Fire sign Uruguayan forward Puerari

Fire sign Uruguayan forward Puerari

Thursday, Feb. 3, 2011
Posted: 1:15 PM

By Jamie Bradley

The Fire took another step in their rebuilding process on Thursday, signing Uruguayan forward Gaston Puerari. Puerari, 25, played most recently for the Montevideo Wanderers of the Uruguayan Primera division.

In 35 appearances with Montevideo Puerari scored eight goals and with his previous team, the Rampla Juniors, he knocked in six goals in 30 appearances.

His signing makes him the tenth new player to join the Fire since the 2010 season drew to a close and the team lost a number of its big name players.

Puerari is expected to have a good shot of finding a spot on the team as there are currently only two other forwards on the roster, Calen Carr and Patrick Nyarko.

Luis Solignac, Michael de Leeuw score in Fire's fifth straight preseason win

Luis Solignac, Michael de Leeuw score in Fire's fifth straight preseason win

The Chicago Fire's preseason continued with yet another win on Wednesday.

Luis Solignac and Michael de Leeuw scored off headers in each half in a 3-2 Fire win against United Soccer League foe FC Cincinnati at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., on Wednesday.

Solignac's goal came in the 31st minute following a short corner. John Goossens whipped in a cross from the left after the corner and Solignac headed it home.

Cincinnati had put the ball in the net earlier in the half, but it was ruled out for offside.

A lineup that featured mostly Fire regulars in the first half was swapped out at halftime. For the second straight preseason match the Fire played two different elevens in each half.

Homegrown signing Djordje Mihailovic played his first game action of the Fire's preseason as part of the second half lineup, playing in central midfield. He was with the U.S. under-19 team for the Fire's first week in Florida.

Trialist Chad Barson, who has made 50 appearances with the Columbus Crew from 2013-2016, started the second half at right back.

De Leeuw's goal in the 70th minute was also a header. Patrick Doody crossed from the left and de Leeuw headed it back across to the far post for the 2-0 lead.

Cincinnati got on the board in the 88th minute when rookie goalkeeper Stefan Cleveland came too far off his line to clear a cross and an easy header went into the net.

A minute later the Fire restored the two-goal lead with rookie Matej Dekovic finding some open space on the back post following a corner kick. Dekovic was able to easily score from close range.

The frantic finish continued when Kenney Walker scored directly from a free kick in the 90th minute for Cincinnati's second goal. It came just seconds before the end of the match.

Former Fire defender Austin Berry, who won 2012 MLS Rookie of the Year, started for Cincinnati.

The Fire are now 5-0 this preseason with one game left in Florida before returning to Chicago. The Fire will take on Toronto FC on Saturday in Tampa.

Nemanja Nikolic channels his inner MJ in jersey number

Nemanja Nikolic channels his inner MJ in jersey number

Jersey numbers can be a big deal in soccer. Who is the team's No. 10? Who is the No. 9?

Nemanja Nikolic, a forward who joined the Chicago Fire this offseason as a Designated Player, didn't have the choice of either number that is famously associated with marquee attacking players because both were taken by returning players on the Fire. Instead, he landed on a number more famous in Chicago sports than in soccer.

Nikolic will be wearing 23.

The Fire announced the jersey numbers for the 2017 season with Nikolic's 23 a part of the list. Every returning player kept the same number as last season.

It goes without saying that wearing the No. 23 in Chicago comes with an extra bit of notoriety. Ever since Michael Jordan donned the No. 23 for the Chicago Bulls, it has been a common sight to find the best player on a Chicagoland high school basketball team wearing No. 23. That doesn't translate to the world of soccer, but in Chicago fans will notice.

A spokesman for the club said the number was more coincidence than intentional MJ reference, but if Nikolic has a good season don't be surprised to see signs at Toyota Park referencing Nikolic's jersey number.

In the preseason some of the players have been wearing different jersey numbers from what they will in the regular season. Nikolic has been wearing No. 9 in preseason matches.

Here is a list of the other newcomers and the numbers they will be wearing:

Jorge Bava: 1

Dax McCarty: 6

Djordje Mihailovic: 14

Juninho: 19

Daniel Johnson: 20

Stefan Cleveland: 30