Chicago Fire goalkeeper Jorge Bava has struggled to make an impression on Fire fans.
After starting the first eight games of the season, the Uruguayan lost his starting role to Matt Lampson after suffering an injury. Bava returned to the match day roster for Thursday’s game against FC Dallas, but did not play.
Through his eight games, Bava’s distribution has been — at times —spotty. Goal kicks and throws have gone directly out of play, leaving many supporters to wonder why former goalkeeper Sean Johnson was let go.
While Bava hasn’t won over most Fire fans, he surely picked up a few on Thursday night.
While warming up in the second half, a group of young Fire fans scampered down the stairs in hopes of getting some gear signed by Bava or any of the other Fire players — Michael Harrington, Drew Conner, Djordje Mihailovic, Jonathan Campbell, Arturo Alvarez and Juninho — warming up. While policy doesn’t allow for that, it didn’t stop Bava.
One young fan asked the security guard on the field if he could give the players his coat and marker, but the security guard quickly shut him down. Bava, however, wouldn’t have it. He gestured to the security guard to give him the coat and marker and signed it. Bava continued to sign a couple of other memorabilia. At one point, Bava even grabbed a cell phone and took a selfie with a few fans.
When the Fire’s third and final sub was called to head in, Bava signed a few more pieces of gear. At one point, a fan tossed him an FC Barcelona jersey. When Bava unfurled it to signed it, he saw it was a Lionel Messi jersey.
“Why?!” Bava told the young fan, half-heartedly.
Bava clearly knew he needed a different player’s name: “Suarez!” he jokingly yelled, referencing fellow countryman Luis Suarez.
Even with his half-hearted scolding, Bava still made some lifelong fans.