Fire cuts loose MacDonald, clearing way for Rios

[MLS TRANSACTIONS] Just a day of training was enough for Fire head coach Frank Klopas to rave about a new signing that had yet to officially join the team.

That formality on Wednesday cleared the Fire to announce it had acquired Uruguayan midfielder Arevalo Rios from Italian side Palermo. A key member of the Uruguay team that finished fourth at the 2010 World Cup, Rios played for Mexican club Tijuana before signing with Palermo in July 2012. No financial details have been released.

Chicago needed to clear an international slot on its roster to add Rios, which it did by reaching an agreement that sent forward Sherjill MacDonald on his way. The Dutch striker logged four goals and four assists last season in 14 games, but lagged badly this year and managed just 11 shots and one assist in 13 appearances.

Rios joins another recent signing, Ecuadorean forward Juan Luis Anangono, in a Chicago attack that already features MVP candidate Mike Magee, tricky creator Chris Rolfe and speedy winger Patrick Nyarko that is potent at home -- 21 goals in 12 games -- yet has managed only eight goals in 10 road matches.

“He's been there, we haven't always gotten it right. This guy's a world-class player,” said Klopas of Rios, who trained with the team Friday while details were being discussed. “We made the commitment, we said, ‘This is the guy, bring him,’ and he brings depth, leadership and all that stuff, so that's what it's all about.”

Rios, 31, started his pro career in 2000 for his hometown club in Paysandu, Bella Vista, and departed for one of the legendary clubs in Uruguayan soccer, Penarol, in 2006. Then it was on to Botafogo in Brazil and the Xolos of Tijuana before one season with Palermo, for which he scored two goals in 27 matches.

 He has played 46 times for Uruguay, including all seven games of the 2010 World Cup, and also played this summer at the Confederations Cup.
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