In a coaching match-up of former players from each club flipped onto the opposing sideline, former Fire defender Jim Curtin will face off against former Union attacker Veljko Paunovic on Saturday. Chicago looks to be at less than full strength again and the home schedule that looked so favorable going into the season will be wasted if the Fire can’t manage one win out of their first three games at Toyota Park.
Here are some quick Fire notes for the weekend:
- Eric Gehrig and Patrick Doody were both starters for Saint Louis FC in a 3-0 loss to LA Galaxy II on Wednesday night. Doody played the full ninety minutes while Gehrig was substituted in the 55th. Drew Conner also played 19 minutes off the bench. Gehrig returned to Chicago this morning and could be available for Saturday’s match.
- David Accam has not returned to full training yet and his status is in doubt for the weekend.
- Sean Johnson injured his wrist earlier in the week and also may not be available for the Union game. The injury is considered to be minor. Patrick McLain, who missed the last match due to a sprained knee would be Matt Lampson’s back-up if Johnson can’t dress.
- One item to watch….Eredivisie clubs have until April 1 to make decisions on players whose contracts expire this summer. FC Groningen has already extended a 2 year contract offer to Fire target Michael de Leeuw, but it seems that the player is still interested in a July move. If Groningen, which currently sits in 12th place, wants to get something for him before he leaves on a free, now would be the time to do it. Sources say the Fire are still in pursuit but a deal will still need to be made with the team that hold his MLS Discovery rights, the Philadelphia Union. de Leeuw returned to the starting line up on March 20 after coming off the bench in the previous two matches. He is Groningen’s leading scorer this season with 8 goals in 24 appearances.
- Matt Polster and Brandon Vincent have rejoined the team after stints with the US U23’s and their unsuccessful attempt to qualify for the 2016 Olympic games. Polster started games last Friday and Tuesday so he could be in doubt if he hasn’t fully recovered from the games and the travel. Vincent did not appear in either match.