Chicago Fire hope Francisco Calvo is the cure for what ails them

The Chicago Fire acquired defender Francisco Calvo from Minnesota United ahead of the end of the MLS Primary Transfer Window. (Minnesota United FC)

By Ernesto Hernandez

 

With less than a week before the MLS transfer window shuts, the Chicago Fire announced that they acquired Costa Rican international, Francisco Calvo, from Minnesota United.

In exchange, Minnesota received a total of $400,000 in allocation money over two years. It includes $100,000 in General Allocation Money (GAM) and $50,000 Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) for 2019 as well as $100,000 GAM and $100,000 TAM for 2020.

Calvo is under contract for both 2019 and 2020 with the Fire having club options for 2021 and 2022, respectively.

In a press release, Fire President and GM Nelson Rodriguez said, “Acquiring Francisco’s talents and character is a big plus for the Club. He is a versatile defender with international experience in the prime of his career. He is familiar with MLS and has demonstrated a competitive mentality that should fit well with our group.”

In acquiring Calvo, the Fire add some much-needed depth to the backline, a potential solution to one of their fullback problems and options for Veljko Paunovic to play with, both in terms of personnel and formations.

With Marcelo and Bastian Schweinsteiger as the team’s center-back pairing, Calvo may wind up being used as the starting left-back, a position he is very familiar with. Jeremiah Gutjhar has currently been deployed as a make-shift left-back and as well as he’s done in an emergency situation, the Fire need someone with more experience and who is more of a natural in that position. Should one of the center backs get injured or require a rest, Calvo can be used there as well.

As Nelson Rodriguez mentioned, he is very familiar with the league and has had a successful international career, including representing Costa Rica in the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

The only downside is Calvo does appear to come with a bit of baggage. It’s to be expected. Why else would Minnesota United get rid of its captain?

According to a report from the Pioneer Press, tempers flared after Minnesota’s loss to Toronto FC where Calvo was sent off after accumulating two yellow cards in quick succession with the second one coming in stoppage time. Along with the arrival of Ozzie Alonso and Ike Opara, Calvo’s time with Minnesota United was already in question.

In any respect, it’s a clean slate for Calvo and, on paper, a good move for the Fire. If deployed as a left-back, he provides the team with a more offensive threat with the ability to overlap and link up with Aleksandar Katai. It’s something the team has lacked and quite evident in their back-to-back shutout losses against NYC FC and the Montreal Impact.

It’s a move that betters the team not only this season but moving forward as well.

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