Fire welcome rest, but worried about losing momentum
BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. — The Chicago Fire have conflicted feelings about their current week-and-a-half break from action.
On the one hand, Chicago know that they could use a little time off. Tuesday’s 2-1 US Open Cup semifinal win over the Richmond Kickers was their fourth game in 12 days. The team is physically tired, mentally fatigued and a bit banged up. They’ll have plenty of time to recharge and recover ahead of their next match, a Sept. 10 league game at San Jose.
But on the other hand, the Fire want to keep playing. They have won their last three matches and are unbeaten in their last five, a stretch that has put them just five points out of the playoffs picture and advanced them to the Open Cup final. They want to keep their momentum going, something that might be tough to do with their extended break.
“There’s a give and take,” Fire captain Logan Pause said when asked about Chicago’s break after Tuesday’s win over Richmond. “It’s got pros and it’s got cons.”
The Fire didn’t train on Wednesday and won’t practice on Saturday or Sunday. They’ll come back on Monday, though, for their first full, uninterrupted week of training since Aug. 8-13. It will also give key midfielders Sebastián Grazzini (hamstring) and Pável Pardo (calf) time to recover from injuries picked up on Tuesday and Saturday, respectively.
“I think it’s the right time in terms of a couple guys that are banged up to get healthy,” Pause said. “I think it’s also a good time for us to get a full week of training. We’ve had a lot of midweek games over the last little bit and to get some time training and get a couple of days to relax and recuperate a little bit.”
But Pause also knows that the break could also cool the streaking Fire, who haven’t lost since their disastrous 4-2 defeat at Vancouver on Aug. 7.
“We’ll see after the result in San Jose whether it’s the right time or wrong time,” he said. “Of course as you start to get into a groove you want to continue to play and play but … we’ll use it as wisely as we can.”
Sam Stejskal covers the Chicago Fire for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @samstejskal.