Wednesday, April 3, 2013

3 April 2007 - The Fire Turns Up The Heat

On 3 April 2007, the Chicago Fire signed Mexican star Cuauhtémoc Blanco, who went on to score the league's Goal of the Season and was later selected to the MLS Best XI.

The playmaker joined Chicago from Club América, where he had been a four-time Mexican Primera División MVP, winning the 2005 Clausura and the 2006 CONCACAF Champions' Cup. Chicago used their designated player spot to sign him for a deal worth almost $2.7 million per year, making him one of the league's highest-paid players behind only David Beckham (who made over $6 million).

Despite a relatively disappointing first season in which Blanco appeared in only fourteen of Chicago's thirty league games and scored only four goals, one of them was good enough to be voted the MLS Goal of the Year: playing against Real Salt Lake in August, he received the ball about twenty yards out, turned, then fired a left-footed shot over keeper Nick Rimando into the far side of the net.

The next season, he helped Chicago to the league's third-best record (and improvement of four spots from 2007) and reached the MLS Cup Conference Finals. For his role, Blanco was named to the season's MLS Best XI. He was also the MVP of the 2008 All-Star Game, in which the MLS All-Stars beat West Ham United 3-2.

He played one more season with Chicago, then returned to Mexico in 2010 to play for Veracruz.

1 comment: