If the problem in the Fire's sad-sack 2014 was lack of striking depth, then 2015 is looking up already. The Men in Red announced their ninth new signing Tuesday in the person of striker Guilherme 'Guly' do Prado; the Brazilian makes the fourth attacking player inked since the end of the worst season in club history.
Do Prado is likely most familiar to Americans from his time with Southampton, which was a League One (i.e., third division) team when he was loaned from his previous club, Cesena. Thanks in part to Guly's 11 goals, the Saints won promotion to the second-division Championship in 2011. That was fun enough that they did it all again the next year, with Guly supplying 10 goals as Southampton climbed all the way back up to the Premier League.
Once there, do Prado struggled to make an enormous impact in one of the world's toughest leagues. A good sign that he's the kind of personality one wants in the locker room is the fact that, after a completely underwhelming two years riding the pine for one of the Premiership's surprise teams, Southampton supporters still felt warmly enough about the newest Fire man to make him a farewell video:
Guly's earlier travelogue was a particularly Italian tale, full of intrigue and reversals. It's crazy; here's the pitch: Brazilian kid scores a bunch of goals, moves to Italy, makes four appearances for the club which bought him (Catania) before getting snapped up by a larger club (Perugia) co-owned by the smaller club's owner; larger club is eliminated by a bankruptcy ruling, and Brazilian kid (now 23) is picked up by even bigger club (Fiorentina), only to immediately suffer a career-threatening knee injury; after a grueling two-year absence - thinking rehab montage here - kid bounces around on loan in Serie B (Spezia, Montova), struggling to score goals, suddenly a stranger in his body, finally accepting a deal in the third division (Pro Patria). Finally, in a stirring finish, the Brazilian kid - scarred but smarter, now 27, not a kid at all - wins a deal back in the Serie B (Cesena), catches the eye of scouts from Southampton, England ... fast-forward five years, TRIBUTE VIDEO. His career is script-ready.
Hot (Time) take
As the fantastic Orrin Schwarz indicated on Twitter, Yallop & Gang aren't thinking of Guly as a starter;
... if that's true, then this move at the least deserves a look-see before people start hoisting over-ripe fruit to throw. Teams need veterans at every position; Guly has seen the world of football to an extent that is impossible to fake. And It's not like do Prado just stank up the world his last two years with Southampton. Getting sent to the bench by talents like Jay Rodriguez and Ricky Lambert a year after scoring 10 goals is not the kind of thing that should cause a professional any shame.
The remade Fire attack for 2015 will have a tremendous number of new faces vying for time. Only Quincy Amarikwa and Harry Shipp return healthy, and they'll have to find a rhythm quickly with newcomers do Prado, David Accam, Kennedy Igboboanike, and Homegrown player Collin Fernandez. One imagines Shipp will enjoy the prospect of rolling through-balls to this group of strikers just a smidgeon.
There's no knockout deals in MLS, especially with a club (like our Fire) whose budget is not, shall we say, expansive. So far, Yallop is crafting what seems a successful offseason by instead relying on body-blow deals like this one - unsexy, but important. We shall see how it works out with Guly, of course, but for now all is hopeful.