Scott Buete: "I've just got a bruise on it right now on the inside from a hard knock I took in the first half of our last game. It just doesn't feel 100% right now and I'm taking it day-to-day. There's a little fluid in there so I'm just taking it safe. It's not that bad, but it's aggravating."
Chicago-Fire.com: Regarding the season, you've been able to step up and get minutes due to Gold Cup call-ups and injuries. Has playing in the Reserve Division games helped you prepare for your recent games with the first team?
SB: "The Reserve games have been very important. No one thinks it's fun waking up the next morning after a game, but our team has done very well. I take it very seriously because it gives you 90 minutes of playing time, touches on the ball, and keeps you in shape. I think they've helped everyone prepare to step in when they need to."
Chicago-Fire.com: What do you feel is the biggest difference for you individually comparing this season with your rookie season last year? What have you done to change your game, if anything?
SB: "I think it's a confidence thing. You play with these guys for a year now and you figure out their strengths and other players are willing to help out. I think there's also a comfort factor, with coaches being more comfortable to tell me what I'm doing wrong or right. I use what they say then for the next practice or game."
Chicago-Fire.com: What do you think has been the biggest improvement you've made to your game?
SB: "Knowing how to manage the game, I think. Last year when I got starts there was a nervous factor and I felt like I was running all over the place. Now I know when to go for the ball, when to switch play, stuff like that. Not necessarily always touching the ball, but being in the right place at the right time."
Chicago-Fire.com: Where do you see yourself going into the final third of the season, keeping in mind the steady lineup changes that have been made this year?
SB: "I still see myself as a big-time contributor. That's what I want to be. Before the Gold Cup, Dave [Sarachan] said to be ready because those guys would be gone for the Gold Cup and in case Thiago were ever to get hurt, which is exactly what happened. Once those guys come back I'll still be working hard in Reserve games and in practice so that I'll get some time to contribute too".
Chicago-Fire.com: It seems that you and Jesse Marsch have worked well with each other in the midfield over the past few matches. Would you say someone with his experience is a type of player you look up to?
SB: "I definitely look at anyone older. I've got Jesse and C.J. Brown and Jimmy [Curtain] behind me giving instructions, and they've been helpful. Guys like Justin Mapp have also helped me out, too."
Chicago-Fire.com: Is there anything about this season that has stuck out for you personally?
SB: "The last two games I've had a chance to get a goal and I'm starting to itch about that. Maybe one of these games I'll actually get one without it being called back or the goalkeeper making a great save. That's my next step."