Fire sign Brazilian attacker

Midfielder Alex brought in to help shore up attack

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – The Chicago Fire announced on Thursday that they have signed Brazilian attacking midfielder Alex Monteiro de Lima, who trained with the Fire during preseason stints in Ave Maria, Fla., and New Orleans.

The left-footed 23-year-old was acquired on a free transfer from Swiss second-division side FC Wohlen, where he scored seven goals in 44 games over the last two seasons. He’ll be added to the roster on June 27, when the summer transfer window opens.

“He’s a young, good player who can play attacking mid,” head coach Frank Klopas said after practice on Thursday. “He’s got some good ability to go forward and attack and create.”

Alex can play as a forward or as an attacking midfielder in the middle or on the outside. He scored six goals in 62 games during his three years with FC Gossau and FC Wohlen of the Swiss Challenge League.

During his short preseason stint with the Fire, his most memorable moment came when he hit the crossbar against Real España on a left-footed shot from outside the penalty area.

“He’s a very technical player,” Fire midfielder Pável Pardo told MLSsoccer.com on Thursday. “He can play on the left side, he can play the No. 10. He’s a great guy. He was very professional. He’s played for a long time in Europe, so he understands how to play at a high level.”

The club appears to be set in the midfield, especially after the arrival of Chris Rolfe last week, but Sebastián Grazzini’s contract only runs through July. Klopas dismissed the notion that the move was made because of Grazzini’s possible departure.

Klopas said he wanted to acquire Alex during the offseason, but FC Wohlen lost Felipe Martins to the Montreal Impact in December and couldn’t afford to lose the midfielder until the end of the Swiss season.

“This kid can be a striker, he can play attacking midfield, and we can play him in different spots,” Klopas said. “He gives us some different options.”