New Fire midfielder Perez hopes to play Saturday
It might be a good thing new Chicago Fire midfielder Victor Perez doesn't speak English. The Spaniard couldn't understand Fire goalkeeper Jon Busch briefly interrupting an interview to joke about Chicago's weather.
But Perez was very serious about wanting to get on the field and help his new club.
Perez said through a team translator after training Thursday he hopes to be with the Fire a while. He said he has a two-year contract with Spanish club Real Valladolid, which loaned him to the Fire, a loan agreement that runs through June but can be extended.
Perez has been training with the Fire (1-3-0, 3 points) all week and said "he's really looking forward to playing at Toyota Park on Saturday if given the chance" against Toronto FC (2 p.m., Comcast SportsNet).
So far he has impressed Fire coach Frank Yallop.
"Good footballer," Yallop said. "Slotted straight in, like he's been here all season. Looks like he knows the game, obviously. ... Looks like a good pickup."
Perez probably won't start against Toronto. Yallop said he's not sure if he will list Perez as a substitute either.
"We'll see," Yallop said. "He's not played for a while. I'm going to talk to him for a little bit again to see how he feels about his fitness. The guys in the 18 have got to be ready because if there's an injury in the first minute they've got to play 89 minutes or 90 minutes, so you don't want to be taking him off in the 60th when you used him as a sub."
Perez said he likes to play in the middle of the field "to help spread the ball around the field, to open up spaces."
Perez added he "sees good quality here and wants to help bring the team to the next level."
Almost full strength:
In addition to Perez joining the team, the Fire has designated players David Accam and Shaun Maloney back from international duty in Europe.
Both players declared themselves rested enough to play Saturday afternoon despite the midweek travel from Europe.
"No, no, I'll be fine," Maloney said about whether he might need some extra rest. "Look, the manager obviously makes the decision whether I'm fit enough to play, but either way I'll be ready to go."
Accam added that the groin he injured during the preseason is now 100 percent healed.
"I'm good now," said Accam, who has not played a full game since the injury. "I'm feeling good."
Goalkeeper Sean Johnson is "probably out" for Saturday's game after getting hit in the eye during training Wednesday, Yallop said. It would be the second game Johnson missed this season due to injury. Veteran Jon Busch would start in his place.
Not quite 100 percent:
Romanian midfielder Razvan Cocis began training again Wednesday, but Yallop said he is unlikely to be in the 18 Saturday. Cocis hasn't played this season due to plantar fasciitis.
"He's still a little ways away with his foot, but it's nice to have him back as well," Yallop said.
Odd men out:
With Accam and Maloney available for Saturday's match, Lovel Palmer and designated player Kennedy Igboananike could see themselves starting the game on the bench. Joevin Jones would move to left back, with Accam starting at left midfielder.
"We'll see," Yallop said. "My thoughts are pretty much in my head. I don't want to give them away."
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