Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By TYLER DAY
Chicago Fire supporters thought they had a piece of good news in an otherwise injury-plagued season when Tuesday’s injury report did not contain veterans Arne Friedrich and Logan Pause.
Both have been in training, but only Pause is likely to feature when the winless Fire host the Red Bulls on Sunday at Toyota Park.
When asked whether he would be ready for Sunday, Friedrich said, “No, not against New York. I didn’t sprint in the last couple of weeks, and I have to build up slowly.”
Friedrich, who traveled to Germany for treatment from his long-time doctor, added that his “body feels great” and he has “no pain.”
Fire coach Frank Klopas wouldn’t go as far to rule out Friedrich, or anyone else.
“We’ll see day to day how he goes,” Klopas said. “We still have some way to go until the match.”
If Pause does indeed make his season debut Sunday, it is likely in the midfield as the team’s lone goal scorer, Patrick Nyarko, went down with a hamstring industry in a friendly last Friday. He is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game.
Nyarko’s name is added to an injury list that already includes newcomer Dilly Duka, Alex, Steven Kinney and Michael Videira.
Pause coming back from injury, to go along with the return of Joel Lindpere and Sean Johnson from international duty, should give the Fire some veteran presence as they try to kick start their season.
“You can’t have one player be the savior,” said Fire President of Soccer Operations Javier Leon last week. “We have a good character team and a good coaching staff. It is the combination of all of those things” that will turn the season around.
Leon added: “We feel very good about the roster. If you look at most soccer experts, they looked at our roster at the beginning of the year. There was a real consensus that we had a good team, a team that could build on the success of a year ago.”
Leon also said the team will look to add value where there is opportunity, but reiterated he does not think it is time to panic this early in the season.
HOMEGROWN PLAYER UPDATE
Fire striker Victor Pineda, one of the club’s homegrown players, returned from knee surgery last week ahead of schedule. He will look to challenge for minutes with the Fire, as well as for a spot with the U-20 Men’s National Team.
The Fire has a reserves match with the Red Bulls reserves at Toyota Park following Sunday’s first-team game. Pineda is likely to feature in that match.
“That’s the next step for him is to get some of his fitness back and sharpness through the reserves matches,” Klopas said. “He’s looking better every day.”
The Fire’s second homegrown player, 18-year-old Kellen Gulley, has been loaned to NASL side Atlanta Silverbacks.
RED BULLS IN TOWN
Chicago will host a New York side that won its first game of the season 2-1 over Philadelphia last weekend. If Friedrich doesn’t play, Chicago may start the same back four of Segares, Berry, Anibaba and Thompson for the first time this season.
“Our goal more than anything is a clean sheet,” said Klopas. “Keeping a clean sheet, we will get our opportunities and we’ll go from there.”
For New York, Klopas added, “You have to be aware of certain players that they have that are impact players. It is up to us in transition to be good, to stay compact as a team. They have quality players so limit their opportunities on the ball.”