BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. — He may have only played the first half, but Pável Pardo was the Chicago Fire’s best player in Saturday’s 2-0 win over the Colorado Rapids at Toyota Park.
Pardo, who was subbed off at halftime with a strained right calf, played a key role in both of the Fire’s goals, assisting on Dominic Oduro’s 17th-minute tally and playing Sebastián Grazzini behind Colorado’s defense before the Argentine midfielder crossed to Cory Gibbs for the Fire’s 35th-minute insurance goal.
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The Mexican midfielder — who signed with Chicago on July 26 — also did a good job defensively, limiting the impact of Rapids center midfielders Jeff Larentowicz and Pablo Mastroeni throughout the first 45.
“Pável was very good for us,” Fire interim head coach Frank Klopas said after the match. “He’s the pivot guy that kind of connects the midfield line and the backline. He’s very good with the ball, very experienced guy and organizes the team really well.”
Unfortunately, Pardo wasn’t able to continue his strong performance in the second half, going off at the break with his calf injury. He told reporters after the match that he didn’t yet know the extent of the injury, which could conceivably keep him out of next week’s US Open Cup semifinal match against the USL-Pro Richmond Kickers.
“We’ll see,” Pardo said when asked if he’ll be available for the Aug. 30 game. “I was sore in my calf and then it was just tight. We decided it was better to come off because sometimes when you play and when the muscle is tight it can get worse. Now I have to rest, get a massage, just relax the muscle a little bit more and then we’ll see on Tuesday.”
Missing Pardo would be a big blow for the suddenly surging Fire, who have greatly benefitted from the 35-year-old’s strong performances in their recent four-game unbeaten run.
“I think we are together more, we’re playing more with the same [starting 11] and that’s better,” Pardo said. “We’re playing better and better and better and you saw it today, [with us] being compact and organized. I think now we have to say we’re proud about the team. And, of course, we have to keep it going.”
Sam Stejskal covers the Chicago Fire for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @samstejskal.