Ljungberg and Castillo made their home debuts

Fitting In

Nery Castillo was among the last players off the Fire training field just outside Toyota Park on a steamy Saturday, but he didn't mind putting in the extra time.

"It's difficult to get to 100 percent in 10 days," the Fire's new forward/midfielder said. "I haven't played in a while, so every day after practice I stay and do extra work to try and catch up with everyone."

Castillo, 26, was soaked in sweat but smiling and loose while playing a hybrid version of tennis — kicking or heading a soccer ball back and forth over an bench, first with fellow newcomer Freddie Ljungberg and then with Deris Umanzor.

Castillo is among a trio of newcomers fitting in just fine on a retooled Fire team eyeing a strong second-half run to the playoffs.

"We get along very well and everybody's very friendly," he said. "We just have to get it into our heads that the object is to win, because if you don't win the championship, then for me everything we've worked hard for is in vain."

To read the rest of this article, visit ChicagoTribune.com