Frank Klopas prior to Montreal opener

Fire Notebook: Klopas' group nearing full fitness

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. — The Chicago Fire will be at full strength when they face the Philadelphia Union in their home opener on Saturday (8:30 pm ET; MLS Live) – well, almost.

While Gonzalo Segares picked up a minor ankle sprain and Sebastián Grazzini suffered from cramps last Saturday against Montreal, they’ll both be fine for the home opener at Toyota Park.

But former German international center back Arne Friedrich will not play this week, as he works on gaining match fitness. It could be another few weeks before Fire fans are able to see their team’s newest acquisition in action.

“It’s just a matter of getting him time to train with the team, just to get back into fitness,” head coach Frank Klopas told “Next week, he’ll take more of a part with the team [in training]. We’ll see if he’s ready for Colorado [on April 1st] or if he’s 100 percent for the Houston game [on April 15th].”

Schilawski still on trial

Former New England forward Zack Schilawski has been on trial with the Fire for the last two weeks.

“I’ve always liked him out of college,” Klopas told “We looked at him, but he got picked by New England at that time. It was good for us to bring him in and take a look.”

Schilawski scored six goals in two seasons with the Revolution after they drafted him ninth in the 2010 MLS SuperDraft. New England waived the Wake Forest product in early March and he has been without a club since.

The Fire already have six forwards on their roster.

“It might be difficult for us right now to create space,” Klopas said. “But it’s good to bring him in because I’ve always liked the player and I wanted to see him on an everyday basis.”

Taking at look at two more

Klopas said the club hasn’t made a decision on forward Lucky Mkosana, who finished his Dartmouth education and returned to the Fire permanently two weeks ago.

Fire coaches will have a chance to look at Mkosana during the next few reserve games.

“It’s unfortunate that we didn’t get to see him, but now we have the opportunity on an everyday basis,” Klopas told “We need to make a decision with him.”

Another unfamiliar face that will take part in reserve games will be defender Juan David Duque. The 21-year-old Colombian joined the Fire as a guest player after he signed with MLS in the offseason.

Klopas said it’s a chance for him to get a “free look” at the young defender. If the Fire choose to do so, they are free to add him to their roster — however nothing appears imminent.

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