Newly acquired midfielder Alvaro Fernandez had his first run-out with his new club on a balmy Chicago morning Tuesday.
“[Practice] went well,” Fernandez said via translator. “I’m trying to fit in and get to know my new teammates, hopefully trying to improve every day.”
Coming to the team by way of Seattle last Friday, the Uruguayan international joined forward Sherjill MacDonald as the second Designated Player acquired by the Fire in less than a week.
Unlike the Dutch striker, Fernandez comes into Frank Klopas’ side in midseason form, having appeared in 14 matches for Sounders FC this season.
Asked about being ready to play, Fernandez said, “Physically I’m fine. I’ve been training. It’s up to the coaches and I’m trying to learn the [new] system to fit in with the team.”
“With ‘Flaco’ he knows our league and our team,” Klopas said Tuesday. “He’s fit and ready so the transition should not be difficult. Obviously he has to get used to the teammates and he we do things but he’s a smart player.”
Klopas stated last Friday that he didn’t have one position in mind for his new acquisition but that he planned to play him throughout the midfield. Fernandez echoed that sentiment Tuesday.
“[I feel comfortable in] any of the positions in midfield. In Seattle I was played on the left even though I’m a right-sided midfielder. I feel comfortable in all four of the midfield positions so where they want to put me, I’ll do my best.”
With the summer reinforcements in place, there’s no doubt that depth has been added to the Eastern Conference’s fifth place team to make a run up the table on the way to the playoffs, though Klopas sees it a bit differently.
“I felt like that from the beginning. I felt like that last year when I stepped in. I believed in the group. Certainly we always look to improve and provide depth to the team but I always felt that we had a team that could be in the playoffs. Within the league here [last year] we missed it by one win. We finished very strong.
“The depth is better and there’s more competition for spots on the team. It’s about the team and you have to count on all the players throughout the season.”