BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. — After a disappointing rookie season that saw him play just 114 total minutes, Chicago Fire midfielder Corben Bone is starting to establish himself with the first team.
The 22-year-old Bone, whom the Fire selected with the 13th pick in the 2010 SuperDraft, has started Chicago’s last two matches, playing 74 minutes in each.
He didn’t do a whole lot in his first start, struggling to make an impact against Colorado center midfielders Jeff Larentowicz and Pablo Mastroeni in Chicago’s 1-1 draw at the Rapids on April 30.
But Bone was much better in his follow-up performance. The Wake Forest product looked good in last Saturday’s scoreless draw against Vancouver, passing well, defending nicely and using his speed and some quick decision making to create several chances.
“I think I’ve done pretty well,” Bone told MLSsoccer.com on Thursday. “I haven’t really made too many mistakes and that’s kind of what I’ve been trying to do. I’ve been trying to get into the game, play simple and play myself into the game to get my confidence back.”
One of Bone’s better plays of the season came in the 18th minute of last weekend’s match against the Whitecaps. He collected a headed ball inside Chicago’s box and promptly launched a dangerous counterattack, sprinting into space before switching the ball to fellow center mid Gastón Puerari to continue the move.
The attack didn’t amount to a goal — forward Diego Cháves blew a good look at net — but it was a good characterization of the simple, effective soccer Bone is trying to play.
“It feels good to be out there, but I’m not trying to get over-excited and do things that I can’t do,” he said. “I’m just trying to play to my ability and hopefully things work out. … I’ve gotten better in the last two games and that’s the goal.”
Bone will likely make his third straight start when the Fire takes on Toronto FC at BMO Field this Saturday (7 pm ET, Direct Kick, MatchDay Live). The center midfielder should feel comfortable north of the border — it’s where he made his MLS debut last season.
“I feel more comfortable [the more I play],” Bone said. “I feel more confident in myself and what I can do.”
Sam Stejskal covers the Chicago Fire for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org follow him on Twitter @samstejskal.