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Fire sign French forward Sinama Pongolle

Florent Sinama Pongolle (Getty Images)


The Chicago Fire may have been unlucky in their pursuit of Jermaine Jones this summer, but that still did not prevent the club from bolstering its squad ahead of the roster freeze deadline.

The Fire announced on Tuesday that they have signed French forward Florent Sinama Pongolle. The 29-year-old most recently played for FC Rostov in Russia. The signing comes days before MLS’s Sept. 15 deadline on player acquisitions.

“Florent is a quality player with experience playing in some of the top leagues in Europe,” said Fire head coach and director of soccer Frank Yallop in a statement. “Since he’s been training with us for the past few weeks, we’ve been able to see first-hand the attributes he has. I’m pleased that we were able to add him to the squad as we enter the final stretch of the regular season.”

Sinama Pongolle, who earned one cap with France back in 2008, has played for a number of clubs since beginning his professional career with Premier League heavyweights Liverpool in 2001. Some of the teams he has suited up for include Atletico Madrid, Blackburn Rovers, Sporting CP and Saint-Etienne.

He becomes the latest attacking weapon on the Fire, joining the likes of Mike Magee and Quincy Amarikwa in a summer that saw Chicago lose out on Jones.


What do you make of the signing? Think he can help the Fire make a late push for the playoffs?

Share your thoughts below.


    • honestly i think the best South American players come from Canada, but Mexico is good too.

      And what s a DP? Florent Sinama-Pongole wants to know….

  1. why can’t MLS just drop the big cash for a guy like ZLATAN. He’d cost them 10-12 million dollars a year but would be worth it and you know it

    or heck Fernando Torres. Pay him 8 million a year. He’ll score 20 goals a season and will sell loadsof merchandise

    or heck any star scoring striker in the Portuguese or Belgian or French league. Offer them 2 million a year and you got them as a favorable and dependable DP

  2. I wish I kept a list of all they guys like this that the Fire have signed over the years. Unfortunately, I can’t remember their names. In a year, I won’t remember this guy’s name either.

  3. I dont understand the hate for this move. Dude is a capped french international who has played in many top european leagues. Look at Robert Earnshaw lighting things up. MLS is about 9 levels below the russian league. Pencil him in for an easy 8-12 goals. These mid level european forwards can be very,very good in the MLS. Look at Le Toux.

    • oh yeah i forgot, that dude… whats his name… oh Bradley Wright Phillips who might just break the all time record for goals in an mls season.

      • Jean Alian Boumsong is a capped French international. It means nothing.

        Nine levels below the Russian League? I’m sure you watch the Russian league religiously in your imagination so I will defer to your knowledge and maybe you can educate me. I will politely ignore the team of mostly domestic Russians they sent to embarrass themselves at the World Cup out of perhaps the easiest group in the competition.

        Name a good Russian player for me please. Roman Abramovich would like to purchase him so he can sit in the Yuri Zhirkov Alexei Smertin memorial seat at the end of the Chelsea bench

        Must be the imports then? Yes of course, they play their hearts out for that paycheck… just ask the Forgettable Hulk or Maicon’s cadaver. Samuel Eto’o sure seemed to enjoy that dump. And they really turned heads when they signed that pretty decent Scottish guy. Tell me, what am I missing that these clubs don’t completely own the Champions League?

      • First off, I was joking about the nine levels. But you have to agree that any team out of the Russian league would put a solid spanking on any MLS team. Let’s not compare Sinama Pongolle to a guy who played for Juventus. Lower level european talent that arent getting burn in europe tend to do very well in MLS. Luke Rodgers, Bradley Wright Phillips, Lee Nyugen(American, but sat on the bench in europe), amongst others you could name many players who have done the same Le toux, Aurelian Colin, Landon Primadonna Donovan(hes a bayern munich and leverkusen product). The list is pretty long. On the world cup, the italians didnt even make it out of the group nor did the english, nor did the spanish( you know that team of mostly domestic players, the golden generation of spanish football that won euro 08 and 12 and the last world cup),so whats the point? The fact that dude has gotten so many contracts in europe means that european scouts have seen something in dude that makes them want to offer him money to play, aka talent. I dont see anyone offering Wondolowski a contract to play at sporting or any of the other clubs home boy has played at. Same holds true for players that play for the USA like Besler and Zusi. Believe me, if the offer was there from a major european league, they probably would have taken it, but guess what no body was making a strong move for either of those players. The Russian league is about more than the Russian players, its about all of the talent from the former eastern block countries and the occasional Brazilian tossed in for good measure. On the european competition front, Zenit have done very well in europa league. By the way, Hulk is nice. Dude plays for the brazillian national team. He was also AMAZING at Porto.

