Weekend Notes - Fire v Earthquakes

The Fire will close out the second phase of preseason training with concurrent games against the San Jose Earthquakes tomorrow morning at 11am 11:30 am.  The club will be split up into two teams with most of the starters seeing action in the main match.  Chicago-Fire.com will provide streaming audio play-by-play of the "A" game.

Here are a few notes ahead of the weekend:

  • Sean Johnson has been called up for the US U-23 camp and will be away from the club from February 19 through March 1.  Marco Pappa has also been called by Guatemala for matches on February 22 and a week later on the 29th.  Orr Barouch will join the Israeli U-21's for a game on February 29th as well.  Homegrown player Victor Pineda will be away from the club as he joins the US U-20's from 2/20 to 3/1.
  • Academy forward Andrew Oliver was also called to the U-20 camp.
  • Frank Klopas believes Pineda continues to show improvement and could see some first team action this season.
  • Klopas intends to go a little longer with the starting eleven in the main game tomorrow.  Possibly 70 minutes or more.
  • Rafael Robayo made his Fire debut on Wednesday going 60 minutes against the Portland Timbers.  Klopas thought he improved as the game wore on and sees the Colombian as player that can fill several roles.  "It's the first time he's played with us, he's been here a week.  He's a two way guy, he can play either on the right or left or at the top of the diamond, also if we're playing a flat 4-4-2 he can play a deeper role with the ability to go up and down," said Klopas.  "From a fitness standpoint, and adjusting to the speed of play and the physicality of our league it's a little bit different but he's got a great attitude and he's very focused.  As the game went on he did well with the second group."
  • Fire game notes here.
  • "We created some opportunities (against Portland) but we made some bad decisions on the ball and turned over the ball.  In transition we have to be better.  I felt that once we lost the ball the commitment from everyone to get behind the ball and work harder (had to be better)," said Klopas of the team's effort on Wednesday.  He's looking for a stronger effort tomorrow.

UPDATE: The B game will not be played against the Earthquakes.  Instead the Fire will once again take on the Ventura County Fusion.


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  • Honestly, I'm a bit conflicted about the call ups. It's great for Pappa, Johnson, and Barouch, but I think this is also going to test the depth Klopas attempted to put in place in the offseason. The Fire proved last season that they could play successfully without Pappa, and I'm sure Nolly is going to be a worthy backup to Johnson, but I could envision Klopas putting that Robayo versatility to the test early. If Robayo serves as a back up to Grazzini and Grazzini gets injured while Pappa is on intl. duty, it may cause some shuffling around to get the right guys in positions that are going to best benefit the team. Pause did well on the right side the last 10-12 games of 2011, but he doesn't give us speed on the flanks that we get with a Nyarko or Pappa.

  • In reply to Jeff Krause:

    In some ways though, it's nice to have this test in the preseason. Especially since we can probably count on those three getting more calls throughout the year. Maybe something like:

    Oduro Nyarko
    Bone/Guerrero Pause

    Where Nyarko plays sort of a forward, sort of a winger, making up for Logan's pace. Paladini or Bone could also fit somewhere in the middle with Robayo on the left and then there is the trialist Alex who might have an opportunity to make an impression.

  • Why is it that Alex has been unavailable for selection the last two preseason games? Injury or something else?

  • Guillermo
    Why is Jeff Crandell and Not Brandan Hannan doing Play by Play
    for Fire VS San Josey ????

  • In reply to Juergen:

    Too many pretzels perhaps?

  • In reply to Juergen:

    Brendan is back in Chicago. Fire are leaving Cali after the game, leaving Crandall to go it alone today. Also the reason for no gameday tweets from @ChiFireMatch.

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