Fire acquires Red Bulls’ Joel Lindpere for international spot
BY SETH GRUEN For Sun-Times Media January 5, 2013 12:00AM
Updated: February 6, 2013 6:14AM
The Fire was clear at the start of the offseason it would look for players to bring tactical diversity to the club without regard for overcrowding at any position.
So despite having a loaded midfield, the Fire jumped at the chance Friday to acquire one of the league’s proven players at that position.
The team announced it had sent a 2013 international roster spot to the New York Red Bulls for Estonian midfielder Joel Lindpere. Lindpere has a green card, so he doesn’t occupy an international roster spot.
Lindpere appeared in 34 games and started 26 for the Red Bulls last season, tallying five goals and five assists. He started in both of the team’s playoff games.
“When we recruit these players, it’s crowded if you look at midfielders, but most of them play different roles,” vice president of soccer operations Guillermo Petrei said. “So we feel we can put our best players on the field and play well.
“[He’s] a player that has proven a lot. He’s a player that wants to stay in the U.S. and wants to keep playing in the league, which is a very good attitude.”
As it often has with previous acquisitions, the Fire was looking for a player who can play multiple positions. Nearly every midfielder on its roster has the ability to play centrally and swing outside.
With the Red Bulls, Lindpere played the outside and central midfield positions. Incumbent outside midfielders Alvaro Fernandez and Patrick Nyarko are two of the Fire’s highest-paid players. That could mean Lindpere will see most of his time as a central midfielder.
“We liked the way Joel played in the prior season when he played in New York up and down the middle,” Petrei said. “He had that coverage in box to box.”