BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. — Though he told reporters on Thursday that he “feels 100 percent,” Fire midfielder Logan Pause will not return to the starting lineup at Philadelphia on Saturday.
The veteran center midfielder, who missed the Fire’s last three games with a strained hamstring, will begin Saturday’s game behind holding midfielder Daniel Paladini.
Pause started and wore the captain’s armband for Chicago’s first six games.
"I want to keep the guys who are making a good job [now],” Fire head coach Carlos de los Cobos said Thursday. “It's normal and sometimes happens.
“Logan is always important for me. For that reason, I named him captain,” added the coach. “He was out three weeks and the team is playing good. I think I'll always need Logan, he's a good leader in the group. He's a smart guy, he understands the situation and he'll keep working to return to play."
Pause, who trained fully for the first time on Thursday since sustaining his injury, was complimentary of Paladini and fellow center mid Corben Bone after practice.
“More than I can say, they deserve an opportunity to play,” Pause said. “I'm proud of them and they've done well."
Mikulic still out
Center back Josip Mikulic will miss his second consecutive game due to a shoulder injury.
The 25-year-old defender has been dealing with pain in his shoulder since suffering the knock in the first half of the Fire’s April 30 game at Colorado.
Yamith Cuesta will likely fill in on the back line.
Nazarit to travel with the team
New signing Cristian Nazarit will travel with the Fire for Saturday’s match. The Colombian striker, who signed with Chicago on May 4, was supposed to travel to Toronto for last week’s match but couldn’t due to visa issues.
De los Cobos said Nazarit, who scored a goal in 69 minutes of play in Tuesday’s reserve match against Kansas City, will not start at Philadelphia.
De los Cobos said that ‘keeper Jon Conway will start in net against Philadelphia. Conway, who took the No. 1 spot from Sean Johnson, let in a very soft goal in the 47th minute of last week’s match at Toronto.
"Jon will play,” de los Cobos said. “He had an accident on the second goal but he made a very good save when we were losing 2-1 and this gave us an opportunity to tie."
The Fire coach also said that forward Diego Cháves, who picked up a foot contusion against Toronto and hasn’t trained this week, will travel to Philadelphia.
Sam Stejskal covers the Chicago Fire for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @samstejskal.