Sean Johnson called up to US national team


Sean Johnson called up to US national team

Jeremy Mikula

Chicago Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson was called up to the U.S. national team Monday when head coach Jurgen Klinsmann released his 20-player squad for Wednesdays friendly with Russia.

Johnson, 23, has two previous caps with the U.S. and is available for selection due to the Fires elimination from the MLS Cup playoffs on Oct. 31.

There was obvious disappointed that we didnt make it further in the playoffs but Im looking forward now, Johnson told the Fires official website. Its a positive thing to be in with this group again and I think its an important thing for us. Im excited to be back with the guys again and looking forward to the game against Russia.

Johnson is one of three MLS players called up to the squad, joining Chivas USAs Juan Agudelo and Real Salt Lake keeper Nick Rimando. Meanwhile, Russia is currently ranked No. 9 in the world.

We ask for these games because they are big learning curves for us, Klinsmann said in a statement. We need to measure ourselves against the best teams out there and build even more confidence. We want to close the year in a very positive way and then go into a busy 2013 that includes World Cup qualifying, the Gold Cup and some exciting friendlies.

The U.S. will play Russia in Krasnodar at 9 a.m. CT on Wednesday.

Fire Talk Podcast Episode 1: Recapping the Fire's offseason and looking ahead to 2017

Chicago Fire

Fire Talk Podcast Episode 1: Recapping the Fire's offseason and looking ahead to 2017

A new Chicago Fire season is near, which means it's a good time to start a new podcast.

Shane Murray, a Fire contributor for, joined me for our new endeavor: the Fire Talk Podcast.

This first episode focused on the key departures and new additions to the Fire this season and served as a look ahead to the 2017 season. We looked at the additions made to the team, how the team may line up to start the season and what improvements still need to be made.

Also, the Fire are 5-0 in the preseason, but do preseason results matter?

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

Luis Solignac, Michael de Leeuw score in Fire's fifth straight preseason win

Luis Solignac, Michael de Leeuw score in Fire's fifth straight preseason win

The Chicago Fire's preseason continued with yet another win on Wednesday.

Luis Solignac and Michael de Leeuw scored off headers in each half in a 3-2 Fire win against United Soccer League foe FC Cincinnati at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., on Wednesday.

Solignac's goal came in the 31st minute following a short corner. John Goossens whipped in a cross from the left after the corner and Solignac headed it home.

Cincinnati had put the ball in the net earlier in the half, but it was ruled out for offside.

A lineup that featured mostly Fire regulars in the first half was swapped out at halftime. For the second straight preseason match the Fire played two different elevens in each half.

Homegrown signing Djordje Mihailovic played his first game action of the Fire's preseason as part of the second half lineup, playing in central midfield. He was with the U.S. under-19 team for the Fire's first week in Florida.

Trialist Chad Barson, who has made 50 appearances with the Columbus Crew from 2013-2016, started the second half at right back.

De Leeuw's goal in the 70th minute was also a header. Patrick Doody crossed from the left and de Leeuw headed it back across to the far post for the 2-0 lead.

Cincinnati got on the board in the 88th minute when rookie goalkeeper Stefan Cleveland came too far off his line to clear a cross and an easy header went into the net.

A minute later the Fire restored the two-goal lead with rookie Matej Dekovic finding some open space on the back post following a corner kick. Dekovic was able to easily score from close range.

The frantic finish continued when Kenney Walker scored directly from a free kick in the 90th minute for Cincinnati's second goal. It came just seconds before the end of the match.

Former Fire defender Austin Berry, who won 2012 MLS Rookie of the Year, started for Cincinnati.

The Fire are now 5-0 this preseason with one game left in Florida before returning to Chicago. The Fire will take on Toronto FC on Saturday in Tampa.