Chicago Fire head coach Frank Klopas says it was an easy decision to bring Iván Guerrero into camp after the former Fire midfielder and defender moved his family to Chicago.
The 34-year-old former Honduran international played 74 games for the Fire from 2005 to 2007 and was named the team’s MVP and Defender of the Year in 2005. He led the team with nine assists in 2006.
“He’s a little older, but he brings a lot of experience,” Klopas said during a media teleconference on Thursday. “He’s always kept himself in tip-top condition. You know what you’re going to get with him. We had the opportunity to bring him into camp. He’s a green-card holder, so it was a no-brainer to bring someone with that kind of experience in.”
Guerrero played left midfielder and left back during his time with the Fire. He was left unprotected for the Expansion Draft ahead of the 2008 season and the San Jose Earthquakes promptly pounced. Guerrero eventually split his time between the Quakes and D.C. United in 2008.
Klopas, who wasn’t with the team three years ago, questioned the Fire’s move to let Guerrero go in the first place.
“He’s a versatile player,” Klopas said. “He brings a lot of energy. I was a little surprised back then that they moved on without him on the team. I thought he brought a lot to the table.”
Stathakis returns to Greece
Defender Stavros Stathakis has returned home to Greece, where he plays for Skoda Xanthi, after playing for the Fire in their exhibition against Florida Gulf Coast University on Wednesday.
The Washington Post reported the Fire placed a discovery claim on Stathakis.
“I can confirm that he was in camp,” Klopas said when asked about the discovery claim. “He was able to come for a very short time. He had a situation with his passport. He’s returning back home. That’s one option that we have, but we also have a couple more.”
The Fire’s depth at center back took a hit when Josip Mikulic and Yamith Cuesta left Chicago, and it’s doubtful that either will return in 2012.
Klopas easing players into game fitness
In the first two preseason games in Florida, Klopas split his players into three groups that played 30 minutes each. Uruguayan striker Frederico Puppo and Guatemalan midfielder Marco Pappa played Wednesday against Gulf Coast University for the first time after arriving late to camp after going through the visa process.
Klopas says he’ll split the team into two groups that each play 45 minutes when the Fire travel to New Orleans to take on Honduran club Real España on Saturday.
The Fire will also make trips to Charleston, S.C., and Ventura, Calif., to finish out their preseason.