Thursday, Aug. 5, 2010
By Jen Patterson
The Chicago Fire were back at it this week in preparation for their match vs. the New York Red Bulls at Toyota Park. On Wednesday, two-time Swedish World Cup star Freddie Ljungberg practiced with his new team for the first since being acquired in a trade with the Seattle Sounders, marking the first trade of a designated player in MLS history.
I think he brings quality, knowledge, and understanding of the game at the highest level. He shows that he sees the field extremely well. He can add a lot of possession for us, said Fire captain Brian McBride.
Although Ljungberg met up with his new teammates for the 3-2 victory in Los Angeles, he didnt come into the game till the 58th minute. Technical director Frank Klopas hinted that we will see more of Ljungberg this coming Sunday.
Last Sunday was a big match. In that match you always have to consider his fitness level and when was the last time he played. Obviously it takes some time for everyone to get to know their teammates and adjust to the style we try to play. Hopefully the preparation leading up to this match will help both him and Nery Castillo to get more accustomed to the team. We expect both of those players to be on the field, said Klopas.
Coach Carlos De Los Cobos expressed the importance of having both designated players, Castillo and Ljungberg, playing on the field together. De Los Cobos also hinted that Sean Johnson will make his return to the goal against the Red Bulls after his stellar performance in his MLS debut.
The men in red currently hold a 5-5-5 record with 20 points and will be looking to close in on the gap between them and the Red Bulls, who are sporting a 8-6-3 record with 27 points. Sundays tilt should draw a lot of fans with the debuts of Castillo and Ljungberg at Toyota Park.
The Chicago Fire finished off another undefeated preseason on Saturday.
The Fire concluded preseason play in Florida with a 4-1 win against Toronto FC at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg.
It was the sixth and final preseason game in the Fire's preseason. The Fire outscored the opponents, three MLS teams, two minor league clubs and a college team, 18-6 and scored 16 goals in the past four games.
The Fire started with what appears to be a likely starting lineup for the opening match at Columbus a week from today. Jorge Bava was in goal with a back four of Brandon Vincent, Johan Kappelhof, Joao Meira and Michael Harrington. The midfield was anchored by Dax McCarty and Juninho in the center with David Accam, Michael de Leeuw and Arturo Alvarez supporting striker Nemanja Nikolic in the attack.
With the season opener at Columbus just a week away, coach Veljko Paunovic played the starters into the second half and had five players, Bava, Vincent, Kappelhof, McCarty and Juninho, play the full 90 minutes. Meanwhile Toronto made eight changes at halftime.
Juninho scored in the ninth minute on a rocket shot from outside the box. The Fire doubled the lead just over 10 minutes later when Nemanja Nikolic converted a penalty kick after Michael de Leeuw was fouled in the box. David Accam set up de Leeuw for the third goal and the Fire led 3-0 at halftime.
In the second half de Leeuw got his second goal before Toronto pulled one back via a penalty kick from Tosaint Ricketts.
"It's good for our confidence that we win these kind of games, but at the end, next week every team is starting at zero," de Leeuw said after the match. "Everything next week is important, but I think the confidence is big after this one."
CSN Chicago has expanded their regional broadcasting plans for the 2017 Chicago Fire season.
The expansion includes 29 MLS fixtures, 36 episodes of Fire Weekly, and four behind-the-scenes episodes of Fire All-Access.
"Throughout our 20th season, CSN Chicago will be providing viewers unprecedented coverage of the Chicago Fire Soccer Club," said Fire COO Atul Khosla. "We’re thrilled to be able to team with CSN Chicago to share more than 100 hours of live, original content to fans throughout the region."
"We are proud to be the regional television home for the Fire and fans can count on us once again to deliver expert game coverage, pre-game shows for every telecast, and expanded offerings of Fire-related programming throughout the 2017 MLS campaign," added Phil Bedella, VP/GM of CSN Chicago.
Fire Weekly, presented by The PrivateBank, will debut on Wednesday, March 1 at 10 p.m. on CSN+. It will be also be available via live stream on CSNChicago.com.
Fire All-Access will premiere on Wednesday, March 8 at 9:30 p.m. on CSN and streamed at CSNChicago.com.
Click here to see CSN's Broadcast Schedule.