Fire defender Calvo glad to be playing centrally instead of on left side

Now with the Fire, who play Saturday at San Jose (3-6-2, 11 points), Calvo is looking ahead to what he can contribute.

SHARE Fire defender Calvo glad to be playing centrally instead of on left side

Francisco Calvo of the Fire has made it clear that his preferred position is center back.

Chicago Fire Soccer Club

Defender Francisco Calvo started the season as Minnesota United’s captain. By May 3, he was out of the team’s plans and shipped to the Fire for allocation money.

Despite spending more than two seasons with Minnesota, Calvo doesn’t want to spend much more time discussing his former club and the factors that led to his exit.  

“I had a great two years over there, and for a couple of reasons, my move to Chicago happened,’’ Calvo said. ‘‘But that’s the past. I don’t want to talk about Minnesota anymore. I appreciated the time there. Now I’m here.” 

Calvo’s run in Minnesota ended abruptly. His second yellow card in a game at Toronto FC on April 19 turned out to be his last hurrah, so to speak, for the club. He served a suspension April 24 against the LA Galaxy and wasn’t named to the game-day 18 on April 28 against D.C. United. 

Then he was sent to the Fire (4-4-4, 16 points), who were looking for Calvo to add talent and depth to a group of defenders that was struggling at the time.

“We think that with Calvo, that’s a big help,” Fire president and general manager Nelson Rodriguez said during a media roundtable May 8. “We wanted to increase our competitive level at the back.”

With the Fire, who play Saturday at San Jose (3-6-2, 11 points), Calvo is looking to contribute to a team playing its best soccer in two years. It doesn’t hurt that he has been paired centrally with Bastian Schweinsteiger instead of being deployed at left back, where he was playing with Minnesota before the trade.

After the Fire’s win Saturday against his former team, Calvo was clear about where he prefers to play.

“Two hundred percent,’’ Calvo said after the 2-0 victory. ‘‘I feel [much] more comfortable in the middle. I feel stronger over there. I can play left back, but I don’t really like it. If I have to do it, I do it, but I don’t like it. I feel better in the middle.”

Speaking to the Sun-Times, Calvo explained why. He said he’s not as adept on the attack, and that makes him a better fit for the middle than left back, which is more of an offensive-minded position. 

But it’s possible Calvo still could play some on the left. Coach Veljko Paunovic likes players who can move around, and Rodriguez said at the roundtable that Calvo’s “versatility to be able to play left back is a help.”

So far, everything is going well for Calvo and the Fire. In his two starts, the Fire have allowed no goals and outscored their opponents 7-0. He is clicking with Paunovic and his style of soccer, and Calvo said he wants to show who he is as a player.

“I think I’m going to love the club,” Calvo said. “I’m going to try to help the club, first of all, go to the playoffs this year and then see what happens.”

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