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Article updated: 1/29/2013 7:20 PM

Fire giving McKenzie a second look

By Orrin Schwarz

Rauwshan McKenzie will get a second look with the Chicago Fire, coach Frank Klopas said Tuesday.

McKenzie, a Hoffman Estates native, is on trial with the Fire in Florida in the first phase of preseason training, which ends Wednesday with an exhibition match against the Columbus Crew. Klopas said during a conference call that McKenzie has earned an invitation to Phase 2 in California.

"We'll see how he fits, if he's a player who can make our team better," Klopas said.

McKenzie, 26, has spent time in Major League Soccer with Kansas City, Real Salt Lake and last season with Chivas USA, appearing in a career-high 20 matches for Chivas.

The center back is one of several players on trial with the Fire.

"I don't want to talk about any specific players," Klopas said, "but I've just been happy with the group.

The soccer, the technical part, has been getting better every day."

The rookie:

Klopas seemed happy with the potential of second-round draft pick Yazid Atouba, a 19-year-old left midfielder from Gambia. Atouba was the Fire's only selection in this year's SuperDraft.

"He's a young player, he's a talented player, but with anything now he's got to start playing with more structure," Klopas said, noting Atouba needs more discipline and improved decision-making. "When to dribble, when to pass, when to hold the ball, all that stuff has to get better."

Atouba also will go with the club to California next week.

"He's got a lot of talent and he's willing to learn and listen," Klopas added.

Follow Orrin on Twitter @orrin_schwarz

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