BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- For the first time this season, the same right back started in consecutive games for the Chicago Fire with Wells Thompson manning the outside back position admirably in Sunday’s 3-1 win over New York.
He held two Designated Players at bay, starter Tim Cahill and substitute Thierry Henry, with the exception of the sub’s 25-yard strike that glanced off the post.
“I asked Henry if he wanted my autograph,” Thompson jokingly said. “Henry is one of the best players to ever play the game. Cahill’s is probably one of the best headers of the ball that I have ever played with.”
The right back position has been a revolving door from the outset of the season. Jalil Anibaba got the nod on opening day at LA Galaxy, Steven Kinney then took the position against New England before Michael Videira filled in at Sporting KC.
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With both Videira (concussion) and Kinney (quad tightness) hampered with injuries, Thompson was called on the past two games.
“We have such a great team,” Thompson said. “Unfortunately we have had a lot of injuries this year. I got the opportunity to step in and play, it’s exciting.”
For the second straight game, the converted midfielder, has the looked the part of a savvy veteran defender. Even though he played outside back just three or four times for his previous team, the Colorado Rapids.
“Right back is a new position for me, something I’m still learning and getting used to. I have versatility and that is one thing that has benefited me throughout my career.”
He managed to lock down and bring stability to the right side of the park in addition to getting forward at times.
“I’ve really enjoyed it and thrived when I’ve got the opportunity to play there. I have an engine so I can get up and down the flank.”
The North Carolina native, who came into his seventh season in the league as a vet with 150 games, helped flip the switch after a difficult 0-3-1 start.
With Arne Friedrich potentially making his return against Houston, Anibaba will probably slot back into his natural wide position. This would likely push Thompson back to the bench, but that won’t keep the reserve from competing for minutes.
“I would like to lock the down the spot and become a regular starter."