Fire shake up defense, Segares returns

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- The Chicago Fire have brought back outside defensive back Gonzalo Segares, the team announced Friday, a few hours after announcing the trade of defender Tim Ward to the San Jose Earthquakes.

Following the Fire's 2009 season, Segares signed with Greek club Apollon Limassol, where he played in 12 matches en route to a fourth-place finish in the Cypriot First Division.

"We are excited to have Gonzalo rejoin the Chicago Fire," Fire technical director Frank Klopas said in a statement. "Gonzalo is a dynamic and talented player who will make a great addition to the club."

Before his brief move overseas, Segares was with the Fire from 2005 to 2009, and the 27-year-old Costa Rican established himself as a stable left-side defender who had an impact both on the defensive and offensive thirds of the pitch. His 2009 season was cut short substantially by an MCL sprain, forcing him to miss several months at the end of the campaign.

The decision to bring back Segares is a no-brainer. But of all of Chicago's new offseason signings, Krzysztof Krol has shown the most positive results while manning the left back slot during Segares' absence.

Earlier in the day, the Fire traded Ward to the San Jose Earthquakes in return for a conditional selection in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft. Ward entered the 2010 season as a potential regular starter at right defensive back. But between injuries and poor play, Ward did not see much of the pitch this year. He started in only six matches while Dasan Robinson earned slightly more playing time in the right back role. Additionally, 2010 draft pick Steven Kinney has shown promise at the position in limited action.

Ward had a breakout 2009 campaign with Chicago, setting career highs with 19 starts and three assists before breaking his toe in the '09 SuperLiga final against Tigres UANL. Ward reunites with former Fire goalkeeper Jon Busch, who was released by Chicago just before the start of the 2010 season but picked up by the Quakes. San Jose and Chicago meet up one more time this season at Buck Shaw Stadium on Sept. 29.