The Chicago Fire finally got their man, announcing on Wednesday that they re-signed midfielder Pável Pardo to a reported two-year deal. The move was a long time coming for the team, which went 7-2-1 in league play after Pardo arrived in Chicago last July.
”He brings so many good qualities, both on and off the field,” Fire head coach Frank Klopas told MLSsoccer.com on Friday. “For both parties, it made sense to continue this relationship.”
Pardo, 35, was fantastic after signing with Chicago, keying the Fire’s strong finish with one goal and five assists in 13 league appearances. The Mexican holding midfielder’s solid defensive work allowed playmakers Sebastián Grazzini and Marco Pappa to go forward with relative impunity, something that greatly strengthened Chicago’s attack.
The two-time World Cup vet expected to re-sign much earlier in the offseason, telling MLSsoccer.com shortly after the regular season ended that he wanted to have a contract in place by the end of November.
While it took much longer for him to actually sign, there was never much doubt that Pardo would be back in 2012.
“[There weren’t] really any problems,” Klopas said. “In the offseason, people travel, they move around more, so it took longer. But we knew it was going to happen. The important thing is that it’s done and we knew that it would be.”
Fire negotiating with New York over Conde
It was widely reported last week that the Fire were set to deal the rights to former Chicago defender Wilman Conde to New York in exchange for allocation money. No deal has been announced yet, but Klopas did confirm on Friday that the two teams are indeed discussing Conde, who played for the Fire from 2008 to 2010 before moving to Mexican club Atlas last winter.
“We are in talks with New York,” Klopas said. “There’s nothing more to update. There are talks, they have an interest and obviously we feel good with where we are with defenders.”
Dube with team
Stage II Re-Entry Draft pick Kheli Dube is with the Fire for Friday’s opening of preseason camp in Ave Maria, Fla. Chicago have not signed Dube to a deal and plans on evaluating him during preseason training.
“He’s in camp,” Klopas said. “We have his rights, he’s in camp and we’re trying to evaluate him in this process. We brought the guy in because we feel he’s a good player.”
The 28-year-old Dube played in only five games last year due to injuries. The former New England midfielder had 14 goals in 72 career games with the Revs.
Cuesta out of camp
One player not currently with the Fire is out-of-contract defender Yamith Cuesta. The 22-year-old center back played 20 games for Chicago last year.
“With Cuesta, we’re still trying to work things out,” Klopas said. “We’re just trying to work things out, don’t have anything else to say other than that.”