BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- Soon-to-be Fire Designated Player Arévalo Ríos trained with the first team for the first time on Tuesday morning, clearly with hopes that he’ll be able to make his debut in Saturday’s game at New England.
“I definitely hope to play,” Rios told reporters through a translator. “I’ve been talking to Frank [Klopas] and Leo [Percovich] -- I got picked up for a reason. My experience and the ability that I have. I’m hopeful to play Saturday.”
The hold-up for Rios’ clearance continues to be the lack of an available international roster spot but the club has been forthcoming in saying they’re seeking a loan for Dutch forward Sherjill MacDonald and Klopas indicated Tuesday that could be close.
“I’m waiting to hear what happens,” said the Fire manager. “The thing is from tomorrow when we start doing tactical work in training, I’d like to know today to have him for that. It’s important to have him… I think I’ll know more hopefully today or tomorrow.”
Getting him on the field as soon as possible is of the utmost importance to the club. With 12 matches left in the regular season, if Rios is called away for Uruguay's three remaining World Cup qualifiers, he'd mist the team's matches at Seattle (September 7) and Toronto FC (September 11) as well as at FC Dallas (October 12).
In terms of what he adds to the team, Klopas spoke glowingly of the experience and technical ability he expects the Uruguayan international to bring to the Fire.
“He’s one of these guys that works extremely hard, his positioning is good. He’s an experienced guy, there’s no doubt about it. You want to play quick but also calm at the same time. What can I say? You’ve seen the guy in big games, the most important thing is he fits into the team and he earns respect by what he does on the field.”