Juan Luis Anangonó joins the Fire

The Fire's newest addition officially signed his MLS contract today and joined the team for Tuesday morning's training session. Juan Luis Anangonó didn't participate in full training but did light work and fitness on the side with Tony Jouaux. The Ecuadorian forward said he's not fully match fit at the moment but he's been working so it shouldn't be long before he's ready. "It's been about 25 days since the season ended in Argentina but I've been training with the national team trying to stay active but I'm not 100%. I think I'm at about 80% fit." he said at the conclusion of his first practice.

"He was playing and training with the national team in Ecuador," said coach Frank Klopas in addressing the player's fitness. "The thing is that he hasn't stopped so it's not like we're talking two months. He's been training so it's good. I'll get some feedback from Tony and get his idea and go from there. He looks pretty fit to me." Anangonó may be working his way back to full game fitness but he probably won't be available this weekend in Houston unless his visa is received and paperwork is completed by then.

Anagonó was presented with the chance to come to MLS after Fire officials approached his representatives a few weeks ago about a deal in the United States. "The Fire spoke to my management, and they spoke about a good opportunity to come here and decided to come to MLS," said Anangonó when asked about pursuing another contract in Ecuador. "I think it's a good league. It was a good opportunity to come here and do things right and play good soccer in a good league," he said. "First, the possibility of coming here to the US was a great opportunity that could open other doors for the future. That was my motivation for coming here".

Anangonó got good reports about MLS from Ecuadorian players Miller Bollaños, Osvaldo Minda, and Joao Plata who all spoke highly of the league. They felt MLS would be a good fit for him and suggested he make the move. He also conferred with the Ecuadorian coaching staff about the league and how making the move would affect his standing for selection going forward. "Yes, I've spoken to the national team's technical staff and they told me it was a good opportunity and if I did well here it would open doors for playing on the national team," he said.

Klopas wasn't ready to commit to starting him right away but does feel he brings a different element to the squad. "Everybody's got to earn the right to be on the field. He's a good player that's why we brought him here but he's got to earn that. He's got a lot of good qualities and he's a player that can impact our team," said Klopas. "He's a guy that can play high up the field. He's got pace and looks to get behind players. Physically he's strong and he's good in the air, that's one of his strengths".

Anangonó described himself as "fast, strong, and good in the air" and a player that can finish well at the forward spot while having the ability to adapt in any formation. "I've played in many alignments. I've played in 4-3-3, alone up top, 4-4-2. I don't have a preference for the type of game," he said. Klopas has the option to use him in several different combinations with Mike Magee and/or Chris Rolfe on the pitch. "With Chris if you get him around the goal he's good and he can combine. He can come underneath and he can play out wide. It gives us different flexibility. He's (Anangonó) different because he's more of a target player higher up the field as a pure forward that looks to get behind and use his pace and his strength. He can play to feet, he can play to depth. He just gives you a different element that will give the rest of the guys a little more space in the midfield. We have the ability now with his pace to stretch the opposing team," said the gaffer.

With the Fire on the outside of the playoff chase the club needs to mount a second half charge but it may be a few games before the newest player can make an impact. Anagonó says he's not feeling any pressure yet and is looking to fit in first. "I'm calm. I'm coming here to mesh with all the guys here and to be part of the group. I'm just going to try to work for the team and I'm hoping to do big things for the team," he said. "It's about the team. There isn't one guy that's the savior," said Klopas. "He's going to make us better but it's the team that gets you there".

