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May 2010 Archives

AC Milan, one of the world's most high-profile soccer clubs, is making the most of its latest visit to Chicago. Ronaldinho, the star midfielder, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch at Friday's Cubs' game and AC Milan will also hold an open-to-the-public practice at Toyota Park from 5-6 p.m. on Saturday.
Fans will be admitted to the Italian club's workout if they purchase a ticket to the Chicago Red Stars' match against FC Gold Pride, which will immediately follow the workout. The Red Stars' match will also be special, in that it'll be the first without recently fired head coach Emma Hayes. It's expected that general manager Marcia McDermott will guide the Red Stars in this match.
The Fire, meanwhile, will get its test against AC Milan on Sunday in its third international friendly in a 12-day span. The others didn't go very well, as the Fire failed to score in losses to Paris Saint-Germain and Legia Warsaw in the first Sister Cities International Cup tournament.
More international matches were also announced, but they won't be so friendly. The Fire will host three matches in the SuperLiga tournament -- July 14 vs. Monarcas Morelia, July 17 vs. the New England Revolution and July 20 vs. Mexico's Pumas UNAM.

Coach Carlos de los Cobos used his team's two international friendlies at the Sisters Cities International Cup event to tinker with his lineup and one experiment was especially eye-catching.
Logan Pause, a stalwart defensive midfielder, played at right back in a 3-0 consolation game loss to Poland's Legia Warsaw.
``I liked it,'' said de los Cobos. ``Logan did good work. I wasn't surprised because Logan is a very good professional with a very good personalty and positive attitude.''
The switch, though, came because Tim Ward is out with an injury and Dasan Robinson wasn't feeling well. It was made out of immediate necessity more than anything else.
Robinson will be back in that spot when the Fire hosts FC Dallas on Thursday and Pause will be back at his defensive midfield position.

HERE'S some tidbits gathered during the Fire's mid-week training:

-- The Fire's Premier Development team hosts the Cincinnati Kings on the Toyota Park turf field Tuesday night. It'll be the third match for the Fire PDL squad following a 2-0 win over the Kalamazoo Outrage and 1-0 victory over the Indiana Invaders. On Saturday the Fire visits the Cleveland Internationals. Wins in both games will probably be needed for the Fire PDLers to advance to the Great Lakes Division qualifying table in the U.S. Open Cup eliminations.

-- The first team's injury problem is lessening. Justin Mapp played well against Legia and could start on the left side of the midfield against FC Dallas if Mike Banner isn't up to it. Rookie defender Steve Kinney is also back full-time after battling a long-term injury. Still out are John Thorrington and Calen Carr.

-- Patrick Nyarko's absence from the lineup sheet for the Legia match wasn't because of injury. De los Cobos just wanted to rest him. He was missed, as the Fire was crushed 3-0. ``When we don't have Patrick on the field we have problems,'' said de los Cobos. ``He's a very good player. We need to take care of this guy.''

-- Technical director Frank Klopas won't be going to South Africa for next month's World Cup finals. He'll watch the matches on TV, but prefers to stay close to his team even though there'll be no Fire matches during the World Cup. The Fire, which doesn't have a player participating at South Africa, is expected to take a five-day break from training when the big international tournament is in progress.

The Fire's next international friendly will include an open-to-the-public practice for A. C. Milan. The Italian powerhouse will train beginning at 5 p.m. on Saturday with the Red Stars' game against FC Gold Pride to follow.
Milan's training session is open to fans who purchase a ticket to the Red Stars' match. Those tickets start at $15 if purchased in advance. Parking lots will open at 4:30 p.m. and the Toyota Park gates at 5 p.m.
The Saturday program will feature Ronaldinho, the A.C. Milan Brazilian midfielder who was the FIFA World Player of the Year in 2004 and 2005 and Marta, a four-time FIFA Women's Player of the Year, will be on the field for FC Gold Pride.
AC Milan will test the Fire on at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday. It'll be their second meeting. A.C. Milan won the first 3-1 at Soldier Field in 2005.

This is a month for international friendlies for the Fire. The Sister Cities International Cup meant matches against Paris Saint-Germain of France and Legia Warsaw of Poland.
Next up is the Pizza Friendly -- a social gathering at Piece-Wicker Park, 1927 W. North Ave., in which Fire players Andrew Dykstra, Baggio Husidic, Peter Lowry, Patrick Nyarko and Calen Carr will serve up the Italian dish in an event that will benefit the Chicago Fire Foundation as well as promote the next friendly match -- the Sunday, May 30, meeting with Italian powerhouse AC Milan at Toyota Park. The Pizza Friendly will run from 5-7 p.m.

Sean Johnson will make his first start for the Fire against Paris Saint-Germain in the opening game of the first Sister Cities International Cup tournament Wednesday night at Toyota Park.
Andrew Dykstra, the backup to the departed Jon Busch last season, has been in goal for all eight of the Fire's Major League Soccer matches. Now Johnson, a fourth-round choice (52nd overall) in this year's MLS SuperDraft, will get a chance. He played collegiately at Central Florida.
With the exception of Johnson, coach Carlos de los Cobos plans to used a normal starting lineup with Krzysztof Krol, C.J. Brown, Wilman Conde and Dasan Robinson in the back; Baggio Husidic, Julio Martinez, Logan Pause, Patrick Nyarko and Marco Pappa in the midfield and Brian McBride as the lone striker.
That lineup will remain on the field only through the first 45 minutes, however. Then de los Cobos will turn to players who have seen little action during the MLS season.

