One of the struggles this off season for Chicago Fire fans has been getting a sense of the talent level of the club’s recent, very young signings. YouTube is packed with video on established stars, so when Gaston Gimenez and Robert Beric joined last season, fans had a solid idea of what to expect. But, there’s not a ton out there on Stanislav Ivanov, Jhon Espinoza, Chinonso Offor or even Jhon Duran, the starlet who will join the Fire in 2022 after turning 18.
Fire play-by-play voice Tyler Terens recently broke down film on all four guys in a series of videos posted to the club’s website, and they’re all worth checking out.
It looks like Ivanov, the 21-year-old Bulgarian winger, might be the most exciting of the group heading into 2021. He’s quick, and seems to have a great playmaking sense about him. Espinoza might just be the most likely of the three to become a regular starter, if he can prove to Raphael Wicky he’s ready to jump ahead of veteran Boris Sekulic in the right back pecking order.
Offor, the Nigerian forward who spent time in the Latvian league, appears a bit raw, but seems to have an intelligent nose for goal, and should figure to be an exciting replacement for CJ Sapong. As for Duran: because of his massive size and speed, he probably has the biggest upside of any of the four, but we’ll have to wait a year before we see him in a Fire jersey.
Besides their youth, there’s one thing that’s similar about all four guys, and it’s something that will fit well in Wicky’s system—they all, at least in these videos, immediately fight to win the ball back after losing it, a quality that’s sure to come in handy in Chicago.
Check out all four videos: