New Fire goalkeeper Kyle Reynish steps back to MLS, ready to push Sean Johnson

After standout NASL season, Reynish ready for new MLS challenge with the Fire

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- With starting goalkeeper Sean Johnson still in the mix for one of three goalkeeping spots on the Jurgen Klinsmann’s World Cup roster this summer, finding a goalkeeper capable of stepping into the mix should he be away was a priority for Frank Yallop and his staff this offseason.

That came Friday in the form of veteran goalkeeper Kyle Reynish who joined the Fire on a free transfer from 2013 NASL champions the New York Cosmos. Having made only eight appearances in six seasons with MLS side Real Salt Lake, Reynish headed to the North American second division to start for the Cosmos inaugural campaign this past fall.

In the process he earned an 8-4-1 record, five shutouts and the league’s Golden Glove as top goalkeeper and backstopped the expansion side to the 2013 Soccer Bowl. While success and playing time at the second division level were the goals, Reynish said the decision to step down a level wasn’t easy.

“It was a tough decision to make,” Reynish told Chicago-Fire.com. “I hadn’t gotten to play that much at Salt Lake so I didn’t know how many options there were. It seemed like the right thing – timing wise, things fell out with Salt Lake right when the Cosmos were starting out and it really worked perfect. I’m very thankful for everything I got to do in New York and most importantly the playing time and getting my rhythm back.”

Returning to the North American top flight was the ultimate goal though.

“It’s exciting to step back up to MLS. This is the top level so to get back and feel like you’re in with the best of the best the country was always in the back of my head.”

“Kyle is a quality addition to our team,” said head coach Frank Yallop. “He gained some good experience with Real Salt Lake, he got some good grounding there and he just had an outstanding season with the Cosmos. It was a good fit for us and we decided to bring him on board.”

With his acquisition, the club’s goalkeeping trio seems set for 2014 as the 30-year-old keeper joins Johnson and second-year Fire backstop Alec Kann on the roster.

Reynish is in a familiar spot as second in the pecking order behind one of MLS’ top backstops in Johnson as his time in Salt Lake somewhat coincidentally saw him sit behind Nick Rimando, Johnson’s main competition for the U.S. side’s third goalkeeping spot at this summer’s World Cup.

Still, the UC Santa Barbara product says he’s here to challenge and push Johnson for the top spot.

“I have a ton of respect for Sean, I think he’s a very good ‘keeper and I’m aware from being behind Nick [Rimando] how good our national team goalkeepers are. At the same time you try to compete and it makes everyone better in those situations. I have nothing but respect for Sean, I’ve met him a few times and I look forward to getting to train with him.”