Sega Happy in Chicago

Defender welcomes Toyota Park return

The last few weeks in Fire Land would have to be considered successful.

The announcement of two Designated Player signings and the team’s recent
victory over league-leading Los Angeles Galaxy have perhaps overshadowed the
return of fan favorite Gonzalo Segares following a six-month stint with Cypriot
club Apollon which ended earlier this summer.

A veteran of 130 Fire matches across all competitions from 2005-09,
Segares ranks third on the current roster in games played for the club, sitting
behind only C.J. Brown (361) and Logan Pause (220).

“I’m happy to come back to Chicago,” said Segares. “The past couple of
months were frustrating, just waiting around to see what was going to happen
with my club situation. I think Frank [Klopas] called me at the right time and
tried to figure out what I was doing and I was still free. I started my career
here and they’ve always been good to me here, I was really happy to come back to
the Fire.”

The Costa Rican international’s reacquisition should signal that the club
is looking to strengthen itself on both sides of the ball as the team pushes
for a twelfth playoff appearance in 13 seasons. The club’s current position in
the MLS standings is one that the defender wasn’t used to during his first
stint in Chicago.

“This is a very good team but I think it’s been a rough season with a lot
of injuries. Culture-wise it’s hard in this league to get used to a coach from
overseas, but I’ve been watching a bunch of games and the team’s play and
mentality have improved. Little by little the incorporations of [Freddie]
Ljungberg and [Nery] Castillo are going to help and hopefully getting John
[Thorrington] and Patrick [Nyarko] back will make us even better.”

Having seen a number of
Fire games this season, Segares was also familiar with the team’s new style of
play under Carlos de los Cobos, contrasting the way the club played under
previous manager Denis Hamlett the past two seasons.

“I can tell he
definitely wants to keep more possession instead of being as direct as we were
last year. The mentality of Latin football: keeping the ball, making the passes
and then creating from there. I think that’s something he’s trying to
integrate, especially for the guys from the States that are maybe not as used
to that style of play. It may take a little while but getting used to his ways
is only going to make us better.”

Though he oozes Fire
seniority, the Virginia Commonwealth product was unable to take back his old
number 25 as rookie goalkeeper Sean Johnson began wearing it this season.

“I’m wearing #31 because
Sean has my number and he’s playing pretty well right now so I’ll let him keep
it. It’s fine by me.”

Segares will hope to be
available for selection for next Wednesday’s important Eastern Conference clash
as the New England Revolution visit Toyota Park for the second time in 31 days.
The two clubs last met in SuperLiga on July 17, with the visitors taking a 1-0
win back to Boston.

Jeff Crandall is the Chicago Fire’s Team Writer. Follow
him on Twitter