Pavel Pardo Joins The Fire ; Ristic Out

The Fire have signed former Club America midfielder Pavel Pardo and will add him to the roster upon receipt of his P1 Visa and International Transfer Certificate.  Pardo will be available for selection on August 3 at home against Philadelphia and will report for training on Thursday.

"Pavel's international credentials and track record as a professional were defining factors in us bringing Pavel to the Fire.  He will provide additional depth in the midfield as we push for a playoff spot in the second half of the MLS season," said Frank Klopas.

The Fire have also released Bratislav Ristic in order to clear an international spot on the roster allowing them to add Pardo.  MLS roster rules allow clubs to carry eight international players but teams can add additional spots via trade.  Ristic appeared in 17 games, starting 13 over the course of two seasons since joining the team late last year.  As a utility man who has played in midfield and defense Ristic should be able to find a home with another MLS side.

The Pardo signing paired with the recent addition of Sebastian Grazzini opens the possibility of personnel and formation changes in a central midfield that has been relatively weak all season.  Does a Pardo/Grazzini combination in a 4-4-2 diamond formation improve the Fire?  Will a Pardo/Pause/Grazzini midfield utilizing a 4-5-1 formation that effectively pushes either Nyarko, Pappa, or Oduro to the bench be the selection of choice?  Either way, both Pardo and Grazzini are working their way back to fitness after a stretch of inactivity after the conclusion of their previous club's seasons.

Pardo will have some catching up to do and does have a considerable amount of miles on his 35 year old legs but should still be an improvement over what the club currently has available at the holding mid position.  He is still capable of playing at a high level as evidenced by his 33 appearances for Club America in the 2010/11 season.  He's also not a particularly expensive addition given his credentials since he is not joining the club as a designated player.

With only fourteen league matches remaining there isn't much time left to tinker and experiment but with the two new central midfield players and the upcoming US Open Cup Semi-Finals the Fire have managed to make the last three months of the 2011 season a bit more interesting.


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  • the last line is definitely true, at least the organization has given us something to watch and see play out. hopefully he'll help home attendance some as well.

    i really liked ristic last year, thought he was going to make more of an impact than he did. i think part of the problem for him was our depth at outside mid essentially shut him out of his best position thereby making him expendable. he's a solid player and definitely good enough to play in mls.

  • In reply to Drew:

    I just noticed the last line, too... if you think about this in terms of what it does for the Open Cup, then the league games become the time to tinker. August is time enough to figure out what it takes to beat the Richmond Kickers (but I would NOT underestimate them!), and hope we're not decimated by injuries before the final.

    Maybe I am optimistic about this after all...

    But I'll miss Ristic, too. I thought he brought a good work ethic and decent technique to the squad. If the central mid is getting older and wiser, pace and youth seem to be winning out now up front and on the wings at least.

  • In reply to Modibo:'s also worth mentioning that Ristic wore the armband in reserve matches so he was a respected player within the team as well.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    problem is with only 8 international spots, those are like gold, and you need to be a starter or key rotation guy, which for whatever reason Ristic wasn't this season. Sad because he seems like a great guy

  • In reply to lijien:

    Then why keep Maric who hasn't contributed anything so far,
    rather have kept Ristic then a bench warmer.

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    been hurt, and he is the highest salary. We still don't know how good he is.

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    From what someone else wrote, it seems that injured players can't be released. Thus, the Fire could not release Maric.

  • Too bad for Ristic I like what he brought...

  • I would be much more optimistic about this... but I'm not. Pardo and Grazzini are both coming from off-season rest and neither of them is a spring chicken. I like the idea of getting some more Mexican support into TP, but I'm not sure that their on-field contributions will amount to much between their march to match fitness and the changes to the lineup that this will cause.

    Initially I like the idea of a 4-4-2 with Nazarit and Barouch on the field at once, but we have a lot of speed on the wings that we could exploit in a 4-5-1, rotating Nazarit and Barouch (and Chaves, if it comes to that) up top.

