BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Chicago Fire midfielder Chris Rolfe noticed that Wednesday’s training session was a lot quieter than normal without captain Logan Pause.
The Fire's vocal leader suffered two broken ribs and pneumothorax, a condition that impairs breathing, after a collision with Philadelphia defender Bakary Soumare in Sunday’s 3-1 win over the Union. The holding midfielder is projected to miss four to six weeks.
Taking the Lead: Logan Pause
“It’s a big loss for us,” Rolfe told MLSsoccer.com. “He works his butt off and covers for so many people on the field during games. It’s going to be difficult for us.”
With the recent signings of attacking midfielder Álvaro Fernández and forward Sherjill MacDonald, the Fire have plenty of offensive depth.
But on Saturday against New England, Klopas seems more keen on choosing from defensive midfielders Daniel Paladini and Michael Videira, who clocked his first minutes of the season on Sunday when he came on in the 70th minute to help hold the Fire’s two-goal lead.
“The last game, obviously we brought Mike in because I felt that they were pushing, and I felt like we lost the midfield and we needed someone better at winning the ball back,” Klopas said. “Daniel obviously is a different player. He can do that but he has the ability to go forward and combine. We have some options.”
Pause’s absence goes beyond the Fire’s defensive output. The 10-year veteran's holding midfield role allows the Fire's four offensive players freedom to push forward and create.
“For me, he helps out a ton,” Rolfe said. “Otherwise I’m coming back deep into the midfield, because he’s been covering for me and he’s been doing a great job at it. We’re going to have to see how we adjust to that.”
If projections hold true, Pause will be healthy for the last five to eight games of the season.
Without him, Pável Pardo’s role may change, both as a vocal leader and as a midfielder.
“We’re losing our captain, we’re losing our leader,” Pardo, who will wear the captain’s armband Saturday, told MLSsoccer.com. “Maybe I can play deeper, maybe I can play more holding. Maybe like before, but now more than when Logan was on the field.”