Deris Umanzor hasn’t had much time to settle in Chicago. The
defender left CD Aguila in El Salvador, began training with the Fire last week,
signed a deal and received his international transfer clearance all in time to
lineup last Saturday against the San Jose Earthquakes. All of it happened so
quickly that Umanzor hasn’t yet found a place to live.
“I haven’t had much time to look,” said the newest Fire
signing. “I’ve been more focused on integrating into this team, but it’s on my
to-do list – hopefully I’ll find somewhere soon.”
The left back is the
third Fire addition with connections to El Salvador this year, reuniting with international
teammate Julio Martinez and former El Salvador boss and current Fire head coach
Carlos de los Cobos in the Windy City.
Umanzor was happy to see both men upon his arrival in
Chicago last week.
“I’ve played against Julio when I was with Aguila and he was
with Metapan [in the Salvadoran league] and obviously we’re friends from the
national team. I much prefer to be on the same team than play against him. As
for Carlos, his results as the boss for El Salvador come with a reflection of
his work – he was very important for revitalizing the men’s national team over
this World Cup cycle.”
Both men have helped Umanzor in his adjustment to the team
and the city of Chicago as a whole.
“Carlos and Julio are people that I am already very familiar
with so it allows me to get used to this place more quickly than I would if I
didn’t know anyone here. I’m thankful to have two friends already in Chicago.”
No spot on the pitch has been as questionable as left back
for the Fire this season. Umanzor slotted into the lineup there in last
Saturday’s 2-1 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes at Toyota Park. He became the
third Fire player to appear in the position in as many games this season.
Sixty-four minutes in, the debutante defender was replaced
by his competition at left back, Krzysztof Krol, coming on to help produce the
go-ahead goal. Umanzor admittedly wasn’t pleased with his own performance in
“To be honest it wasn’t near my best. It wasn’t good at all and
not the way I wanted to play in my first game with the Fire. I’ve come to
realize that every time you change your league or team you have to adapt to
their style of play. Saturday wasn’t my best outing but I’ll be better prepared
for the next match.”
Head coach Carlos de los Cobos knows that Umanzor can
perform better than he did in the loss and is looking forward to the
competition at left back between the Salvadoran international and Krol.
“We were a little disappointed with Deris’ performance on
Saturday,” said de los Cobos. “He’s adapting to the group and we know he’s a
very good player that will help us this season. He’s going to have great
competition at that position with Krzysztof and I’m looking forward to both
players pushing each other to do better. They both have very good qualities but
also things they need to improve on.”
Traditionally it’s D.C. United that carries players with
Salvadoran connections, given the large population that exists in the nation’s
capital. With Umanzor, Martinez and an honorary Salvadoran of sorts, Carlos de
los Cobos all part of the Fire, there may be a few friendly fans with the clubs
clash this Saturday at RFK Stadium.
“I know there are a lot of people from El Salvador in
Washington and if they’re there to cheer for us that would be perfect. I
haven’t thought much about it – I’m just looking forward to the game and hope
to do my best in front of any crowd in the league this season.”