Notes and more

  • Speaking of the playoff chase, Klopas addressed the need to make up points quickly as the second half of the season is in full swing. "Time is running out. As every game goes by there's fewer games to play and we need points. In the second half we play a lot more teams within our conference and those are huge games. You can make up a lot of ground or fall further back," he said.
  • The Fire will continue to look for reinforcements up until the transfer window closes on August 8 but he explained that the process isn't always clear cut as August approaches. "I think up to the last day we're going to be looking to see if there are opportunities to improve the team. Sometimes this late in the season it's a little bit more difficult. In Europe right now things are happening so there's more opportunity but for us you have to get players like Juan who have been training and have been with the national team. You don't want guys now, who take two months from a fitness standpoint to get ready then you're almost thinking about next year. If there's an opportunity within the league to add one more guy we'll be looking at but it's not always so easy with roster space and all that."
  • Patrick Nyarko returned to full training after sufferring from strep throat this past weekend.
  • Dilly Duka did not participate in full training but did some work. Klopas called his status "day to day".
  • Guatemalan centerback Elias Vasquez is no longer with the club but Yamith Cuesta is still in training. "He (Cuesta) was here with us before and at this moment it was a better option from Vasquez," said Klopas of the decision to continue to look at Cuesta over Vasquez. "You look at some depth in that spot (centerback). You never know what's going to happen. We have some flexibility to move certain guys around. Jalil can play centerback. I think it's good when there's continuity in certain spots where guys can play and get more comfortable in that position. We're looking at it but I think we have other options where we can move guys in spots to give us some depth. It's a good thing to have guys that can play some different positions".

 

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  • This signing sounds a lot like this one http://m.chicago-fire.com/news/2011/05/fire-sign-cristian-nazarit

  • In reply to MikeRUZE:

    Yikes....this guy appears to be more mobile than Nazirit.

  • In reply to MikeRUZE:

    And this one: "Asked about what he expects MacDonald to bring to the team, Fire head coach Frank Klopas said, “He has pace, can hold the ball up top, can shoot with either foot. He’s very smart with his movement in the box. In the game as far as creating space for himself or others he does well."

  • In reply to Modibo:

    In all fairness, he did that for two months last year. ;)

  • I'm willing to withhold judgment and give him a chance. But this one better work out.

  • In reply to manyou07:

    +1

  • In reply to manyou07:

    "But this one better work out."

    Agreed. If this one fails even remotely as spectacularly as some of our prior flame-outs, we *have* to draw one of two conclusions:

    1) The higher-risk, 'value-seeking' style of DP hiring doesn't work, or
    2) We have serious scouting/FO issues.

    It would take me a lot of buy in to 1), because other teams appear to have successfully played the value game. You do expect some of the signings under that model to flame out - but our track record is... Which speaks to 2). Again, if you aren't going to spend the money it takes for proven commodities, you expect some of those signings to flame out - but I'd argue that, if JL fails, the sample size is starting to get large enough at this point that it becomes difficult to chalk it up to a string of bad luck...

    In either event, we're at the point where the money we've blown on 'hope fors' over the past few years could have collectively bought us a strong, proven commodity...

  • In reply to colbyaw:

    I would say its 1 because of 2, it doesn't work because our scouts are crap. If he does work out I would chalk it up to luck. It's worked with other teams and that seems to be the logic they are using to continue their method but it hasn't worked here. There's also more value that a known star brings to the team aside from being a strong contributor on the pitch. There's the added media attention, merch/ticket sales, credibility to the organization that legitimizes the team. If I were in charge I would want one well known DP for those reasons alone. I presume it's also easier to sign big name players when players they respected have played for that organization. They seem to be giving the reason for not signing an older known DP because its short sighted but I would argue signing these young unknown players as being equally short sighted. Anangono made comments about the move to MLS as being something that opens up new possibilities for the future, that doesn't sound like he is planning to be a star here and play out his career here to me. Any young player that has success is not looking to stay in a lower league, if he establishes himself as the guy a move to Europe would probably be more desirable to him.

  • I want Aimar.

    Even if he only played in half of our games due to injury. Alex platooning with Aimar would be awesome.

  • In reply to Fuegofan:

    That would be interesting. The Galaxy are sniffing around according to SBI and a report out of Argentina.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Andrew did say he was willing to spend Keane-type money - so why not divvy that up a few ways? Aimar would kill it in the MLS.

    Would the expense be worth it? Well, you couldn't script a more marketable story than seeing a big run for the playoffs from here on out...

    (Before we start dreaming too much, wouldn't an additional int'l move require loaning out MacD?)

  • In reply to colbyaw:

    yes it would

  • TFC boss Tim Leiweke, the main man behind the Galaxy's parade of DP's talks about the difficulty of finding the right guy in this interesting article......

    http://www.thestar.com/sports/soccer/2013/07/22/tim_leiweke_fishing_for_designated_players_for_toronto_fc.html

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    interesting article indeed, thx for posting it

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    "...you cannot make a mistake on a DP. You have to be right. You’ve got to find a guy with character, a player that’s willing to understand the uniqueness of Major League Soccer and the style of play that we have here."

