Nery Castillo could see his first start for Chicago against New England on Wednesday.
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Castillo left home for Fire's trip to Seattle

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Chicago Fire Designated Player Nery Castillo is not traveling to Seattle for Chicago’s match on Saturday against the Sounders, head coach Carlos de los Cobos revealed on Thursday.

“Nery needs to recover his best fitness level,” de los Cobos said. “He’s not 100 percent so he’s not traveling with the team. I prefer that this player stay with [fitness coach Álvaro] Briones and the other guys to train and maybe next week he’s ready to play against LA.”

READ: Castillo admits he's still out of shape

Castillo hasn’t gone more than 45 minutes in any of the three games he’s played in a Fire uniform. Two of those games were starts.

A few other notes from Chicago’s Thursday-morning training session:

Johnson to start

Rookie goalkeeper Sean Johnson, who is listed as questionable on this week’s injury report, will start on Saturday.

“The doctor tells me that he’s ready to play,” de los Cobos said of Johnson, who returned to training on Thursday after missing practice on Tuesday and Wednesday. “He will start.”

Pappa out of XI?

Fire winger Marco Pappa did not train on Thursday after tweaking his hamstring during Wednesday’s practice. De los Cobos said it’s currently unclear whether Pappa will be able to start on Saturday.

“We need to wait,” de los Cobos said. “We need to analyze tomorrow how he it feels and [whether he can] start or not.”

Back line possibilities

With center back Wilman Conde suspended due to yellow-card accumulation and right back Dasan Robinson out injured, the Fire will be using a new-look back four against the Sounders.

De los Cobos mentioned two possibilities for his starting back line. One would place Gonzalo Segares at left back, C.J. Brown and Kwame Watson-Siriboe in the middle, and Steven Kinney on the right. The other option would be to play with Krzysztof Krol on the left, Segares and Brown in the middle, and Kinney on the right.

Sam Stejskal covers the Chicago Fire for Email him at and follow him on Twitter @samstejskal.

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