The 2019 Chicago Fire fullback problem has been discussed ad nauseum, with no confidence from the fanbase that it will be solved in the short term. What has been quickly brushed over in this narrative, though, is that Diego Campos has done quite well sliding over to right back through the first three games of the year.
When Nelson Rodriguez didn’t make a move to fill Matt Polster’s shoes at the end of the offseason, many of us were at a loss for how this team would replace one of the best right backs in the league. Diego Campos has provided a steady temporary solution for Veljko Paunovic’s staff, allowing them to solve for other holes in this team in creative ways.
The Costa Rican came to the club after tallying 23 goals and 22 assists in his collegiate career and was one of the best attacking players in the ACC during his time at Clemson. He provided the occasional spark off the bench last year going forward but converting to right back didn’t seem like the most obvious fit given his experience and desire to dictate play in the opponent’s half.
Campos has been asked to play in a position he may not have played before, and seen some elite attacking talent come at him in the first few minutes in the new position. Has he been excellent? No, probably not. Has he been serviceable and solid next to Marcelo? Absolutely. While Paunovic has kept it simple for Campos, asking him to keep things in front of him as much as possible, win his 1v1 battles when called upon and join the attack after possession is secured in the opponents final third, he’s been a bright spot in this team early on.
I don’t think it can be overstated how difficult it is to make this type of transition at the professional level this quickly. Clubs need players like Campos, willing to put professional ego aside and show up to work every week for the team, regardless of their preferred position. Campos deserves some serious recognition, and I think this team can fight for a playoff spot if he can be a dependable starter on the backline.