The Chicago Fire could be on the verge of adding a significant amount of international experience on the back line. On Thursday, head coach Frank Klopas confirmed a Washington Post report that the club are interested in German international centerback Arne Friedrich.
“That’s someone that we are looking into, that we do have some interest in," Klopas admitted. "That’s all I can say."
Klopas has said throughout preseason that he would bring in another central defender.
“We’ve looked at different players,” he said. “We definitely have one player we’re looking into at this point. Hopefully we can wrap this up pretty quickly.”
The 32-year-old Friedrich, who is currently out of contract, has 82 caps with Germany and was a starter at both the 2006 and 2010 World Cup as well as the 2008 European Championship.
Inter ‘keeper likely to stick around
Klopas said he plans on keeping Italian goalkeeper Paolo Tornaghi on the Fire’s roster.
The 23-year-old product of the Inter Milan youth system would be the third goalkeeper on the Fire’s roster. Tornaghi played all 90 minutes of Wednesday’s game against Columbus in the Carolina Challenge Cup in Charleston, S.C.
“I thought he had a good performance,” Klopas said. “He comes with a lot of experience playing in a very good system at Inter. He’s one of the guys that we want to try and keep on our roster. “
While spots 1 through 20, the Salary Budget Players, had to be submitted to the league on Thursday, the Fire still have decisions to make on the final 10 spots.
The club has at least four unsigned players in camp, including rookies Lucky Mkosana, Hunter Jumper and Tony Walls.
While Jumper is a virtual lock for a roster spot, Mkosana and Walls have been on shakier ground. Klopas said he’d take Mkosana back to Chicago. He didn’t say the same for Walls, but he did say he saw positive things from the rookie out of Green Bay, who has played defensive midfield and right back.
“It’s going to come down to the decisions that I’ve been talking about,” Klopas said. “They’re difficult ones, but it’s a good process for this team because there is a lot of competition for a few spots. It raises the level of the team.”
Midfielder Pável Pardo missed Wednesday’s game against Columbus because of personal issues. Pardo is back with the team and will play on Saturday against the Charleston Battery.
“With Pável, I knew about a month-and-a-half ago that he had some personal issues he had to take care of, but he’s back with the team,” Klopas said. “There was no concern with any injuries. He had spoken to me with our schedule.”
Sebastián Grazzini and Cory Gibbs sat out of Wednesday’s game with hamstring injuries, and Austin Berry sat with a lower leg injury he picked up on Saturday against D.C. United. All three are questionable for Saturday’s game.