The first piece in the reconstruction of the Chicago Fire under new coach Carlos de los Cobos has fallen into place, and another is in the works.
Salvadoran midfielder Julio Martinez, who played for de los Lobos with the national team, has joined the Fire on loan from Mexican club Leon. A right-sided midfielder/attacker, Martinez, 24, can fill the void left by Chris Rolfe's move to Denmark, though Marco Pappa and Patrick Nyarko also saw time on that side last season.
"I kind of thought Martinez was a guy that could fit in very well on the right side," said Fire technical director Frank Klopas in a team press release announcing the deal. "He's very skillful, very fast, and works both ways with the ball.
"Obviously, when we hired Carlos as coach, who happened to know him, we talked to him and compared notes. Carlos felt that he is a guy that could fit in very well with the way we want to play. So I pushed full steam ahead to make it happen."
Martinez is a native of Coatepeque, El Salvador. He began his career with Once Lobos in 2003 and played six seasons with Isidro Metapan, which played in the 2008-9 Concacaf Champions League competition. He scored three goals in seven games for Leon last season in the Mexican Primera "A" (Second Division).
League sources confirmed reports that Chicago has acquired Polish defender Krzysztof Krol, 22, on a one-year loan from Jagiellonia Bialystok. Chicago needs cover at outside back, as Gonzalo Segares has left on a free transfer to Cypriot club Apollon, and veteran Brandon Prideaux has retired.