Here's some other tidbits as the Fire's new tournament closes in:

-- Right back Tim Ward could be out awhile. The injury to his right calf is more serious than originally thought, and de los Cobos doesn't expect him back on the field for two-three weeks.

-- Martinez kept the Fire's streak going in nominations for MLS goal-of-the-week. The Salvadoran national team player's tally in a 2-2 tie at Kansas City last Saturday marked the sixth week in a row the Fire has had a nominee for the league award, and two of those goals (by Pappa and Pause) were selected as the MLS' best for that week.

-- De los Cobos is keeping Martinez in his starting 11 but stresses that his job isn't safe. ``He's improving, but he needs to adapt to this league, where the players are very strong and fast,'' said de los Cobos. ``He's not very fast and not very strong. It is difficult, but he scored and is improving and that's strengthened his confidence -- but he's not at the level I need.''

-- Justin Mapp is back. The midfielder has had hamstring problems but worked out full-time on Tuesday and will likely be among the first players off the bench against Paris Saint-Germain.

-- Leg injuries to John Thorrington and Calen Carr are becoming more and more disturbing. Neither has played this season. ``Doctors give me some information,'' said de los Cobos, ``but they've been very long injuries. I hope they recover fast, but I don't think it's possible. Their situations have created a problem, because we need all our players healthy.''

-- McBride and Collins John have basically alternated as the lone striker, but McBride -- who didn't start at Kansas City but scored in the second half -- has been more impressive. ``He's producing more. He's an experienced player who shows me all the time that he's a good player,'' said de los Cobos. ``When I made a change and he went on the field the team changed. You could see his mobility. He strengthened the confidence of the team.''

Poland's Legia Warsaw will hold an open-to-the-public workout at Illinois-Chicago's field, 901 W. Roosevelt Rd., from 7:30-8:30 p.m. on Monday to kick off special events connected to the Sister Cities International Cup tournament that begins Wednesday at Toyota Park.
Three other open-to-the-public practices are scheduled. The Fire's will be from 9 a.m.-noon on Tuesday at Toyota Park. Red Star Belgrade will conduct its workout from 8-9:30 p.m. Tuesday at Illinois-Chicago and Paris Saint-Germain will welcome visitors from 5-6:30 p.m. on Friday at Toyota Park.
All four teams will participate in a youth clinic from 4-6 p.m. Thursday at the Lincoln Park turf field. Fire players will be Steve Kinney, Krzysztof Krol, Dasan Robinson, Justin Mapp and Peter Lowry.
Games begin on Wednesday with the Fire facing PSG and Legia Warsaw taking on Red Star Belgrade. That doubleheader will begin at 7 p.m. at Toyota Park. The tourney concludes with another doubleheader there on Saturday, with the consolation game at 6 p.m. and the championship game to follow.

Filip Tapalovic and Danny Spiller have come and gone. Now the Fire is looking at Benjamin Kabongo and Stavros Glouftsis, two players from Belgium's third division.
Tapalovic, a Croatian midfielder, and Spiller, an English midfielder, had tryouts but weren't signed. Now Kabongo and Glouftsis will get a chance. Both reported to Fire training this week.
Kabongo was last with VC Eendracht Aalst and Glouftsis with K Rupel Bloom. Glouftsis scored 27 goals in 34 games for his Belgian club.

Pause had top goal

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Logan Pause is a defensive midfielder, but coach Carlos de los Cobos has urged Pause to shoot and that paid off. Pause's 35-yard rocket in the 50th minute of Saturday's 4-1 loss at Toronto earned 31 percent of the votes for Major League Soccer's goal-of-the-week. Pause received the league-wide honor on only his second goal in his eight-season MLS career.
The Fire has had nominees for the week's top goal for five weeks in a row and Pause, in Week 7, was the second winner. Marco Pappa had the goal-of-the-week in Week 3.
NOTE: Tryouts for the Fire Academy's under-18, under-16 and under-14 boys teams will be held May 24-25 at Toyota Park.

Ward, Husidic go down

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Frequent Fire starters Tim Ward and Baggio Husidic were carted off the practice field on Tuesday as coach Carlos de los Cobos put his players through a workout in the rain on the Toyota Park practice field. Husidic was the victim of a tackle from behind and suffered an injury to his right Achilles.
``Timmy's injury was similar. I hope they'll return to practice tomorrow,'' de los Cobos said.

Other Fire tidbits:

-- The Fire hoped to have a player named to the U.S. team's 30-man roster for next month's World Cup. It didn't happen, but U.S. coach Bob Bradley -- himself the Fire boss the first five seasons of the franchise -- picked two former Fire players in defender Carlos Bocanegra and midfielder DaMarcus Beasley. Bocanegra now playes for Rennes in the French league. Beasley played for Dutch club PSV Eindhoven and England's Manchester City immediately after leaving the Fire in 2004. He has most recently played for Glasgow Rangers but has had trouble getting playing time. Beasley, who had two goals in 14 matches for the Scottish club this season, announced this week that he is leaving the Rangers.

