BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Jeff Larentowicz has started 23 games this year in the center of the midfield, but stability alongside him in the heart of the Chicago Fire lineup hasn’t beeen one of the hallmarks of the 2013 season.
For a few games, Joel Lindpere was the choice in the middle of the park, trying to push the game in his favorite position. Then, Daniel Paladini and Logan Pause had their cracks at the spot before Alex was given a run in the middle. With each position change came a shift for Larentowicz.
“This season, I’ve had five or six partners, and each one is a different guy: different personality, different traits, different style, so I do have to be conscious of what I’m doing,” Larentowicz told MLSsoccer.com. “As each week and each game approaches, I have to think about what exactly I’m going to be doing.”
Finally, Arevalo Rios arrived a few games ago to bring a permanent starter to the position. But Rios will miss Saturday’s game in Seattle (10 pm ET; NBCSN) while he roams the defensive midfield for Uruguay in World Cup qualifying.
Who starts in his place is anybody’s guess.
“Obviously we have guys who can play there,” coach Frank Klopas said. “Logan, Paladini’s played there, Alex in the past has played there. We just need to see where everyone is.”
Alex seemed the popular choice before Rios’s arrival, but with outside midfielder Patrick Nyarko’s questionable status and Lindpere’s absence on international duty, he’ll likely be needed on the wing. Pause could slide in to the spot he occupied for years, or Paladini could reprise the role he played early in the season.
“Whoever they put in there is probably going to dictate what I do,” Larentowicz said. “I don’t know what they’re thinking. If it’s Logan, it’s pretty much a straight swap, if it’s anyone else, I’m probably going to be the more defensive guy.”
Klopas wouldn’t give any indication as to what his lineup would be, but he seemed confident that, with any player he goes with, Larentowicz will be able to adapt just fine.
“I think he’s done well. I think he’s played with Logan, with Alex, with Paladini,” Klopas said. “Those are guys that have been here for a long time and he knows them really well.”