Puerari, Cháves off to hot start with Fire

Uruguayan striker tandem already on same page in Chicago

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – The season may be young, but new Fire strikers Gastón Puerari and Diego Cháves have already made a big impact.

The Uruguayan forwards – who briefly played together in 2009 at Uruguayan club Montevideo Wanderers – have been impressive in their first two games in Fire uniforms, flexing their creative muscle in the final third and combining for three of Chicago’s four goals.

They have demonstrated fantastic on field chemistry together, mixing and matching their contrasting styles to give opposing back fours fits. Cháves has shown to be more of a target forward while Puerari plays as a supporting striker.

[inline_node:332071]“We have different styles, but the same mentality,” said the 25-year-old Cháves, who signed with the Fire on Feb. 18 after spending one season with Uruguayan club Nacional. “We know where the other is in the field, and we know where the other guy moves, so we know where to put the ball and how to play together.”

“I think it’s definitely something where we are on the same page,” added the 25-year-old Puerari, who arrived in Chicago on Feb. 3 after spending the last two years with Wanderers. “We have the same thoughts and we’re looking toward the same goal.”

Puerari and Cháves – who are good friends off the field – have impressed their new teammates with their strong start.

“We’re so happy to have them,” said Fire captain Logan Pause. “You see how dynamic they are and they work so well together. I think that’s important. And they not only work when we have the ball but also when we don’t have the ball. They’re going to do the dirty work.”

Their willingness to do the little things has made a big impression on Fire winger Patrick Nyarko, who appreciates that the Uruguayan duo covers his deep runs into opposition territory.

“They make it a lot easier,” Nyarko said. “When you make a run deep in, you know you’ll be covered. It’s a lot better than running in and you’re worried you’ll make a mistake and it’ll go the other way because no one’s there to cover. It’s just more comfortable.”

Cháves and Puerari are already a third of the way to matching the combined goal total of 2010 forwards Brian McBride, Nery Castillo and Collins John. The good early returns have everyone on the Fire excited.

“We’ve embraced them,” said Nyarko. “I think they’re going to be very good.”

Sam Stejskal covers the Chicago Fire for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at sam.h.stejskal@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @samstejskal.