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Chicago Fire add goalkeeper depth with signing of Kenneth Kronholm

Kenneth Kronholm has been with Holstein Kiel in 2. Bundesliga for the last five seasons

Goalkeeper Kenneth Kronholm during a match with Holstein Kiel in 2018. The Chicago Fire signed Kronholm on May 7, 2019. Photo credit: Holstein Kiel

David Ousted has been a solid addition as the Chicago Fire’s starting goalkeeper, but the team still added another player to the spot on Tuesday.

The Fire acquired German-American goalkeeper Kenneth Kronholm from 2.Bundesliga team Holstein Kiel. The 33-year-old is under contract with the Fire through 2021 with a club option in 2022.

Kronholm was born in Virginia, but has played his entire professional career in Germany. He has made 326 professional appearances since his debut in 2005 and has been with Holstein Kiel for the last five seasons.

Kronholm has spent most of his career in the third and fourth tiers in Germany. He was the regular starter in the second tier the past two seasons.

“Kenneth is a player that we have scouted and pursued at length,” Fire general manager and president Nelson Rodríguez said in the team’s press release. “We believe his talents fit our game model very well and he was really committed to joining our club. We’re looking forward to welcoming him to Chicago.”

The Fire already have four goalkeepers under contract. Ousted has started all 10 games for the Fire this season. Richard Sanchez, Stefan Cleveland and 14-year-old homegrown signing Gabriel Slonina are also on the roster. Slonina is the only one of the four guaranteed past the 2019 season. Ousted is 34 years old, so he’s unlikely to be a particularly long-term solution, but Kronholm is only 10 months younger.

Ousted has made costly mistakes this season, but has also made spectacular saves at times. He has been the team’s most solid starting goalkeeper since the Fire jettisoned longtime starter Sean Johnson after the 2016 season.

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