It always seems odd when Major League Soccer teams are still adding players (often from around the world) just six weeks from the conclusion of such a long season.
But today is it; MLS rosters will be frozen when the day is done. With that, teams have been busy making any late additions.
Chicago had a notable one today in Guillermo Franco, a former Mexican international striker who brings two World Cups worth of experience to Frank Klopas’ team.
Franco’s signing at Toyota Park is no game-changer; at 35 years old he’s unlikely to crack Klopas’ starting lineup.
Then again, he doesn’t need to. With Chris Rolfe (having an underrated summer of influence on his surging side), Sherjill MacDonald, Dominic Oduro and Patrick Nyarko, Franco only needs to carry his weight in additional depth. If they get two or three goals down the stretch and maybe a goal- or an assist in the playoffs, Franco’s signing will have been well worth it.
Assuming he’s a good locker room character (no reason to believe Franco isn’t), considering a world of experience (in Argentina, Mexico, England and Spain) and considering that the Fire have international slots to spare, there’s little downside here.
Side note: interesting that Franco was once a polarizing figure, the centerpiece of a debate about whether Mexico should use naturalized citizens on its soccer team. That was a practice for which former coaches Ricardo La Volpe and Sven Goran-Eriksson were particularly criticized.
Further, La Volpe kicked up a tsunami of public fuss when he selected Franco and Antonio Naelson (another foreign-born attacker) ahead of Cuauhtemoc Blanco for the 2006 World Cup.
Blanco, of course, would later play for … yep, the Chicago Fire.