Guillermo Franco
Chicago Fire Communications

Guillermo Franco Plays 61 Minutes in Reserve's 2-1 win over FC Dallas

Frank Klopas and his technical staff got their first game-action glimpse at new Fire signing Guillermo Franco Tuesday as the former Mexican international logged 61 minutes in the Reserve team’s 2-1 victory over FC Dallas at the Toyota Park Practice Field.

The Fire took a two-goal advantage into the half after Hunter Jumper headed home Victor Pineda’s fifth minute corner kick and Dominic Oduro finished after running onto Corben Bone’s long ball from midfield.

The lone forward supported by Bone, Oduro and Pineda in the team’s 4-2-3-1 formation, Franco hit the post in the 40th minute, turning a defender after Bone played him to the top of the area.

After the break, the striker earned a yellow card for a confrontation at midfield with Bruno Guarda in the 54th minute before making way for Fire Academy product Marcus Epps seven minutes later.

In what has been a busy week for the former West Ham and Monterey forward, Franco welcomed his family to Chicago Monday night before taking part in Tuesday’s match.

“I felt pretty good overall,” Franco told following the game.” Yesterday was a busy day for me, I felt tired but other than that it was alright. “

Asked about his best moment during the match, Franco preferred to speak about the team’s performance.

“Hitting the post is definitely secondary. I liked the team’s attitude, it definitely went beyond the individual attitude, with everyone working hard. Good things are going to happen when you work hard, I was just happy I was able to contribute.”

Before Tuesday’s game, Franco saw his last competitive minutes come as a 69th minute sub for Pachuca in their 1-0 victory over Club America in Mexican League play on May 5.

“He’s an experienced player,” said Fire head coach Frank Klopas following the game. “I think you saw the good qualities he has but the most important thing was for him to get 60 minutes to play. He had good movement to link up at times with the attacking guys, he had two or three good plays going forward. The biggest thing is for him to get fit. He was sore and a little tight after the game which is normal for a player that hasn’t played in a while.”

The status of Franco’s P1 visa and international transfer certificate is still pending. When asked if the club will receive the paperwork in time for Saturday’s game and whether or not Franco would dress, Klopas was open about the opportunity.

“We’ll see. I think it was important for us to have him get some minutes, even if it was a reserve game.  He’s going through a period where he’s sore and tight which is normal and then we’ll see in the next few days. If he’s not available for Saturday, for sure he’ll be available for selection next week [at Kansas City].”

While Franco acknowledged not being ready to play a full game, the mainly substitute role he’s expected to play won’t demand him to be fit for 90 minutes. Asked whether he was ready for Saturday, he said, “I wouldn’t have a problem being on the bench and being ready to help the team.”

Friedrich, Pardo, Paladini Injury Updates

The Fire first team trained prior to the Reserve match with recently injured players Arne Friedrich, Pavel Pardo and Daniel Paladini all taking part following two days off.

Substitute in the 41st minute of Saturday’s 3-1 victory over Montreal due to neck tightness, Friedrich participated in full training.

Meanwhile Pardo, who sat out Saturday’s win with hamstring tightness and Paladini, who missed both matches last week due to a calf strain, continue to slowly work their way back.

Asked about the injuries ahead of Saturday’s Eastern Conference clash vs. Columbus, Klopas said, “Arne will be fine. The other two did some things today and obviously we didn’t push them. With every day, we’ll see how they’ll react. I think Arne will be ready but Pavel and Daniel are question marks right now.”