By TYLER DAY
The Fire returned to training this week to prepare for Saturday’s game at the Philadelphia Union, the same club fell to, 1-0, last Saturday at Toyota Park. It was a game Chicago controlled throughout and had a number of chances to take the lead, but came away frustrated after a late Jack McInerney goal.
Many of the chances were created by the attacking duo of Patrick Nyarko and Chris Rolfe. Nyarko started up front in place of Sherjill MacDonald, who missed the game with an illness. MacDonald returned to training Wednesday and should be in the 18 on Saturday, but head coach Frank Klopas assured Nyarko and Rolfe will get another opportunity to find the net.
“I think you have to try different things,” Klopas said after training Wednesday. “The important thing is that in our play we created chances and were dangerous. It’s going to come, we just have to keep working and they are going to fall.”
The Fire have failed to scored in five of its nine matches this season. With the return of Jeff Larentowicz to pair with Logan Pause in the midfield, Saturday is likely to continue the team’s ten game streak of having a different starting lineup.
Here are some more notes from Fire camp:
EYE ON MCINERNEY
If they hope to return the favor to the Union and steal three away points, they will certainly need to keep track of young striker Jack McInerney. Heading into the Union’s match on Saturday against the Fire, McInerney leads Major League Soccer with seven goals. His seven goals is more than the six goals mustered by the entire Fire team this season.
“We did well with him last week except for 30 seconds,” Fire defender Austin Berry said after training. “He’s a guy that can disappear the whole game but he works hard to put himself in those kinds of positions to score. If you want to call them sloppy goals, but he works hard for them.”
Klopas agreed with his defenders assessment: “That’s a forward where maybe the game is tough, but maybe you get one opportunity, which every forward is looking for. He’s pretty clever and makes very good runs and he’s dangerous.”
Berry also discussed the team’s focus on distribution out of the back, which was the focus of Wednesday’s training.
“I think Philly is going to step a bit higher being at home,” Berry said. “With the weather being a little bit different, we have to do better with the ball in the back and to be able to connect our forwards and midfielders. We showed last week when we are on the ball we can be dangerous. Hopefully we’ll get something in the goal this time.”
There is no update from the team on injured defender Arne Friedrich, except to say they hope to have him back in training next week. No official timetable has been set.
LEON PROVIDES UPDATE ON ROGERS
President of Soccer Operations Javier Leon revealed Tuesday the team has begun negotiations with the Galaxy on a possible move involving Robbie Rogers.
It was not revealed the progress of the negotiations, and Leon reiterated that the team valued Rogers’ rights as central to the trade involving Dilly Duka and Dominic Oduro. He acknowledged Rogers’ desire to play near his family, and the Fire and Galaxy “need to be able to find a solution for the value that we’d be giving up.”
FIRE U.S. OPEN CUP DRAW ANNOUNCED
The results of the Fire’s third round draw in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup tournament were announced Wednesday afternoon.
On Tuesday, May 28th, the team will play the winner of the Charlotte Eagles (USL-PRO) vs. Seattle Sounders FC U-23 (PDL) match that takes place in Charlotte, N.C. on May 21st. If the Sounders win, the Fire will host the match at Toyota Park on Tuesday, May 28 at 6:30 p.m. CT. If the Eagles win, the Fire will play on the road at Winthrop University Stadium in Rock Hill, S.C.
The game will challenge an already short-handed side that has an away match vs. Real Salt Lake on May 25th and a home game on June 2nd against D.C. United. The Fire are looking for their fifth U.S. Open Cup win, which would tie the record held by Maccabi Los Angeles and Bethlehem Steel. The team was last in the Cup Finals in 2011.
What do you make of these notes? Do you believe Nyarko and Rolfe are best up top for the Fire? Do you see the Fire shutting McInerney down on Saturday? Do you think the Fire can progress in the U.S. Open Cup?
Share your thoughts below.