The Chicago Fire Designated Player eyes his first international minutes in almost a year for the world's fifth-ranked team during qualifiers against Argentina and Bolivia.Chicago Fire Designated Player Alvaro Fernandez will return to international duty later this month after receiving a call-up from the Uruguayan national team Monday for World Cup qualifiers against Argentina and Bolivia.
Fernandez, acquired in a midseason trade from the Seattle Sounders, has not suited up for Uruguay since Nov. 11, 2011, but he returns to La Celeste, who are currently ranked fifth in the world in the most-recent FIFA rankings, at a most-important time.
CONMEBOL will have four automatic qualifiers entered in the 2014 World Cup (in addition to host Brazil), and the fifth-place team after the end of qualifying will enter a playoff against a team from the Asian Football Confederation for another potential berth. Uruguay currently sits in fourth place, ahead of Chile only on goal differential. Argentina leads the top-heavy nine-team table with 14 points, two more than Uruguay, for which Fernandez played in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
The away matches for Uruguay will take place on Oct. 12 and 16, respectively. Fernandez, a wide midfielder who has become a regular in manager Frank Klopas' starting lineup since being acquired, is not expected to miss any game time for the Fire, who are is in the midst of a hot second half of the season that has the club in the thick of postseason contention in the MLS Eastern Conference.