BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. — The Chicago Fire on Thursday announced a high-profile friendly with CD Guadalajara on Sept. 14 — smack in the middle of a critical period for the seventh-place Fire, who are hoping to be in the playoff picture for their Sept. 10 game at San Jose and their Sept. 17 date against Chivas USA.
But despite the new addition to their schedule, the Chicago players aren’t worried about the exhibition match against Chivas having an adverse effect on their postseason push.
“We’re all soccer players and the same thing that could happen in that game could happen in training or could happen at home,” Fire center back Cory Gibbs told MLSsoccer.com on Thursday.
“It’s a good opportunity to prepare ourselves and a good opportunity to play a great team,” Gibbs added. “Every 90 minute-game is fun, every 90-minute game you look forward to regardless of the opportunity. If it’s a preseason game, a friendly game, an Open Cup game, whatever it may be, it’s just good to have a chance to play a 90-minute game instead of having to train against each other again.”
Fire captain Logan Pause echoed Gibbs’s sentiments, telling MLSsoccer.com that he’s more than fine with the team scheduling a midweek friendly for the end of the season.
“This is one of the reasons that you have a 30-man roster,” said Pause (pictured above). “Just like in Open Cup play, just like in league play and like in other exhibitions, we’re going to count on everyone and that’s not going to change how we do things.”
Pause also recognized the business aspect of the friendly, saying that he thinks the match — which figures to be a significant money-maker for the Fire — will help raise awareness of the club and of the league in the Chicago area.
“There’s a lot that goes into those games,” Pause said. “From expanding the Chicago Fire brand, to expanding the league brand and [getting] an opportunity to match up against a different club and team of that caliber, I think is great.
“And obviously, with the [large] Hispanic population in Chicago, I’m sure it’s going to be a great draw,” he added. “I think these games are good for the league; sometimes they don’t fall in the times you’d want, but that’s part of it.”
Sam Stejskal covers the Chicago Fire for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @samstejskal.