With Álvaro Fernández reportedly off to Qatar on a six-month loan, the Chicago Fire aren't left with a clear replacement at left midfield.
But head coach Frank Klopas (above) offered his reassurances, saying the Fire have the players on the roster to fill the position if they don't bring a new midfielder in.
“Obviously, we're always going to be looking at different options, but I do feel that, in our group, we have players that have the flexibility to play different spots,” Klopas said on a teleconference from the team's first phase of training camp in Ave Maria, Fla. “We have Alex that can play in the wide spots. We have a guy like Chris Rolfe who has played out wide. Even Wells Thompson, where we brought him in late in the season.”
Rolfe played on the outside during his first stint with the Fire from 2005 to 2009 and during his time with Aalborg BK in Denmark. Alex and Thompson both played some out wide after Fire acquired them midseason, though Thompson only played in four games for Chicago.
Reports about the Fire's interest in Columbus midfielder Dilly Duka have made the rounds, and that remains a possibility with the Crew reportedly set to trade the Rutgers alum in the coming weeks.
“If there are opportunities that come up inside the league or outside, we're also going to look at those,” Klopas said.
Bone off to Madrid
Corben Bone became the third Fire player this offseason to train with Atlético Madrid, the Fire's “Team for the World Alliance Partner,” when he left for a 10-day stint this week. Bone, who officially re-signed with the club on Monday, will rejoin the club when they head to Ventura, Calif., for the Fire's second phase of preseason.
Bone may challenge for the vacant outside midfield spot, but his more natural position is in the middle of the field, where the Fire have plenty of options. Bone only played in two games last season, the third and final year of his Generation adidas contract.
“Corben, when you see him in practice, he's a kid that has a lot of ability, he's fast, he's technical, but I think that has to translate into the game,” Klopas said. “I think he has to take those opportunities that he gets and make the best of him. … We believe in him.”
Pause talks Pardo
Pável Pardo officially called it a career over the weekend after a 19 seasons playing professional soccer, one-and-a-half of which were spent in Chicago.
In his relatively short stint, Pardo helped turn around a Fire team that didn't make the playoffs for two straight seasons.
“I think he had a massive impact during his time here, both on the field, which I think everyone saw, but I think even more so in the locker room how he held himself each and every day,” captain Logan Pause said. “He's just a top-class professional. I think, myself included, you don't often have an opportunity to share the field and share the locker room with a guy like that.”