After missing out on the Fire’s 2010 opener, defender Krzysztof Krol made his MLS debut in last Saturday’s 2-2 draw away to the Colorado Rapids. On loan from Polish side Jagiellonia Bialystok, Krol made a solid defensive contribution, helping the side earn its first point of the new campaign.
Making the transition from one league to another often provides players a learning curve, though Krol looked comfortable at left back. Despite having not played a full competitive match recently, he felt good about Saturday’s performance.
“I don’t remember the last time I played 90 minutes in a league game,” said Krol following Tuesday’s training session. “I obviously come in without a great knowledge of the league and didn’t want to give up too much going forward. I had some difficulty in the last 20 minutes but I think I put in a solid performance and we earned a result in a tough place to play on the road.”
One of two changes made by head coach Carlos de los Cobos ‘ defensive corps from the opener against the New York Red Bulls, Krol did well dealing with the international attacking tandem of Conor Casey and Omar Cummings, as well as handling Mehdi Ballouchy down the right flank.
Overall the former Real Madrid man has been impressed with the quality of play he’s seen so far in Major League Soccer.
“There’s a lot of running so fitness is very important and I need to continue to gain in that area. On top of that, players are physically strong all over the field and play with a lot of intensity. This is a good league with talented players and a place for guys to build their game in order to step to the next level.”
A fan favorite in Chicago’s Polish community before stepping foot on an MLS pitch, the European veteran is looking forward to playing in front of a home crowd for the first time in 2010.
“We had a long preseason where we learned what Carlos expect of us and we’ve started the year with two matches on the road. I’m personally excited for my first game here at Toyota Park on Saturday and I know everyone’s looking forward to playing in front of our fans for the first time this season.”
The 23-year-old already experienced an outpouring of support from the Fire’s Polish fans at the club’s Season Kickoff Luncheon two weeks ago and will receive a more intimate welcome Wednesday night when the Husaria Supporters Group hosts a “Meet and Greet” at the Retro Café with the club’s newest Polish signing.