It’s looking more and more likely that Chicago Fire midfielder Mike Banner will open up the season on the injured list.
Banner hasn’t trained this preseason because of a bilateral achilles injury suffered late last year. He didn’t travel with the team to Charleston, S.C., for the Carolina Challenge Cup, remaining in Chicago to continue rehab.
“He’s progressing a little slowly,” Fire technical director Frank Klopas told MLSsoccer.com on Wednesday. “The injury’s in an area that doesn’t have a lot of blood flow, so it takes longer [to heal] than other areas. We’ll see where he is when we get back to Chicago on Sunday. He’s improving, but it’s a slow process.”
Forward Calen Carr is also out injured. The 28-year-old striker hasn’t played in any of the Fire’s preseason friendlies and hasn’t trained since picking up an undisclosed injury while the team was in Florida.
[inline_node:330181]The prognosis isn’t as grim for Dasan Robinson (pictured right). The defender suffered a hip flexor injury early in preseason but recently returned to full training and will be available for selection in the team’s two remaining friendlies.
Things are also looking up for defender Steven Kinney, who ruptured his achilles in last year’s season finale. Klopas said that Kinney – who is four months into a six- to eight-month rehab process – is recovering on schedule and could begin running soon.
“The medical staff has been very happy with Steve’s progress,” Klopas said. “For him, it’s just a matter of time. He should be ready to go by June.”
Klopas told MLSsoccer.com last week that Chicago were looking to sign an international forward. He updated that search on Wednesday.
“We have some options that we’re looking at in terms of international players and we’re also looking within the league,” Klopas said. “We’re still working on determining which way to go.”
Klopas didn’t provide a timeline for when a potential addition would be made.
Roster cut timeline
Klopas said the Fire won’t make final cuts until they return to Chicago at the end of this week. The team currently has 31 players in camp; 23 are under contract, seven are on trial and there is one unsigned draft pick.
The Chicago TD has indicated that the Fire will probably open the season with 28 players on the roster, so the Fire will use Wednesday’s friendly against Toronto FC and Saturday’s match against the Charleston Battery to help make their final decisions.