LARENTOWICZ: "I'm happy for a new challenge with the Fire."
The Fire have made a big splash on the eve of the 2013 MLS SuperDraft in Indianapolis, acquiring veteran midfielder Jeff Larentowicz from Colorado in exchange for allocation money, an international roster spot and the team’s 11th overall selection in Thursday’s draft.
The move is the club’s second high profile acquisition within the league this month after the team acquired Estonian international midfielder Joel Lindpere from New York in exchange for an international roster spot two weeks ago.
“I’m happy for a new challenge,” Larentowicz told Chicago-Fire.com Wednesday night. “It feels good to go to a place where you’re in the plans. Frank has been very forthright in coming after and it’s something I look forward to being a part of.”
Heading into his ninth MLS season, Larentowicz has shown great durability since first breaking into the New England Revolution starting lineup in 2006, appearing in a minimum of 26 matches every year since that season and helping the Revs to the 2007 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup title.
In his Revolution years, Larentowicz took part in many a contentious rivalry match as the two teams slugged it out in the Eastern Conference playoffs five straight seasons.
“In my time in New England the Fire were always our biggest rivals. We were very similar, very competitive teams that were hard-nosed.
“It’s just kind of the nature of things that both teams had wanted to win in the past but now I’m part of the Fire and I still have that same competitive spirit that’s going to come and work for Chicago.”
Interestingly, the Brown University product took part in a number of contentious clashes as a member of the Revs against his new side before being traded with current Wells Thompson to Colorado in exchange for former Fire defender Cory Gibbs and goalkeeper Preston Burpo in a January 2010 deal.
Larentowicz and Thompson both helped the Rapids to their first-ever MLS Cup title later that year as the cagey redhead formed a strong midfield partnership with former U.S. international Pablo Mastroeni.
Perhaps most interesting about the trade is the current bulk of central midfielders on the team’s roster. Larentowicz joins Lindpere as well as incumbents Logan Pause, Pavel Pardo and sometimes starter Daniel Paladini in central midfield.
“I’ll be competing for a spot and it’s an opportunity to come in and show that I deserve to be in the lineup and that’s what I expect.
I know those guys from playing against them – they’re all good players and I look forward to competing for that spot.”
Following the Lindpere deal, Fire head coach Frank Klopas signaled that more moves could be in the offing and with the congestion that currently exists in the middle of the park, the dealing might not be done just two days before the team reports to Toyota Park for 2013 physicals.
Though Thursday’s SuperDraft seems likely to be a light affair for the Fire, fans making the short three-hour trek from Chicago Thursday morning will still have something to cheer about as the Fire also picked up Colorado’s second round pick (30th overall) in the deal.