Croat Trialist

Fire bring in Croatian midfielder


Croatian defensive midfielder Filip Tapalovic officially started a week-long trial period with the Fire on Tuesday after arriving late in Chicago on Monday night.

Tapalovic, 33, played for HNK Rijeka of the Croatian first division last year and spent several years of his career playing in the German Bundesliga. 

“The directors told me to watch him,” Fire head coach Carlos de los Cobos told after practice on Tuesday morning. “We will have him for all the week and after that we [will make] our conclusions.”

De los Cobos, who described Tapalovic as a “strong” and “smart” player, certainly could use another central midfielder on his roster. Both John Thorrington and Logan Pause, the Fire’s central midfield pairing for much of 2009, are currently dealing with injuries. Thorrington (quadriceps) confirmed Tuesday he will not play in the team's home opener against San Jose on Saturday, while Pause is questionable for the match with an undisclosed leg injury of his own.

Should Pause not be able to go on Saturday, de los Cobos said that Baggio Husidic and Peter Lowry would likely get the start in the central midfield.  Lowry has started both matches thus far this season and Husidic has come on as a substitute in both games.

It’s not all bad news on the injury front, however.  Defender Wilman Conde, who missed last week’s game at Colorado with a left foot contusion, said on Tuesday that he is all set to go for the home opener on Saturday night.