      • Ok I hear you and I think there is an explanation for our difference. I bristle at the argument about “any” of the Russian teams would dominate MLS, particularly as there is an illusion that teams not named CSKA or Zenit are any good (who has seen them play ever?) But it’s outside of your initial question,… which I did not address so here goes.
        The hate you describe is probably overstated but it is real and it reflects the latent mistrust among MLS fans for guys who underproduced repeatedly for top Euro teams. Guys like BWP and Earnshaw are not so bad in this way . BWP spent most of his career as the punchline younger brother of SWP, and Earnshaw has spent his entire career in the trenches at Championship and “yo-yo” clubs. They got nothing for free and have earned their jobs by doing dirty work for unglamorous teams.
        Sinama Pongolle is a different case. You can thank probably Lothar Matteaus for this, but MLS fans have a scar about people with entitlement issues, and this includes lesser players who have made a career out of being overpaid based on stale pedigrees. Sinama Pongolle sends up bad red flags this way—he was among the hottest properties on the planet after being the top youth forward during the era when France owned everything. He has never justified his salaries and every move he has made has been a reflection of this disappointment.

        Having said that, I would be very pleased to see him prove me wrong. Does he want to be here? Fantastic if he does, but he had better show it.

      • I think this has the potential to be a great move for the team. Especially if they are not paying him DP money.

      • He’s under 30, has played in several of the top 5 leagues, maybe he won’t be a star but he would seem to be worth the risk if you are a team like Chicago who just lost their top scorer to injury. Generally speaking, any player who has played regularly in a top 5 league and isn’t too old, is an upgrade for MLS. There will always be exceptions, but it’s a good rule of thumb, IMO.

      • I concur with both of you that not paying DP money makes the deal work (although Jesus– gotta bring in a DP some time Chicago!). It isn’t a big risk and it offers the right upside… this is a 29 year old player with enough time left to salvage a nice ending to a (thus far) disappointing career. If he can get 12-15 goals /yr for two years in a town starved for a star, he might feel appreciated for a change. It depends what motivates him… maybe he has never felt “at home” and he cottons on in a place like Chicago. We shall see… he could be a good story if expectations are managed.

      • Bradley Wright-Phillips had a long track record of consistent goalscoring before coming to MLS. This guy… does not.

      • But I have lots of love for BWP. My redbulls would be an absolute shame and nowhere near the playoffs without his 21 goals.

      • The best thing Sinama Pongolle could possibly do is realize that he is nobody here, and that is a good thing. I felt like BWP got that lesson pretty well, which is impressive given his family background and the lingering stench of John Rooney at NYRB.

        Most of the people who will watch him play won’t have any expectations at all for Florent. not something he’d find in Europe. And if it doesn’t work out, he is probably a good enough athlete to start for he Cubs

    • Fire fans are waiting for their Jermaine Jones, or Bradley, or Henry, or Defoe, or Keene, or Dempsey, they are not waiting for their SINAMA PONGOLLE. I am not saying he wont do well, but its not very exciting at this point.

  4. oh this team named fire who plays outside their beautiful city, should be an elite mls team.
    what’s even more sad, ronaldinho could have been their beckham.
    i dont wan to over think but if chicago keeps going like this, they will need a rebrand and new owner and what if a new chicago team from nasl comes to inner chicago, what would happen.

  5. God Bless the Chicago Dumpster Fire. I guess they didn’t feel like forking out the extra spare change for his cousin, Anthony Le Tallec, who is also a blue-blooded disappointment, and even has Sunderland credentials

    • Because Mike magee is out 6-8 months after hip surgery. Knew as soon as they brought this guy into train something was wrong with Magic Mike.


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