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Fire Notebook: Friedrich injury forces another lineup shuffle

Arne Friedrich

Photo Credit: 
Getty Images

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. — Just when the Chicago Fire seemed to have a settled back line, German center back Arne Friedrich has been ruled out for up to four weeks with a Grade II strain in his right hamstring.

The German defender picked up the injury in the Fire’s 2-1 win over Sporting Kansas City last Saturday. He said after the game that the hamstring had been bothering him earlier that week. Friedrich missed Wednesday’s practice with flu-like symptoms after the Fire took Tuesday off.

HIGHLIGHTS: CHI 2, KC 1

Even with a long-term injury to Cory Gibbs, who tore his meniscus in early April, Klopas doesn’t know if he’ll try to add another center back.

“We don’t know how long [Friedrich] is going to be out,” Klopas said. “That’s an option.”

Rookie Austin Berry and 23-year-old Jalil Anibaba will be the fourth center back combination the Fire have used this year. Rookie Hunter Jumper and third-year player Kwame Watson-Siriboe are other options at the position.

Klopas responds to Robayo comments

Colombian midfielder Rafael Robayo expressed disappointment with his playing time in an interview with Colombian newspaper El Espectador, which was published on Tuesday. The box-to-box midfielder has played in six games and has started once this season for the Fire, and he told the paper that he has transfer options in Mexico and Europe.

Klopas seemed surprised with those claims.

“He’s been very positive in training,” Klopas said on Wednesday. “He’s had a good attitude. From my standpoint, it’s good that you can go to the bench and bring quality players in and the quality doesn’t drop. That’s the key.”

Injury notes

Right back Dan Gargan didn’t start Saturday’s game because of a nagging foot injury, but he came into the 2-1 win in the 28th minute for Friedrich.

“It’s something that has been bothering me, but it’s also something that’s gotten better,” Gargan told MLSsoccer.com. “Obviously with the amount of games we had all on top of one another, it’s tough to let it heal. These last few days [of rest] have definitely been good for it.”

Meanwhile, Chris Rolfe still hasn’t practiced since he hurt his ankle on April 19, his second day of practice after re-signing with the club.

“I’m hoping every day that he’ll have his shoes on,” Klopas said. “I talked to the trainers and I was hoping he’d be on the field this week training. That’s the goal, that at the end of this week he’s training with the team.”