Without injured Arne Friedrich, Chicago Fire defense lags a step behind

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – If Sunday's 4-0 loss to the LA Galaxy was any indication, the Chicago Fire backline will be in trouble if Arne Friedrich misses any more games.

Out with a hamstring injury, the German World Cup veteran watched from a suite as Robbie Keane and Mike Magee torched the Fire defense with Steven Kinney manning Friedrich's position. Austin Berry, though, preached patience with the new-look backline.

“I just think me and Arne got used to each other a lot last year, so there wasn't a lot of need for communication and shaping,” Berry told MLSsoccer.com. “We had a lot of fluid movement with each other. Steve's a good player, and it's exciting to see him back from injury. It's going to take a little bit of time to get used to his movements and for us to jell.”

Friedrich is once again questionable for Saturday's game against New England (7:30 pm ET; NBCSN in the US, MLS Live in Canada) after missing Wednesday's practice.


Kinney returned to MLS action on Sunday for the first time since he tore his Achilles in the latter stages of 2010. The 25-year-old was utilized as a right back during his rookie season, but he made the transition to center back during preseason.

His first game back was a rough one, but his teammates made it clear that Kinney doesn't deserve to bear the brunt of the blame for the performance.

“Everything, from top to bottom [went wrong,]” left back Gonzalo Segares told MLSsoccer.com. “We were not tight on guys, we gave them too much freedom, our lines were too spread out. Overall, we didn't stay compact. We were a little bit better at the beginning, and once the first goal came, we just lost control. They took advantage of those pockets, turning and coming at us.

Chicago might catch a break against New England, who open their season on Saturday with a boatload of attacking questions. No forward on the team has more than seven career MLS goals, and just how all the pieces will fit is up for debate.

“Overall, [the loss to the Galaxy] was a really, really bad game and we've got to learn from it and keep moving forward,” Segares said. “We were just not mentally prepared and I think we have to do a better job on that.”


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