Adailton not shying away from Fire’s recent woes
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Adailton isn’t afraid of the competition for a starting spot in the middle of the back line. He also isn’t afraid of trying to reverse the Fire’s recent woes.
“Things are going right,” he said. “I think at the beginning of the (season) we will be really in very good shape to change a little bit the history of the last five years here in Chicago. I’m sure that we can do better.”
While the Fire’s recent decline and inability to contend has been well-known around MLS and frustrating to their fans, it isn’t one of the biggest stories around world soccer. Prior to joining the Fire this winter, Adailton played in Brazil, France, China and Switzerland, places where the Fire missing the MLS playoffs four times in five years likely wasn’t too big a concern.
Yet before coming to Chicago, the 31-year-old central defender looked up the history of the Fire. He saw what’s gone on recently and before signing, talked to coach Frank Yallop about the current state of the club.
“Before coming, I went through the history of the last five, 10 years. The first thing I asked to the coach was ‘What are the ambitions for this year?’ because if we keep doing like we were doing lately that wouldn’t be very nice to come into and live the same thing,” Adailton said. “But he told me that it’s absolutely different now, rebuilding a new team. Keeping the same mentality because the mentality wasn’t bad but the results weren’t there.
“That’s why we came, and I hope to do my best to help somehow the team.”
Adailton would be a big help to the Fire if he can help solidify a defensive unit that will be turned over once again. Captain Jeff Larentowicz is expected to be one central defender, and Adailton appears to have a leg up for the other starting spot over Eric Gehrig and first-round pick Matt Polster.
To Adailton, the competition is just “part of the soccer.”
“If you play soccer and there’s no competition you are not a soccer player. You are something else, so this is normal,” Adailton said. “It’s not a competition – it’s a cooperation. If we think about a team we have to do our best for the team. It doesn’t matter if I play today, if he plays tomorrow. The most important is after the 90 minutes, we win the game.”
Though it’s early, Yallop likes what he’s seeing from that group as well as the Fire head to Portland, Oregon for the next phase of training camp.
“To be honest, all the guys have done really well at center back,” Yallop said. “Polster, Gehrig, Adailton, Jeff. It kind of is refreshing where it’s like ‘OK, I’m not afraid to play those guys at all.’”