BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – New Chicago Fire midfielder Arévalo Ríos is only 5-foot-6 and 160 pounds, but it took little more than a greeting for Dilly Duka to see that the Uruguayan forward will bring toughness to the club.
“I mean, have you ever shaken the guy's hand?” Duka said with a laugh. “It seems like defensively he's going to run through people. That's what it seems like just by his handshake. He'll throw you to your knees, just shaking his hand."
The Fire officially acquired Ríos on loan from Serie A side Palermo on Wednesday after freeing up the requisite international spot to add him to the roster. He agreed on terms with the club before the transfer window closed last Thursday.
If his visa and ITC are processed in time for Saturday's game against the New England Revolution as the club expect, the 31-year-old should make his debut start this weekend.
“He's been training, he's a guy that's fit,” head coach coach Frank Klopas said last Friday. “He's been doing a lot of running, so it's good to do a lot of touches with the ball … I think he would be ready to go.”
Chicago cast off Sherjill MacDonald, a Designated Player who hadn't scored this season, to make room for the 2011 Copa América champion Ríos, who has earned 46 caps for Uruguay. “El Cacha” will likely miss games against Seattle and Toronto in September and another against FC Dallas in October when Uruguay play their last four World Cup qualifiers.
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But while he's with the Fire, Klopas seems confident Ríos will make his mark on the team.
“He's one of those guys that works extremely hard, his positioning is very good, he's good with the ball and his timing, when to go in and when not,” Klopas said. “He's an experienced guy. Obviously you want to play quick but calm at the same time, and he doesn't panic.”