BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Arne Friedrich can remember playing on an artificial turf field once in the last decade, and his reintroduction to the surface before the Chicago Fire played New England at Gillette Stadium wasn’t an easy one.
The German center back left light training sessions at the Toyota Park turf practice field and at Gillette Stadium with a sore back, so he decided to sit out last Saturday’s 1-0 loss to the Revolution.
“I discussed with Frank [Klopas, head coach], because the next coming games are very important,” Friedrich said. "Nothing serious, but I definitely would like to avoid any injuries."
Friedrich had a serious back injury last year, so sitting was precautionary. He isn’t concerned about his back going forward, but don’t expect him to play on turf much during his MLS career.
“I don’t want to have any risk for injury for my back again,” Friedrich said. “I feel great on grass, but turf isn’t mine anymore.”
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The Fire missed the 32-year-old veteran, who has been known to make forays into the midfield when the Chicago offense needs a boost.
“He’s a leader,” midfielder Patrick Nyarko told MLSsoccer.com. “He talks, and he makes in-game adjustments and all that stuff. That helps us tremendously.”
Friedrich will return to the middle of the Fire defense when they play D.C. United on Saturday with major playoff implications on the line.
Pável Pardo and Wells Thompson, who also missed Saturday’s game, both practiced fully this week and should be ready for Saturday’s contest.