By ANTHONY ZILIS
After practice on Tuesday, Chicago Fire head coach Carlos de Los Cobos talked to his team at the center of the field for about 20 minutes.
His team is 0-3-2 in all combined games in May as it hits a crucial stretch of three home MLS games before the World Cup break.
De Los Cobos wanted to make sure his team is resting, eating right, but most importantly he wanted to make sure his team was focused.
“The players need to learn that they have the capacity of effort in every match. We are working hard in the field and some players are returning to training with us,” he said.
De Los Cobos will, once again, tinker with his lineup after an unsuccessful inaugural Sister Cities Tournament.
After commenting about the ineffectiveness of the pairing of forwards Collins John and Brian McBride last week in the Sister Cities Tournament at Toyota Park, de Los Cobos said he plans on starting the two Thursday against FC Dallas.
“We need to win,” de Los Cobos said when asked about starting the two. “We need to win this match and be aggressive, we have three matches consecutively at home, we need to think nine points.”
The Fire boss’s apprehension came from the fact that neither forward is able to penetrate with speed. He said he’ll fix this problem by pushing Nyarko up top at points.
Midfielder Mike Banner also gives de Los Cobos the speed and the ability to penetrate along the wings and looks to be cementing a starting spot after strong performances during the last two games.
“I feel pretty good right now, I’m getting my game fitness back, my game instinct,” Banner said.”I think they’ve been pleased with the progress I’ve been making.”
He’ll start Thursday unless his strained quad, which has him listed on the injury report as questionable, bothers him too much. Justin Mapp will get the nod If Banner isn’t able to go.
Logan Pause played on right back on Saturday but should return to a normal defensive midfield spot alongside Baggio Husidic on Thursday.
Don’t count out Pause completely from playing defense in the future. Midfielder John Thorrington will soon be back from injury and de Los Cobos hasn’t exactly shown confidence in the position, one Pause played early in his career.
Whatever the case, de Los Cobos knows Pause will play anywhere he wants him to.
“Logan is a very big professional. When I ask to him to help me play in this position because Dasan don’t feel good, he makes it very good,” he said. “For me it’s not a surprise because I know this player is very professional, has a very good personality, positive. For me it’s very good to have Logan.”
One glaring omission from de Los Cobos’s stated lineup was Marco Pappa. He was pegged for the midfield spot behind the forward, but with only four midfielders and Banner proving he needs to start on the left, it’s difficult to see where he fits in.
Still, with the Fire on the outside of the playoff picture looking in, it’ll be crucial not to slip any further during the home stretch before the break.
“Over the weekend we struggled to finish and we were kind of like Swiss cheese in the back. You take from it what you can,” Pause said.
“It’s kind of imperative (to get points before the World Cup break), but our focus right now is on Thursday night. You try to say, ‘win your games at home and draw on the road.’ We all know that with the parity in this league, just because we’re playing at home, we’re not given anything.”
Kosecki wants to play in Chicago
It’s tough to say an amusement park has ever been used as a tool for recruiting foreign players.
But if Jakub Kosecki, son of Fire original Roman Kosecki, ever suits up in a Fire uniform, roller coasters may have just a little bit to do with it.
“I remember the fun times with Six Flags and Soldier Field when my father was playing,” the baby-faced 19-year-old Kosecki said after his Legia Warsaw team beat the Fire 3-0 on Saturday.
Kosecki was named the top youth player in Poland last year and looks to be on his way up as a player. With the Fire looking for more attacking creativity, they may have their man in this Polish boy.
Kosecki is still small, but said he’s working on his physique and already is speedy and has enough technique to be an effective player. If Frank Klopas calls, Kosecki certainly would listen.
“It would be amazing, really amazing,” Kosecki said about playing in Chicago. “If they want me here, I will come here very happily. I will come play here because the best time of when I was a child was when I was in Chicago.”