The Chicago Fire announced the addition of some offensive firepower this week to help with their post-season push, in the form of ex-Liverpool striker Florent Sinama-Pongolle.
The Frenchman was first brought in for a trial at the end of last month, with a view towards signing next season, but his impressive training stint, as well as reigning league MVP Mike Magee’s season-ending hip surgery, presented the opportunity for him to sign before the September 15 roster freeze.
‘Florent is a quality player with experience playing in some of the top leagues in Europe,’ Fire head coach and Director of Soccer Frank Yallop said in a statement. ‘Since he’s been training with us for the past few weeks, we’ve been able to see first-hand the attributes he has. I’m pleased that we were able to add him to the squad as we enter the final stretch of the regular season.’
Sinama-Pongolle, 29, originally joined Liverpool in 2001 from Le Havre, along with cousin Anthony Le Tallec, but returned to the French club on loan for the next two seasons, before going on to score eight goals in 56 games with the Reds from 2003 to 2006.
After a loan spell at Blackburn Rovers during the second-half of the 2005-06 campaign, the Réunion-born marksman would move on to then-La Liga outfit Recreativo, where he netted 22 times in two seasons to earn a switch to Atletico Madrid in 2008.
He failed to rediscover that scoring form, however, and, after leaving the Spanish capital in 2010, spent additional spells at Sporting Lisbon, Real Zaragoza, Saint-Etienne and FC Rostov, where the torn ACL suffered in March 2013 restricted him to just 22 appearances over the past two campaigns.
Nevertheless, despite his recent scoring struggles, most fans appear optimistic about his prospects in MLS, as the reaction across Twitter upon news of his arrival showed.