Monday, August 1, 2011
Pardo, Fire hoping for quick fix
By Charlie Corr
BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- Chicago Fire defensive midfielder Pavel Pardo is not sure what his long-term future holds.
Pardo said that he is under a six-month contract with the Fire, and that perhaps he will extend his stay beyond 2011. For the 35-year-old Guadalajara native, he has indicated that MLS could be his final stomping ground on the pitch, after wanting to join the league for several years now.
"I know it was a long time talking, and then fortunately I came here to Chicago," Pardo said last week. "I'm very happy to start the last years in my career and the last years in football here in MLS. For me, it's really interesting. It's a new challenge."
While with Club America, Pardo stayed in contact with Andell Holdings' Javier Leon, Fire interim head coach and technical director Frank Klopas and Fire president Andrew Hauptman. Pardo said there was a comfort factor in moving to the Fire organization.
"He always wanted an opportunity to come into MLS," Klopas said. "He was not only looking for a place where he wanted to play, but also looking to his future and maybe living in a different country. He's visited Chicago many times with the national team and he always liked it."
Pardo and the Fire do not exactly have much time on their clock for an adjustment period. The former Mexican international needs to get up to speed as Chicago (2-5-12, last place in the Eastern Conference) prepares for two games in a five-day stretch -- the Philadelphia Union on Wednesday at Toyota Park, followed by the Fire's road trip against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Sunday.
"I'm not ready, honestly," Pardo said last week. "I think maybe next week, or maybe in two weeks. It depends how I feel in practice."
Whether or not Pardo is good to go right away, Klopas and the Fire likely will either continue with captain Logan Pause in his customary defensive midfield role, or move him to right back, where he has experience in that position.
"They're different players," Klopas said of Pardo and Pause. "They can play together, they can play in different spots. It's good that they have different qualities where you're able to move them if you need to. Those are good qualities to have as a player, to have more than one spot on the field."
The other big focal point is midfielder Sebastian Grazzini, who made his Chicago debut during the Fire's 3-1 loss to Manchester United on July 23. Grazzini was a 62nd-minute sub in that match, and Klopas is happy with the 30-year-old's progress.
"I liked what I saw from him [last week]," Klopas said. "He's been working double sessions with our fitness guy, and he's looking better and better. It's good to see his progress."
With the midfield acquisitions, Klopas hopes that he has some useful versatility from a tactical standpoint.
"There are different ways we can play -- 4-3-3, 4-2-3-1, 4-4-2, diamond in the middle to fit everyone to play," Klopas said. "So we have different options. It just depends on the team that we're playing and what we want to do. We can play with the wingers who have more pace on the outside. It's going to be an interesting four, five days."