The Chicago Fire have signed 25 year-old Uruguayan forward Federico Puppo. HTIOT first put this rumor up over a week ago and it's interesting to see it finalized. It seems the Chicago Fire technical staff should be fully familiar with Puppo.
"Federico Puppo is a player we've kept an eye for the past few seasons," said Fire head coach Frank Klopas. "He is a smart forward who moves well off the ball and finishes in front of goal. His addition helps us to strengthen our attacking core. We are excited to get all of these guys into camp and begin putting in the work on the field."
Puppo joins the Fire from Primera División Uruguaya side Danubio F.C., where he appeared in 10 matches, scoring two goals while helping la Franja to a second place finish during the 2011 Apertura campaign.
Prior to his time with Danubio, Puppo played for Montevideo-based Club Atletico River Plate from 2006-11, where he appeared in 57 league matches, scored 17 goals, helping the club to the 2008 Clausura championship. With their 2008 finish, the club qualified for the following year's CONMEBOL Copa Sudamericana where they achieved the best finish in club history, advancing to the semifinals of the tournament. Puppo began his professional career with Montevideo Wanderers, appearing in nine matches from 2004-06.
Named to the Uruguay squad that took part in the 2011 Pan American Games held in Guadalajara, Mexico, Puppo made two appearances, scoring the game-winning goal in a 1-0 opening win over Ecuador October 21, en route to a third place finish at the tournament.
It shouldn't be lost on anyone that Frank Klopas is just now bringing in a player that the team has monitored for a couple of years. Especially when the team brought in other Uruguayans Diego Chaves and Gaston Puerari last season. Puppo might have not been available before but there's also a chance former Fire head coach Carlos de los Cobos did not see eye to eye with Klopas on Puppo. Rather than repeat the infamous Tomasz Frankowski experience (referenced here) where his head coach won't play one of his signings the way Klopas would like, de los Cobos and Klopas might have decided Diego Chaves was a good middle ground option.
Puppo and Chaves have very similar profiles so this should put the final nail in the coffin of Chaves' time with the club. Puppo can take Chaves' place on the roster as a No. 3 striker that doesn't break the bank and is a solid contributor. I imagine Klopas will be very happy if Puppo can score 6 goals like Diego did.
This signing also means that one of the Fire's eight international slots are being used. The international players for 2012 are projected to be Yamith Cuesta, Sebastian Grazzini, Josip Mikulic, Marco Pappa, Pavel Pardo, Federico Puppo and Rafael Robayo. Diego Chaves would be an extremely unlikely 8th. One of the center backs might get moved if two other international targets open up.
Name: Carlos Federico Puppo Gross
Height: 5'8" (1.78m)
Weight: 160 lbs. (73kg)
Date of Birth: December 6, 1986
Place of Birth: Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay
Hometown: Montevideo, Uruguay
Last Club: Danubio F.C. (URU)
Acquired: Signed on January 11, 2012