With injuries hurting the Fire's defensive depth, the club signed a new player to alleviate the problem.
Sound familiar? That's because it's the second time the Fire made a move like this in just over a month.
With only three center backs under contract, the Fire added Christian Dean via a trade from Vancouver in August. With Joao Meira being out for a month and Dean suffering a broken foot, likely a season-ending injury, against Minnesota on Aug. 26, the Fire once again needed defensive depth.
On Thursday, a day before the league freezes rosters in advance of the playoffs, the Fire signed Jorge Corrales. Corrales had been under contract with the Tulsa Roughnecks, the Fire's USL affiliate. Corrales will remain with Tulsa, via a loan, but is under contract with the Fire as an emergency option available to be recalled if further injuries occur to the Fire's back line.
Corrales, 26, is a left back who was in training with the Fire as a guest player/trialist in late July. His addition may mean the Fire front office is concerned with recent muscle injuries to the two left backs already on the roster. Brandon Vincent missed seven games with a quad injury and made his first start since the injury against the Red Bulls on Saturday. Patrick Doody was out for Saturday's game due to a hamstring injury and was limited to running at practice this week.
“We’ve had the chance to see Jorge quite a bit this season,” general manager Nelson Rodríguez said in a statement released by the club. “We were impressed by his play with Tulsa and in training with us."
“This move presents Jorge with a great opportunity, and it works well for everyone involved,” Tulsa coach David Vaudreuil said in that club's statement. “He has had an outstanding season for us thus far and has shown the ability to perform at the MLS level. We look forward to Jorge continuing his strong play with us this season as we try to lock down a berth in the USL playoffs."
Corrales is signed with the Fire through 2018, which makes the future of someone like Doody appear up in the air. Unless Corrales also shows he can play center back, or if the Fire plan to have him on loan for another year, it seems unlikely the Fire would have three left backs under contract. Corrales, a Cuban, also has options for 2019 and 2020.