BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Acquired from Montreal last Monday in exchange for Dilly Duka, attacker Sanna Nyassi trained with the team for the first time on Wednesday, doing mostly fitness work in his first session at Toyota Park as he continues his recovery from a high ankle sprain.
Though Fire head coach Frank Yallop said the swap between the two teams had been in the works for a while, Nyassi admitted the news caught him off guard last week, mostly because he had almost completely recovered from the injury suffered in May.
“I was a bit surprised when I got the news,” he told Chicago-Fire.com. “I thought [Montreal] were going to let me heal at least and start playing, get my fitness back fully before they made the trade. That said, I’m happy to be here -- I know it’s a great group of guys and a team that has had success in the past.”
The soft-spoken 25-year-old joins a Fire locker room with some familiar faces. He spent his first two seasons in MLS playing with Patrick Ianni and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado at the Seattle Sounders from 2009-10 and also with Jeff Larentowicz and Quincy Amarikwa during 2011 in Colorado.
“Playing in the past with Ianni, Jhon, Quincy and Jeff I think is going to make everything a lot easier for me. I’m already comfortable here and I think they play a big part in that.”
Sanna Nyassi (middle) trains for the first time at Toyota Park on Wednesday (Leo Flores/Chicago-Fire.com)
Larentowicz in particular said he feels like Nyassi can help the team right away.
“It’s good to see Sanna gain,” the Fire captain told Chicago-Fire.com. “He’s a dynamic attacking player with a lot of speed. I’m not sure how they want to use him but he can play up front, he can play out wide. He gives us another dimension. Speed is something we can use right now and he brings that to us.”
As for his fitness level, Nyassi said he’d gotten back on the field and was supposed to start working with the ball last week before being traded.
While a Fire debut this Sunday vs. New York may be a stretch, the Gambian international says he’s hopeful to play a part in the team’s U.S. Open Cup semifinal visit to Seattle next Wednesday – a place where he won two Open Cup titles.
With Fire forward Mike Magee suspended after picking up a red card in the team’s quarterfinal win at Atlanta last month, having Nyassi as an available attacking option could prove valuable.
“I’m looking forward to that game. I really want to be fit for that game, so I’ll continue working hard on the field and we’ll see how it goes,” he said.