The Fire announced today that defender Arne Friedrich was travelling to Germany to continue rehabilitation on the injury which has kept him from participating in the first two games of the 2013 season. The club's 2012 defender of the year will seek treatment from therapist Thomas Fennewald, a specialist who has helped him recover from injuries over the course of his career. In the release Friedrich referred to Fennewald as "the best therapist I've ever seen."
There shouldn't be cause for alarm at this moment since Friedrich is expected to resume training shortly after returning from Germany in approximately two weeks although his return to the field may realistically be 3-4 weeks from now. After an initial scare, tests results showed that the issue is not season or career threatening. Friedrich did say last week that the injury was not as serious as the hamstring problem that he encountered last season. That injury kept him out from May 12 to June 29.
As an important part of the Fire's defense and as a leader on and off the field the club is wise not to rush him back and approach this issue cautiously. Even if it means two weeks in Germany recovering.
Gulley loan deal close?
The club also announced that homegrown forward Kellen Gulley was beginning a training stint with the Atlanta Silverbacks of the NASL. Team officials have been pursuing a loan deal for Gulley since training camp in an effort to get the 18 year old attacker consistent playing time that he otherwise would not gain while training with the first team in Chicago.
The Fire will play a 13 game reserve league schedule this season which doesn't seem to be enough to get younger players sufficient playing time to develop into first team contributors. Seeing minutes in competitive and meaningful action is the best course for development and Gulley likely wouldn't see much while in Bridgeview this summer.
The Fire's other home grown player, Victor Pineda is beginning light training and could be back into full training within 3-4 weeks if all goes well.
Segares sees improvement
After the beating in Los Angeles, the Fire did tighten up and produce a much better defensive effort on Saturday night against New England. The Revolution managed only two dangerous scoring chances if you count Kalifa Cisse's early header and Jerry Bengston's goal in the 62nd minute. Veteran defender Gonzalo Segares commented on the improvement which kept Sean Johnson from having to make acrobatic saves just to keep the score close. "We were definitely better. We didn't give that much space for the forwards and we were tight on guys. I felt that we kept our line very close with our midfielders and I think we stayed concentrated for most of the game. Only that one opportunity for their goal was the only chance where I feel we lost our concentration but other than that I think that we were definitely the better team and defensively we were way better than last week," said the Costa Rican left back.
Segares also shared some thoughts on the Fire's difficult start and the challenge of meshing three new midfielders into the line-up which is already being shuffled due to injury. "With three different guys there, it's going to take time. Sometimes it might get frustrating but I feel that with new guys it will take some time to adjust to them and get to know each other. Last year we had guys that had been with the team for a couple of years and we knew each other pretty well. Once we get to know each other's movements and tendencies we're going to get better. It's just going to take a lot of work. We're not going to let this start get us down. We've got to keep the motivation up. We have a young group, we have a lot of quality and as long as we keep working hard we're going to get the results on our side," said Segares.
FC Confidential Podcast
Check out episode 24 of the Fire Confidential Podcast as we review the home opener, Sherjill MacDonald's play so far, and wind.
Also be sure to keep an ear tuned to ESPN 1220am during the week from 7-8am. I'll be discussing the Fire and MLS with hosts Alex Uribe and Hernan Espinoza throughout the season again this year. Segments will feature both English and Spanish discussion.