MLS- Chicago Fire

Fire Notebook: Pardo not yet fit to start after making practice debut and more



For years, Pavel Pardo planned on ending his career in MLS.

Finally, after a long courtship with the Chicago Fire front office, the former Mexican international signed with the team early this week. He practiced the Fire for the first time on Thursday.

"In my career, I have always had plans. I was in Europe, and I said, 'OK, I'll stay in Germany four or five years then come to MLS and play my last years,'" Pardo said. "Of course you never know what happens in life. I went back to Mexico City and played for America. I said, 'OK, it's time to go to play in MLS.'"

Pardo most recently played for Club America after three years at Stuttgart, winning the Bundesliga in 2007. He made it clear that it was his decision alone to leave the Mexico City club, and he was not forced out by manager Carlos Reinoso.

"I decide everything in my career," Pardo said. "Some people think it's because Reinoso do this, or do this, but that is a lie."

The 35-year-old midfielder also said he footed part of the bill to come to Chicago, where his grandparents already live. His contract runs through the end of this season, but he said his stay will likely last one or two years after that.

"When I went to Germany, I paid for going to Germany. I paid to America to play and do my dream. So now I have to try in America until December," he said.

Now, Fire interim head coach Frank Klopas will have to figure out how to work Pardo into the lineup. He plays the same defensive midfielder position as team captain Logan Pause. 

"(Pause and Pardo) are different players. They can play together, they can play in different spots. It was good that they have different qualities to move in if he needs to," Klopas said.

"He's an experienced guy. I think he's going to come around pretty quick. He's one of the guys who knows when to run, to be in a certain spot and that's what experience does I guess. You run less, you think more and you're always in the right spot."

Pardo's signing, along with that of Sebastian Grazzini just weeks before, creates a glut in the Fire midfield with Marco Pappa, Dominic Oduro, and Patrick Nyarko also vying for spots.

Pardo and Pause played alongside each other in a 10-on-10 scrimmage Thursday. Although Pause has played defense during his career, Klopas suggested that Pardo's fitness is not at a level where he can be the lone holding midfielder. 

Klopas didn't give a clue what his starting lineup would be, though he listed off formation options, including a 4-3-2-1 and a 4-4-2 with a diamond in the middle. As usual, he said the lineup would be under week-to-week consideration.

Pardo said he isn't yet fit enough to start, though that could change in the coming weeks.

"I'm not ready," he said. "I'm an honest guy. I think maybe next week or in two weeks. It depends how I practice, how I feel, my body. The most important I've always said is the head. If the head Is 100 percent, you can do good things."


The Fire traded defender Dasan Robinson to Toronto FC for defender Dan Gargan and Toronto's 2012 second-round draft pick.

"We have a lot of cover in that position," Klopas said. "I didn't see where Dasan was going to get minutes to play, and we were able to make that trade and bring a player in who can play a couple of different spots and give us some flexibility. We also got a draft pick which is very important. Those are hard to come by."


Klopas said he's pleased with the progress of Argentine playmaker Grazzini, who signed with the Fire two weeks ago.

"You can just see his movement is a lot better and more fluent and stuff," Klopas said. "I like what I saw from him (Thursday), because he's been doing double sessions with our fitness guy. He's getting better and better. It's good to see his progress."


With two new midfield signings, it appears that Oduro will play forward for much of the rest of the season. Though much of his success this season came playing on the wing, Oduro wouldn't mind the move.

"I'm always ready and prepared to go, like I say, up front or on the wing, I think I'm 100 percent either way," Oduro said. "Shoot, I'll even play defense if he wants me too, if he wants me to shut somebody down with speed or whatever."

  • David Bowie

    MLS needs more signings like this to control the flow of action.

    Like Frings and Jeferson, this is the experienced foreigner that is going to improve the play around him and set an example for young Americans (eg Beckham, Blanco, Schelotto, Marquez, Llunjberg etc.)

    Look for strong second halves for Chicago, Toronto, and SKC


  • Stouffer

    Why does Oduro move to forward? His speed is needed on the wing. Pardo and Magico play the middle. When Pavel is fit, Pause needs to ride the pine. Sarkodie is coming on at right back.


  • Second City

    “For years, Pavel Pardo planned on ending his career in MLS.”

    If that doesn’t get you excited as an MLS supporter or Chicago Fire supporter, I don’t know what will!


    ZzzZZzzz. Wake me up when there’s a soft cap on the salary cap or more financial flexibility. Signing retirees is money that should be spent on young talent / transfer fees for said young talent.

    This system was good for the first 15 years but I don’t see it being the right direction for the next 15 years.


  • mistadobolina

    ya does this mean his career is over? this has Nery Castillo written all over it.. prove me wrong Fire!


  • Derio

    Fire has plenty of young talent already, a veteran leader is needed to link up and show them how to play and win. Logan Pause just wasn’t going to be that guy.


  • Second City

    …and you think this 35 year old, needing time to gain fitness and illustrating he’s here to “end his career” is the step needed to turn 2 wins & 15+ draws into a winning atmosphere?

    Essentially the “missing link” or “bridge” to that?

    I’m not buying but I appreciate your optimism. Personally, the Fire aren’t going anywhere until the whole operation is blown up.

    There is simply no direction and Klopas is running the club into the ground after being given the keys by ownership.


  • Eric

    Gah, I love Oduruo. He has been pure class since the trade. He even came and joined us Section 8ers in the parking lot after the Open Victory against New York. He honors that badge!


  • The Rake

    If they play like they did vs. Man U, there are quite a few wins coming. I was impressed with intensity and focus Klopas has his team playing with. I hope they sign him to a long-term deal. He seems to “get it.”

    They were much more competitive than the All-Stars.


  • steve healy

    the fire signing mexican players who cant last more than 20 minutes is getting old real fast i am NOT renewing my season tickets next year stick a fork in the fire they are done


  • mike

    The guy is coming at a pay cut. So nothing like Ljunburg,Castillo, Mattheaus, De Guzman, or Frings looking for a last big pay day.

    Like someone said, this is more like when Andre Dawson begged the Cubs to sign him and gave them a blank check and said pay me what you want (which i think was ultimately more then Pavel is getting paid now)


  • Sigmund

    Freddie L brought life to Seattle and De Guzman/Frings is going to be a nice combo with decent players around them


  • Rutherford

    Heck, Gonzalo “I don’t smoke” Segares would have been tons better than Bobby “I’m not a” Convey


  • chris

    He’s just desperate to find a job that gives him enough money to pay child support. I don’t blame him for wanting to leave mexico


  • chris

    Its when teams make their whole starting lineup old “experienced” players thats when it becomes a problem


  • mike r

    If you want to believe two overpriced over the hill players=1 good one I think you’ll be disappointed. An old midfield tandem like that will be overun (not overskilled but that matters not in MLS) by young MLS midfields.

    The fire have pause to cover all the ground Pavel can’t ….even if covering ground is all he does well…


  • byob

    Skillful midfield are usually the ones that win….See Morales, Ferreira, Schelotto, Beckham, Blanco,, De Rosario etc.

    MLS 1.0 player Pause blows chunks


  • atwellj

    Not sure I agree, I was at the game and Gonzo was getting beat like drum time after time against Man U. He has lost a step … or two.


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