Deris Umanzor hasn’t had much time to settle in Chicago. The defender left CD Aguila in El Salvador, began training with the Fire last week, signed a deal and received his international transfer clearance all in time to lineup last Saturday against the San Jose Earthquakes. All of it happened so quickly that Umanzor hasn’t yet found a place to live.
“I haven’t had much time to look,” said the newest Fire signing. “I’ve been more focused on integrating into this team, but it’s on my to-do list – hopefully I’ll find somewhere soon.”
The left back is the third Fire addition with connections to El Salvador this year, reuniting with international teammate Julio Martinez and former El Salvador boss and current Fire head coach Carlos de los Cobos in the Windy City.
Umanzor was happy to see both men upon his arrival in Chicago last week.
“I’ve played against Julio when I was with Aguila and he was with Metapan [in the Salvadoran league] and obviously we’re friends from the national team. I much prefer to be on the same team than play against him. As for Carlos, his results as the boss for El Salvador come with a reflection of his work – he was very important for revitalizing the men’s national team over this World Cup cycle.”
Both men have helped Umanzor in his adjustment to the team and the city of Chicago as a whole.
“Carlos and Julio are people that I am already very familiar with so it allows me to get used to this place more quickly than I would if I didn’t know anyone here. I’m thankful to have two friends already in Chicago.”
No spot on the pitch has been as questionable as left back for the Fire this season. Umanzor slotted into the lineup there in last Saturday’s 2-1 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes at Toyota Park. He became the third Fire player to appear in the position in as many games this season.
Sixty-four minutes in, the debutante defender was replaced by his competition at left back, Krzysztof Krol, coming on to help produce the go-ahead goal. Umanzor admittedly wasn’t pleased with his own performance in the match.
“To be honest it wasn’t near my best. It wasn’t good at all and not the way I wanted to play in my first game with the Fire. I’ve come to realize that every time you change your league or team you have to adapt to their style of play. Saturday wasn’t my best outing but I’ll be better prepared for the next match.”
Head coach Carlos de los Cobos knows that Umanzor can perform better than he did in the loss and is looking forward to the competition at left back between the Salvadoran international and Krol.
“We were a little disappointed with Deris’ performance on Saturday,” said de los Cobos. “He’s adapting to the group and we know he’s a very good player that will help us this season. He’s going to have great competition at that position with Krzysztof and I’m looking forward to both players pushing each other to do better. They both have very good qualities but also things they need to improve on.”
Traditionally it’s D.C. United that carries players with Salvadoran connections, given the large population that exists in the nation’s capital. With Umanzor, Martinez and an honorary Salvadoran of sorts, Carlos de los Cobos all part of the Fire, there may be a few friendly fans with the clubs clash this Saturday at RFK Stadium.
“I know there are a lot of people from El Salvador in Washington and if they’re there to cheer for us that would be perfect. I haven’t thought much about it – I’m just looking forward to the game and hope to do my best in front of any crowd in the league this season.”