
Gonzalo Segares: Happy New Year to you, too! Feeling pretty good. Just enjoying the last few days of my vacation with my friends and family here in Costa Rica.

Chicago-Fire.com: Where did you spend the holidays?
GS: I spent Christmas at my aunt's house. We had a great time, opening presents and eating lots of good food. Then for New Year's, I traveled with my brother and our friends to Flamingo Beach and then to Potrero Beach. They're both very beautiful places.

Chicago-Fire.com: Have you gone to any live soccer matches in Costa Rica?
GS: I followed my team, Saprissa, closely and I also went to the league championship, but that's pretty much it.

Chicago-Fire.com: Are you ready to start your second season with the Fire?
GS: Yes, I'm eager to pick up where we left off last year and hopefully take care of some unfinished business. I'm not so sure I want to head back to the cold just yet, but I'm looking forward to the preseason in nice, warm weather.

It's going to be quite a year for soccer with the World Cup and the opening of Bridgeview Stadium. The excitement is building up every day.

There's no doubt it's going to be one of the most special, if not the most special, season for all Chicago Fire fans because of the opening of our new stadium. It's going to be a dream come true for the team, the organization and our fans. I'm very anxious to see the stadium.

Chicago-Fire.com: What are your thoughts on the World Cup draw, and specifically, on Costa Rica's group, which includes Poland and the host country, Germany?
GS: In my opinion, it's a very solid group, and I think Costa Rica has a very good chance of advancing to the next round. Ecuador, Poland and Costa Rica play a very similar style of soccer and therefore the games will be close. There's no doubt in my mind that Germany will finish at the top of the group, because it's one of the world's giants and its got such rich history in the tournament.

Chicago-Fire.com: Which players do you consider most dangerous in the group?
GS: Some of the most dangerous players in my mind will be Germany's Oliver Kahn and Michael Ballack: both experienced, World Cup players who are superb in their respective positions.

Chicago-Fire.com: What type of approach should Costa Rica take as it faces these powerhouses?
GS: The team has to be mentally and physically strong and be prepared to play at the highest level. They must get into a good rhythm and stay competitive at all times. We're one of only 32 teams to be playing at the World Cup, and because of that very reason, we can't afford to take any team lightly. The team has to remain focused and organized, and this will be challenging because it's been one of the team's shortcomings as of late.

Chicago-Fire.com: Which Costa Rican players do you think are likely to do some damage?
GS: Players like Paulo Wanchope, Walter Centeno, Gilberto Martinez, Marin Sequeira, they're important players who will likely bring lots of leadership and international experience to the team. They've also played at the World Cup, and that's a major asset as well.

Chicago-Fire.com: Is there a group that stands out as particularly dangerous?
GS: I would consider Argentina's group, which also includes the Netherlands, Serbia & Montenegro and Ivory Coast, is the "Group of Death." They're all very good teams and I think every one of those games is going to be entertaining and fun to watch.

Chicago-Fire.com: So who will win the World Cup?
GS: Actually, in my opinion, Brazil, Argentina and Germany, have an equal chance of winning it all.


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