Following the Fire's 2-1 loss to Houston last Wednesday night Arne Friedrich told reporters that he's interested in playing one more season in Chicago. When the German centerback and World Cup veteran signed with the Fire last March he made it clear that he was going to evaluate his future on a yearly basis and it appears he has decided on another season in Chicago. "I feel really good here but I cannot say anything because nothing is done so far and we've got to come together and talk about that but I definitely can imagine to stay," said Friedrich after the playoff match.
The club also seems eager to bring Friedrich back. He was a key player in the Fire's resurgence this season and helped advance the development of rookie Austin Berry while serving as a positive locker room influence. "Both sides would like to stay together and definitely there's a chance. I had a wonderful time. It's a wonderful club, very professional with good persons here," he continued.
As far as the game itself was concerned Friedrich thought the Fire were good enough to win this season but feels that more playing time together as a unit could improve the club's chances next year. "I'm really disappointed because I saw that we have a good team, but I guess we just need a little bit more experience and everybody has to learn from this situation,"he said.
If he doesn't play in Chicago he would consider retirement as a possibility but it's likely that both sides will get something done to ensure that he's in a Fire shirt come March 2013.
Dutch striker Sherjill MacDonald reflected on his contribution to the club since joining the team in July and like many of his teammates feels that there is room for improvement on an individual level. "It's difficult to be satisfied but after coming here half way through the season I think I did okay. Not great, but okay," said MacDonald.
The loss to Houston ended the Fire's season but there weren't any obvious answers to explain away the club's struggles in the last several weeks. "It's difficult to say because we tried to do the same thing we've always done and for some reason it didn't work out in the last month," said MacDonald who finished the regular season with 4 goals and 4 assists in 14 games played. "You can only be proud of the guys. We worked hard but sometimes it goes your way and sometimes not," he said.
MacDonald and the rest of the club will rue blown opportunities against Philadelphia, New England, and DC United that would have allowed the Fire to avoid the "Knock Out" round and finish second in the Conference. "If you have to think about losses you have to think about the games we should have won. With our quality we should have won each of those games," he said. "Playoffs are a different ball game, next season we have to learn that we don't give the first goal away. We came back in the season 7 or 8 times but the playoffs are another story. If you get one goal behind in the playoffs you know they're going to defend and it's difficult to get to 1-1," said MacDonald of the Fire's bad habit of getting behind early.
Nyarko battled inuries down the stretch
Patrick Nyarko has probably been the Fire's most consistent player over the last two seasons but it hasn't been easy for him. Nyarko is often a target of physical play from opposing defenders and the beating took a toll on his body, particularly over the last few months of this season. Nyarko was receiving treatment just to be able to step on the field. "I've been diagnosed with a strained oblique and the past month I've been doing regular treatments and taking shots to get ready for the game. Today (last Wednesday) I took two, one before and one at halftime," said Nyarko after the match.
The short turnaround for the Knock-Out game from a match against DC United just three days prior did not help either from an individual standpoint. "It was very hard because of the circumstances. I was really struggling with my injuries since the last month. The last month has been really, really painful but I went through and mustered courage and gave it all I could. The three days wasn't really enough but we had to play the game," said the Ghanian winger.
Check out video of Nyarko's post game comments at the Fire Confidential Facebook page.
Coming Up.....2012 Cumulative Ratings