BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- Entering his 11th season in Chicago, Fire veteran Logan Pause still enjoys the annual return to Toyota Park to begin another preseason.
“This time of year is so much fun to get back and see everyone again,” Pause told Chicago-Fire.com Friday. “It’s a fresh start for each and every team and I think this past year definitely made guys more eager and excited to come back just from how we finished.
“I think our expectations have grown and we’re all excited about our new additions as well as the guys that are coming back.”
WATCH: Javier Leon on the SuperDraft
The Fire captain refers to three players added from within the league: Maicon Santos (Decemeber’s Re-Entry Draft), Joel Lindpere (trade from New York this month) and Jeff Larentowicz (trade from Colorado this week) in the new Fire arsenal that began reporting to Chicago on Friday.
The moves signaled a slight change in philosophy from previous offseason acquisitions who almost all seemed to come from abroad. According to Fire President of Soccer Operations Javier Leon, they were just better options.
“When it came down to our offseason scouting trips, we weren’t really convinced with what we saw there,” Leon said at Thursday’s SuperDraft. “Coming back, we looked around the league and we felt there were opportunities with certain players that could make us better.
“Starting with Joel [Lindpere], certainly we liked that guy the moment we played that first game at Red Bull in 2010. He was their MVP that year playing in the middle of the field and we felt that was an area we needed to see if we could improve and have better competition.
“With respect to Jeff it was a little bit of the same thing. Here’s a guy that obviously won an MLS Cup. He didn’t win it with New England, he won it with Colorado so therefore we felt bringing him in, he was the type of player we were looking for.’
With news on Thursday that legendary Mexican international Pavel Pardo was contemplating retirement, both additions of Lindpere and Larentowicz began to make much more sense.
Certainly both players carry a pedigree in MLS and while the pair will no doubt challenge Pause for time in the middle of the park, the Fire captain is high on their acquisitions.
“To be honest both of those guys are going to help this team and make us better and that’s the only way I’m looking at it. They’re both great additions and good, proven players in this league but also guys you want in the locker room and on your team.
“It’s good to have healthy competition and guys competing for spots. That’s not going to change anything we’re trying to do as a group and it doesn’t change anything I’m trying to do."
Other Notes from Physical Day
Both Larentowicz and Santos will arrive into Chicago ahead of Saturday's VO2 Max fitness test while defender Arne Friedrich also hasn't reported.
In a decision made at the time of his re-signing last fall, the 2012 Fire Defender of the Year was given an extra week ahead of joining the team with head coach Frank Klopas saying he expects the former German international to be in camp towards the end of the team's stay in Ave Maria, Fla.
Goalkeeper Sean Johnson will join the team for the second phase of preseason following completion of U.S. Men's National Team camp at the end of the month.