-- Defensive midfielder Logan Pause was a nominee for MLS goal-of-the-week for his 35-yard blast in a 4-1 loss at Toronto. That was only the second MLS goal in Pause's eight-season career, the first coming in April, 2007, vs. New England. Pause's selection marked the fifth straight week that the Fire has had a player nominated for goal-of-the-week.

-- Midfielder Justin Mapp, nursing a hamstring injury suffered May 1 vs. Chivas, again watched practice. Calen Carr and John Thorrington remained sidelined with long-term injuries that have kept them out of every game so far.

-- The U.S. preliminary World Cup roster included defender Jonathan Spector, who grew up in Arlington Heights. He now plays for West Hamm of the English Premier League. The other 30-man rosters that had to be turned in by World Cup participants brought good news for the Fire. Neither Ronaldinho nor Pato were selected, meaning those long-time World Cup stars will be with AC Milan in an international friendly against the Fire at Toyota Park on May 30.

Chivas USA midfielder Michael Lahoud drew a two-game suspension and $500 fine for a reckless tackle on Fire midfielder Justin Mapp, MLS announced on Tuesday.
Mapp left Saturday's game at Toyota Park with a hamstring injury shortly after the incident, which came in the 13th minute of a 1-1 draw. Lahoud was called for a foul but not issued a card after the incident, but the MLS disciplinary committee unanimously ruled that he had endangered the safety of an opponent.
Mapp was unable to practice with the Fire on Tuesday and his status for Saturday's road match at Toronto FC is uncertain

Polish defender Krzysztof Krol will return to the starting 11 for the Fire's road match against Toronto FC on Saturday. Krol, who sat out last Saturday's 1-1 draw against Chivas USA with a red card suspension, will replace Deris Umanzor at Toronto.
Like Umanzor now, Krol had a slow start in his first season with the Fire. ``But I can see his development each week,'' coach Carlos de los Cobos said after Tuesday's practice. ``Umanzor is working, but we want to play the players who serve us much better, and right now Krol is better.''
De los Cobos feels that Umanzor and Salvadoran midfielder Julio Martinez are still adapting to Major League Soccer. ``MLS players are stronger, faster, heavier,'' said de los Cobos. ``For them to adapt to this situation isn't easy, but I believe they can make it.''
De los Cobos was without both of his strikers during Tuesday's full-squad workout. Collins John is recovering from a leg injury that kept him out of the Chivas match and Brian McBride had a sponsorship commitment. McBride is expected back at practice on Wednesday and de los Cobos believes John is close to returning after watching him run prior to the team's Tuesday workout.
Midfielder Logan Pause, out with a knee injury since April 3, will be on the travel roster for Toronto. It'll be the first time he's been listed as eligible for action since his injury. Dasan Robinson, who has also had leg problems, returned to the full workout and English midfielder Danny Spiller began his second week of training as a tryout player.
Justin Mapp, who started as an outside midfielder against Chivas before a hamstring injury led to his going off in the 22nd minute, could only watch Tuesday's drills.

John could miss time

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Collins John said the leg injury that kept him out of Saturday's game vs. Chivas USA started at the end of practice on Thursday. He felt he could still play and was on the original game roster posted by coach Carlos de los Cobos.
During pre-game warmups, however, John realized he couldn't go. De los Cobos had already put him in the starting 11 and, in making him an unusual last-minute scratch, made him ineligible to play against Chivas USA.
John said he couldn't have played anyway and has doubts about when he can. ``I don't think I'll practice until at least Wednesday,'' he said after his team's 1-1 tie. That puts his status in limbo for next Saturday's game at Toronto FC.
Brian McBride was given the start when John couldn't go and didn't get off a shot. De los Cobos pulled him in the 88th minute, giving Stefan Dimitro his first playing time of the season. The absence of John and Chivas' defensive work on McBride led to the Fire offense sputtering. Chivas had a 14-4 advantage in shots in the match.

Here's some Fire news you might not find anywhere else:

-- WPWR (Ch. 50) joined Comcast SportsNet and Universion Radio as broadcast partners of the Fire. WPWR will make its season debut broadcasting the Fire-Chivas USA match on Saturday and will also carry next Saturday's match at Toronto. WPWR is set to a minimum of eight games this season.

-- Krzysztof Krol, the Polish defender, will make an appearance at noon on Sunday at the Polish Consitution Day Festival at Chicago's Copernicus Center.

-- Goaltender Andrew Dykstra earned his first MLS save-of-the-week honor for a spectacular sequence in last week's 2-0 win over Houston. Dykstra's was actually a double-save -- stops on back-to-back shots within seconds of each other.

-- The Fire has added junior affiliates in Louisiana and Florida.

-- Tickets to the May 30 match atainst AC Milan went on sale on Saturday through both the Fire and Tickemaster.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from May 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

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