It's been clear for a few days that a signing was coming down the pipe for the Fire - why waive Gentile otherwise? It's been a fun interregnum; we got to imagine ourselves nobles, with all that attends that station. What about Robinho? we asked ourselves. Or perhaps some other of these wayward superstars. Chicharito, perhaps - perhaps.
But reality is usually something different. Instead of m'lord, one gets a sullen glare and a gesture toward the 'Now Serving' sign, where a number far smaller than yours is up in lights. Today, Fire fandom met reality, in the form of an official release from the club:
The man in question, Răzvan Cociș, is, as stated above, a Romanian midfielder. He is 31 years old, and has spent the bulk of his career in Eastern Europe. At his peak - from 2007-2009 - he was a semi-regular with a Lokomotiv Moscow team that won the Russian Cup in '07. Since then, he's played half a season at Romanian side Politehnica Timişoara (a team which has since been dissolved as a professional club), further half-seasons at Al-Nassr (Saudi Arabia) and Karpaty Lviv (Ukraine), winding up his pre-Chicago sojourn with two seasons at FC Rostov (Russia) and a single year with Hoverla Uzhhorod (Ukraine).
While it's not the kind of resume that screams, "Midseason turnaround!", resumes are generally a set of lies we tell about ourselves; perhaps he just hasn't found the right fit, or something. Life is complicated. Football is complicated.
He is said to be noted for his close control, and Frank Yallop apparently plans to use him as the No. 8 alongside Jeff Larentowicz' No. 6. No word, as yet, on the fate of the other people who'd played that role - Alex, for example, or Benji Joya. Surely it doesn't mean a diminution of playing time for our homegrown wunderkind, Harry Shipp.
Perhaps this is a genius move, a completely under-the-radar signing that will provide that tiny fraction which makes the difference between victory and a draw, or between a draw and defeat - and if so, what a coup this will be for the front office team of Yallop and Brian Bliss, working under obvious cap and financial constraints and somehow still finding a player who can make the difference. If Cociș can come in and make a difference, if he can help CF97 to an Open Cup trophy or a playoff place, then we'll have confirmation of our hopes for this regime - that they're savvy enough to navigate MLS on what is, for the market, a shoestring budget.
Apparently that's necessary in Chicago. We can dream about prime rib, but we're getting bologna - we're just counting on Frank, Brian and the crew to scour the globe for hand-crafted, artisanal bologna, counting on their taste and knowledge to replace the piles of money apparently available almost everywhere in the soccerverse. It is what it is.
Welcome to Chicago, Răzvan. You'll love the city - some things are given - and it hopes, so desperately hopes, to love you back.