    Klopas has got a lot of work to do now.

  • In reply to Modibo:

    Grazzini is 30 years old. That's not old. That's experienced.

  • With the positive attention from the Manchester United game and the signing of Grazzini, there should be maximized interest in the game next Wednesday against Philadelphia. Too bad they don't have another home game on the weekend until August 21st! Let's hope the intervening games don't spoil the renewed interest.

  • so is this a year and half deal with option for another year. ristic definitely brought a spark late in the season last year and this year it just didn't seem the same. well i hope this will end our trophy drought this year and stop hitting those damn posts.

  • In reply to penapirata:

    They haven't released contract terms but your guess would be the ideal terms for the Fire.

  • I am the king of Fire rumors.

  • In reply to iron81:

    Haha......I was waiting for your post Iron. All is well that ends well. Nice job!

  • Is it just this browser I'm on or has the Comments section been fixed a little bit? Much better if it has, I can actually follow a conversation!

    On topic now, I know I'm a bit too overoptimistic sometimes, but yet again I see a great August coming. Turn a few of these draws into wins and we're right back in the picture!

    And to touch on the United game: what a terrific experience and a great production put on by the Fire. On a day like that, the result is of course meaningless in the scheme of things, but the Fire showed very well and I overheard dozens of people at the tailgate saying how good the Fire are and "they have to watch them more."

  • In reply to RedLine55:

    Your eyes are not deceiving you. ChicagoNow has updated the comments section so that they are easier to follow.

  • In reply to RedLine55:

    I'm going to allow myself to be overly optimistic. I look to absolutely pound Philly. They're pretty well regarded at this point. Ives just wrote a piece about them and the Crew. This, then, starts a string of 4 or 5 straight league wins plus beating Seattle in their house for the USOC. We slide into the playoffs and beat RSL for the MLS Cup, thus starting our own reign of terror at home and abroad and ushering in our entrance into the company of MLS media darlings.

  • In reply to Doug:

    Optimism is one thing. Hallucination is another. ;)

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Let's go one step further. The Fire win next year's CONCACAF Champions League and head into the Club World Cup and have a re-match against United and win!

  • Whatever they bring the Fire will need a minimum 26 points out of 14 games to make the playoffs, they cannot have more than two loses,
    need to win at least 7 games and tying 5, not a completely impossible task.

  • Will all the buzz from ManU and Pardo be enough to get a Chicago company to put their name on our shirt. I'm hoping for Groupon. We'll hitch a ride on their bandwagon as well.

  • I feel bad for Ristic. I wish the Fire could have traded a draft choice or something for an international spot. It will be fun to see this new pairing in mid-field though.

  • I don't know which other teams have open spots, but i hope he gets picked up. Maybe Philly, maybe SJ.
    I wish MLS could work like MLB or NHL where guys get called up and down a level. Maric, with his injury could have moved to the Iowa or Rockford equivilant, and everything would have worked out better.

  • In reply to ChrisConnolly:

    or like most of the rest of the world - where teams have players that they can't use right away on the first team, but want to keep them on their roster just in case needed - they send them out on loan to other teams

  • According to SBI, the Fire are adding a second homegrown player to the roster. Forward Kellen Gulley........

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Sounds like good news to me. The next step is getting those homegrown players onto the field. Pineda is still young, though, and Gulley even more so, so they've got time. I like the way the academy is moving right now. On a similar note, the article on the Fire homepage about the PDL team's play-off victory Tuesday night showed the team wearing Best Buy jerseys. Does Best Buy still sponsor the youth teams?

  • In reply to Mateu:

    I don't believe BB is still a sponsor. I'm inclined to think the PDL team just got what left of last season's kits.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    That would make sense, I just would've guessed that any Fire-associated team might no longer be allowed to wear the BB logo following the end of the sponsorship deal.

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