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In need of defensive help, Chicago Fire sign Argentine defender Nicolás Del Grecco

Jun 9, 2018; Chicago, IL, USA; The national anthem is performed prior to a game between the Chicago Fire and the New England Revolution at Bridgeview Stadium. The match ended in a draw. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Fire have allowed seven goals in the past two matches, which was a sign that defensive help was definitely needed.

It has arrived in the form of 24-year-old Argentine defender Nicolás Del Grecco. The Fire signed the center back through the 2019 season. The Fire have options for 2020 and 2021.

Del Grecco was most recently with Olimpia in Honduras. He made 12 appearances with the team after signing with them in January. Before that he was with Club Deportivo Libertad de Sunchales in the Argentine third division.

He featured against the New York Red Bulls in this year’s Concacaf Champions League. He went the full 90 minutes in a 2-0 loss at Red Bull Arena on March 1.

The Fire have been in need of a center back to pair with Johan Kappelhof all season. Joao Meira started 27 matches at that spot last season, but left in the offseason to be closer to home.

Saturday’s 3-2 loss in Vancouver and Wednesday’s 4-3 loss to Philadelphia both showed the Fire need defensive help.

Vancouver, a team not exactly known for a high-flying attack, put three past the Fire and had more chances than that. Philadelphia had four goals in eight road matches before doubling that total in Toyota Park.

The Fire are 17th out of 23 teams in goals allowed per game. Last season the Fire were tied for seventh in goals against, but things have changed.

It appeared the Fire had a decent chance to capably replace Meira. Young defenders in Jonathan Campbell and Christian Dean were back and touted homegrown signing Grant Lillard came in.

However, Campbell hasn’t improved, Lillard hasn’t shown to be ready as a rookie and Dean hasn’t played since starting two of the first three matches when the other two were hurt. Instead, Brandon Vincent and Kevin Ellis, outside backs by trade, have filled in at center back.

Del Grecco’s arrival is pending his visa and international transfer certificate. He will take up an international slot on the roster. The Fire are currently at the maximum of eight and have Michael de Leeuw set to take up another spot when he comes back from injury in August. It is possible rookies Elliot Collier and Jon Bakero could go on loan to Tulsa in the USL to free up international spots.




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