BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. - The Chicago Fire received its first boost of the summer transfer window Monday with the club announcing the signing of Romanian international midfielder Răzvan Cociș.
An attack-minded midfielder, Cociș has been capped 50 times for the Romanian national team, last playing for the side in their 3-1 defeat to Greece in the UEFA World Cup qualifying playoffs last November.
The 31-year-old midfielder has previously played professionally in his home nation, Russia, Ukraine, Saudi Arabia and Moldova.
“Razvan is an experienced, well-traveled central midfielder,” Fire head coach Frank Yallop said in a club press release. “He brings a wealth of international experience and will be a great addition as we enter the second half of the season.”
Yallop tells Chicago-Fire.com he expects Cociș to line up next to Jeff Larentowicz in central midfield, with the Romanian expected to take on a bit more of the attacking responsibilities.
“That’s the spot where he’s most comfortable,” Yallop said. “He’s a bit more attack-minded than Jeff. We’ll hope to get him forward, get in the box and have him finish chances. He likes to get forward and force the play but if we need to, he’s versatile enough to move around as a second forward or out on the wings.”
Yallop first became familiar with Cociș about a year-and-a-half ago, while manager of the San Jose Earthquakes but bringing him in then “wasn’t in the cards” for a few reasons. With Cociș leaving Ukrainian side Hoverla Urzhorod this month, the door re-opened for the signing and the Romanian was in town last week to complete the deal.
“Once we honed in on him and made sure we wanted to get him, he’s been first class with everything. He’s made the appointments for visas and paperwork, done all the things he should do out of the country to make sure he’s lined up and ready to go when he gets here. He’s been excellent about making the effort to come over.”
“I’m happy to be joining the Fire and can’t wait to get started,” Cociș said in the press release. “I think the move will suit me well as I enjoy big cities and Chicago is especially charming. The team is really coming together and I’m looking forward to contributing to its successes for the remainder of the season.”
Since Larentowicz joined the Fire at the beginning of 2013, he’s seen a number of central midfield partners from the likes of Logan Pause, Alex, Benji Joya, Chris Ritter and even Harry Shipp. While there is depth at the position, Cociș should provide more consistency with Larentowicz at the position.
“He’s come here to make a difference -- it’s not just a pay day. He wants to come live in this country and play for us. That’s a big part of it. I’m excited and can’t wait to get him on the field.”
Exactly when he’ll be on the field for the Fire is still up in the air. Cociș has received his international transfer certificate and P-1 visa, clearing most of the hurdles but Yallop wouldn’t name an exact date for the Romanian’s Fire debut.
“We’re hoping he’ll be available in the next few weeks. We’re hoping it’s quicker than that.”
As for further signings to bolster a second half push towards the MLS Cup playoffs and U.S. Open Cup run, the Fire’s head coach and Director of Soccer said, “We’ve got some other offers out there. We have to gather our thoughts and keep going. Hopefully there is more to come.”