The Chicago Fire added a key piece to the jigsaw on Tuesday morning, as Ecuadorian striker Juan Luis Anangonó arrived as a Designated Player.
With the Fire actively looking for a new international striker, they’ve found their man as 24-year-old Anangonó has signed from Argentinos Juniors.
The physical forward has spent most of his career playing domestically in Ecuador with Barcelona SC and El Nacional before signing for Argentinos on loan.
So how will he compliment the Fire’s current crop of forwards? He’s certainly different.
Anangonó is a direct replacement for Sherjill MacDonald, as President of soccer operations Javier Leon has indicated that the Dutchman is heading closer to the exit door at Toyota Park. And the Ecuadorian’s style will give Chicago something they need. Power.
In Mike Magee and Chris Rolfe, the Fire possess instinctive strikers who can finish and manipulate little gaps in between defenders. But they don’t have a striker who can run at people and pick up long balls clipped in behind. Anangonó is your man.
He can finish, is good in the air and can operate on the flanks as well as an out-and-out striker. But Chicago do have a history of DP’s failing to settle in, so Frank Klopas will be hoping Anangonó takes to life in MLS quickly.
You only have to mention names such as Álvaro Fernández, Guillermo Franco, Federico Puppo and Rafael Robayo to realize their checkered history with marquee signings.
Cautious optimism is likely to ensue from Fire fans, and you can’t blame them.
But if the YouTube video below is anything to go by, MLS is gaining a hard-working striker who scores predatory goals and causes problems with his lanky frame and willingness to run on the last shoulder of central defenders.
If Anangonó can peel off towards the full backs of opposition teams and Magee, Rolfe and Joel Lindpere can find him with passes, the man from Ecuador has the potential to be the Fire’s best DP signing yet.
Then again, he hasn’t got much competition for that accolade, has he?