Fire in Mexico, Conde Not

The Chicago Fire are in Mexico as part of their preseason training, which means throngs of fans are surrounding the team in hopes to get a better glimpse of Floyd Franks, Jeff Curtin and the rest of the club. They may also be interested in following midfielder Cuauhtemoc Blanco, but I'm not sure.

One person who is not in attendance as the Fire continues preparing for the start of the regular season is Colombian defender Wilman Conde, who is demanding that the club release or trade his rights to the New York Red Bulls so that he may rejoin Chicago's former coach Juan Carlos Osorio.As you may recall, Osorio was lured away from the Windy City in the offseason, shocking many Fire fans and players. Since Juan Carlos was responsible for single-handedly convincing the club's ownership to shell out a transfer fee to bring Conde to the team, it comes as no surprise that he would want to continue reaping the benefits of the defender's services at his new home in the Big Apple.

The problem is, Chicago still feels a bit jilted - and rightfully so - over JCO's hasty departure, and the last thing they would want to do is to help strengthen the weak defense of a fellow Eastern Conference team. Conde was benched for the Fire's preseason match against Toronto and did not even participate with the second team, leading many to wonder whether Conde will see the field at all this year if Chicago refuses to trade him.

According to the team, Conde is not in Mexico because of a paperwork issue.

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