To be perfectly clear, this is pure speculation. We know that RSL is working on finalizing a forward addition. We know that they have scouted numerous places, including Colombia. We know that the player they’ve targeted is a mix between a #9 and a speedy forward. We know he’s young, which I interpret as under-25. But what we don’t know is who he is.
I’ve come across one player who seems to have fit the requirements. I would be surprised if this is the actual target, but I thought I’d give you a glimpse of what the yet-to-be-named player could look like. Meet Cristian Nazarit.
Well, actually some of you may be familiar with Nazarit. In 2011, he played for the Chicago Fire. Well, actually he did little of that logging just over 600 minutes. That doesn’t sound so bad for a first year young player in the league, does it? Well, except for in this case Nazarit came with some impressive credentials.
He debuted as a professional at the age of 16 with América de Cali, a Colombian squad currently in Primera B. América De Cali was 4 time Copa Libertadores finalist and 12 times champions of Colombia – one of the biggest clubs in Colombia and all of South America. However, because of the Cali cartel money and being on the “Clinton List” they couldn’t get any sponsorship money, which eventually led to relegation after many years. They are in some ways like River Plate in Argentina – one of the biggest teams of the country but performing in the 2nd division due to bad management.
That same year, Nazarit really put himself on the map at athe U-17 World Cup where he led Colombia to the round of 16 and was the second leading scorer in the tournament. That led to an invite to train with the senior squad for Colombia, although he has not yet been capped.
All of that led Nazarit to take the next step, a move up to Independiente Santa Fe, the reigning champs of the Apertura in Colombia. Still developing as a professional Nazarit scored 16 goals in 42 matches. A big, strong, but fast player who likes to dribble with the ball at his feet, Nazarit earned the reputation of the “Colombian Eto’o”, after Cameroon’s prominant striker Samuel Eto’o.
As his prominence continued to rise, the Chicago Fire came calling on the then 20-year old striker. Nazarit attended a short trial with the club before being signed to a deal, where he made just over $300K. That’s where the story of his ascent was derailed. The Fire were a bit of a mess that year, particularly at the start of the season. There was a revolving door of players, and Frank Klopas had taken over as interim coach. The team finished 6th in the east thanks to a strong finish, but at season’s end it was clear that Nazarit was not in their plans. Nazarit did score twice in his six matches he played with the club, but that wasn’t good enough to justify the drain on the Fire salary cap.
That led Nazarit back home to Colombia. This time to Deportivo Cali where he had 6 goals and 2 assists in 22 starts.
Fast Forward to December, which is where KIR started to track Nazarit. Still a young, fast, powerful goal scorer – he intrigued us. And early on, we heard word that he wasn’t going to be back with Cali – not unusual with Colombian forwards who often tend to be mercenaries for hire, moving from club to club.
Keepin’ It Real received alot of insight along the way from a fellow RSL fan, ChiquiPalaez, who is Colombian. He has helped us understand the qualities and potential of Nazarit.
Well in the preseason it appeared as if Nazarit was going to remain with Cali as he participated with them. However, he wasn’t included on this weekend’s roster, and fans of the club have wondered what’s going on. He was also listed as “departing” from the team in a recent article about the club. So what’s up, could he be on the move? Could he be coming back to MLS? Could he be in Garth Lagerwey’s sights? That would all be wild speculation, but he’s young, fast, and he’s also powerful enough to play in the #9 role. So he meets all of the criteria. If not Nazarit, perhaps someone like him.
Here are a couple of clips of Nazarit to show what he’s capable of: