BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – The Chicago Fire could be without both of their starting center backs for Saturday’s match at Qwest Field in Seattle (4 pm ET, Direct Kick, MatchDay Live).
Central defender Josip Mikulic strained his left quad last week and did not travel with the Fire to Seattle, while back-line partner Cory Gibbs (pictured above) injured his right groin this week. Mikulic will not rejoin the team in time even for its April 14 trip to Portland for the Timbers' home opener, while the veteran Gibbs will be a game-time decision for the Fire.
“Cory is traveling with us,” Fire head coach Carlos de los Cobos said Thursday. “He’s feeling better. The doctor made some studies and it’s not a really serious injury. ... I’ll wait for Saturday to make a decision whether he plays or not.”
De los Cobos said either Yamith Cuesta or Dasan Robinson will fill in for Mikulic on Saturday. If Gibbs is unable to play, both Cuesta – who started alongside Gibbs in the Fire’s 2-1 US Open Cup qualifying win over Colorado last week – and Robinson will feature.
It’s not all bad news for the Fire, though. Starting goalkeeper Sean Johnson – who missed time this week with a general illness – will play on Saturday and midfielders Bratislav Ristic and Marko Maric – who missed the last couple of weeks with injuries of their own – will be available for selection.
Sam Stejskal covers the Chicago Fire for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @samstejskal.