    He goes on to talk about DPs in the Beckham / Henry mode (not surprising). I would add GBS at Columbus there, and Blanco. Guys who move the needle, are not a locker-room cancer, and are patient with younger players and fans. Now, he's assuming that a DP is getting buckets more salary than the other players on the team.

    This does not describe MacDone, nor does it describe Anangono (can we get a nickname for this guy, quick?). Anangono is too old to be a "young DP" (23 is the cut off from what I understand), but he's not really old enough to take on the kind of leadership role that Leiweke described. Nor will he have the huge salary gap. But still, he will have to deal with the expectations of being a player who earns several times more than some of his teammates. That's not something that MacDone really seemed to understand.

    Fact is, it's a challenge. It's not just going to a different league where everyone makes about the same money and your main worry is making the squad week to week and staying out of the media (especially for the wrong reasons). Let's hope that Anangono has the qualities to be a true DP. I'd say he should be like Fredy Montero, but Montero got himself a fair share of undesirable headlines. FM 2.0 would do.

  • In reply to Modibo:

    Since the league is so opaque we don't know: (1) WHY we paid a fee at all for a player whose contract is expiring. (2) How much that fee was. (3) What his current salary is. (4) How much of it is guaranteed for next year.

    *And I would add to that: do we know how much of Soumare's salary counts toward our cap?

    My point is that this dude may not be making much more than Magee or Soumare or Big Red or Rolfe, and yet we blew a few hundred grand on a transfer fee so he gets this label and level of expectation, when a better label for a dude like this would be a Developmental International--but he's have to be willing to work for that public radio money like Tornaghi does to technically get it called that under current rules as I understand them.

  • Mackie retweeted a tweet from his lady-friend/fiance/wife/girlfriend talking about loving Chicago but "can't wait to be back in Amsterdam." Foreshadowing?
    A deal in the works?
    Reading too much into a tweet?
    All of the above?

  • In reply to c0quito18:

    I think they're trying to work out a move for him.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    how would they move him? i mean, who would take him? i admit i don't know much about the loan process...i suppose the salary remains the same and they have to negotiate who pays how much? i guess maybe if they ate some of the salary i could see it...if a team wanted an out of shape, poor performing forward...

  • In reply to Drew:

    There may be some demand for him in the Netherlands or Belgium apparently. How much, if any of his salary they end up paying we may never know but he will clear up an international spot, and potentially DP cap space.

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    I think we scouted BigMac better than the Fire. One look at Youtube and a glance at his stat sheet told us all we needed to know.

  • I cant stand Mac just as much as the next guy but he did look dangerous when he first joined us. He was making good moves off the ball and was holding the ball up well for us. Now he is terrible and wants to leave and we want him to leave. I dont mind going with a small market guy for a "little" bit of money. We have a good thing going right now and a big market signing would be a nice boost in sales but they are always going to be older and who knows if they are coming here for the right reasons. I kind of like getting a player that is coming here with something to prove. Hopefully this new guy can allow Magee to roam even more and make things happen like he has been. If he works out, we can let Rolfe play out wide and rotate in with Nyarko and Duka and let them get some rest. Magee seems like the perfect type of player to play just behind the striker and hopefully the new guy will be that striker that he plays behind. Im excited about this team.

  • Guys I went to the practice today and the little I could see if of old Juan was good. He is tall and fast. He does not run like he has gout a la the big Mac

  • fb_avatar

    Guillermo. I found this letter from AH and this link for $12 USOC semi game tickets. Did you already announce this? Sorry, I didn't see.
    http://www.chicago-fire.com/news/2013/07/open-letter-andrew-hauptman-august-7-us-open-cup-semi-final-toyota-park

  • In reply to Kao Xiong:

    Thanks for posting that. Get out to the USOC game!

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    For the first time in nearly 4 years, I actually will be there in TP for a game!

    And I decided to make the trip from the East Coast even before Hauptmann decided to offer $2 hot dogs and free parking, although that does sweeten the deal.

    Now, I'm just hoping the boys take care of business.

  • fb_avatar

    awesome! go fire!

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