NOTEBOOK: Reserves postponement leaves Fire wondering about trialing defenders Cuesta, Vasquez
BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- Monday’s reserve match vs. New York Red Bulls was supposed to be the chance for trialing center backs Yamith Cuesta and Elias Vasquez to get a look from the Fire as the team looks to add depth to their defensive corps.
Unfortunately the match was postponed to a date to be announced after severe weather hit Bridgeview and Red Bull was unable to reschedule their afternoon flight, leaving the two trialists without a match to show their form.
“It’s unfortunate that today’s game got canceled,” said Fire head coach Frank Klopas. “We wanted to see Yamith and Elias in game action as we look to add some cover in the back.”
READ: Cuesta begins Fire trial
Cuesta played with the Fire in 2011, appearing in 23 competitive matches while scoring two goals in the team’s run to that year’s U.S. Open Cup final.
The 6-3 Colombian center back has been in camp for two weeks while Vasquez, a 21-year-old Guatemalan international who last played for los Chapines in their 6-0 friendly loss to the U.S. Friday in San Diego, joined the Fire following the match.
“It’s disappointing we couldn’t see either of them in today’s game but they’ll be here through Friday. We’ll continue to look at them in training this week and go from there.”
For those wondering if the pair could play in Wednesday’s friendly vs. Club America, unsigned players are prevented from competing in gated international friendlies.
Shaun Francis to the Fire?
It seems that former Columbus Crew and most recently USL Pro’s Charlotte Eagles left back Shaun Francis is set to join the Men in Red.
The Jamaican defender who has been capped five times by the Reggae Boyz then tweeted, “Thanks for the support and excited to be a part of this great club @ChicagoFire. Looking forward to every moment!”
Francis also flew in over the weekend but wasn’t scheduled to play in Monday’s reserve game. It seems paperwork is all that's holding up an official signing announcement.
Selected by Columbus in the fourth round of the 2010 MLS SuperDraft, Francis appeared in 28 matches for the Crew before being waived last June. He has made 10 league appearances, scoring two goals for Charlotte in the USL Pro campaign.
“We remembered him when he was in Columbus,” said Klopas. “Obviously that was a situation where they needed international spots and through the injuries he was a guy that moved on.”
The Fire became well acquainted with Francis over the last month as they faced the Charlotte Eagles once in the U.S. Open Cup and twice in Reserve League play, with the 26-year-old appearing in all three matches.
He also scored the game-winning goal in the Eagles 2-1 reserve win over the Fire on June 29 at Toyota Park.
With starting left back Gonzalo Segares suspended for Sunday’s match at Vancouver, should Francis’ paperwork be completed, he could see his Fire debut come rather quickly.
While Klopas wasn’t willing to commit to that, he did signal a shift as it came to deputy left back Hunter Jumper’s role in the team.
“We’ll see. [Shaun]’s with the team this week and we’ll go from there and evaluate in training. He provides us depth on the left hand side and with Hunter we’re looking more at him now as a left center back.”