Chicago Fire

Thibodeau returns to Boston with Bulls

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Thibodeau returns to Boston with Bulls

Friday, Nov. 5, 2010
Updated 4:08 PM

By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com

The way some folks reacted to Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau not playing Joakim Noah (at all) and Derrick Rose (for the majority of) the fourth quarter in Thursday's home loss to the Knicks, one would think he defaced the Michael Jordan statue in front of the United Center. Still, the fact that the rookie NBA head coach's explanation for holding out his two best players (as well of Luol Deng) when Chicago had a chance to win the game didn't hold water is understandable. After the game, Thibodeau said the second unit got the team back into the game and he didn't want to overuse the starters' energy in closing out to New York's legion of three-point shooters.

Alternate theories include: "Thibs" was trying to teach his starters a lesson and instill more of a defensive mentality in a game where the Knicks hit 16 shots from long range; he didn't believe the Bulls truly had a chance to win the game and instead waved the white flag; Rose, Noah and Deng were being rested for Friday's game at Boston, the second leg of a back-to-back.

While all--or none--of the above lines of thinking could be true (or not), let's take a deep breath for a second. In his fourth game coaching the Bulls, Thibodeau--who was roundly heralded as a defensive guru and the answer from the often-underwhelming coaching strategies of Vinny Del Negro--is already being criticized for giving up. The same Tom Thibodeau who is typically referred to as a workaholic?

The NBA's regular season consists of 82 games, ladies and gentlemen, making it a marathon--not a sprint--as the old saying goes. Since he's certainly well acquainted with the competitive nature of Rose and Noah, it's safe to say that the tail end of Thursday's loss can be chalked up as a teachable moment (maybe for players and coach alike) and promises to at least aid Noah in his interior battles with Kevin Garnett and the aging O'Neals (Shaquille and Jermaine) and Rose with his premier-point matchup against Rajon Rondo.

Now, if the Bulls end up missing the playoffs by a game or get stuck with an unfavorable postseason pairing, we can all point back to this game. But if a guy has spent approximately 20 years waiting for an opportunity to be an NBA head coach, it would be highly illogical to believe he doesn't have big-picture plans to go along with his ideas for the short-term.

Complain about his rotation, his use of Kyle Korver, the team's disappointing defensive showing against the Knicks--anything other than his will to win. Just over a week into the season, it's way too early to throw that type of notion around.

Aggrey Sam is CSNChicago.coms Bulls Insider. Follow him @CSNBullsInsider on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bulls information and his take on the team, the NBA and much more.

Former Mexican youth international goalkeeper Richard Sanchez sees joining Fire as 'great opportunity'

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USA TODAY

Former Mexican youth international goalkeeper Richard Sanchez sees joining Fire as 'great opportunity'

When Jorge Bava’s elbow injury required season-ending surgery, the Chicago Fire suddenly needed another goalkeeper.

In his place, the Fire signed Richard Sanchez. The 23-year-old is a product of the FC Dallas academy and signed with the club as a homegrown player.

Internationally, Sanchez has represented Mexico at the under-17 and under-20 levels, including El Tri’s triumph in the 2011 U-17 World Cup in Mexico. On the club level, he was most recently under contract with Tigres in Mexico’s Liga MX.

“My contract ended with Tigres over in Monterrey,” Sanchez said. “We didn’t agree to some terms so now my contract runs out and I was a free agent. I was training on my own, kind of doing gym sessions and personal training on my own with some other goalkeeper coach. I also trained with FC Dallas before and was kind of getting ready for whatever was to come.”

What came was Sanchez signing with MLS and going through the league’s allocation process for returning players. It’s one of the more confusing mechanisms in MLS, but the end result was the Fire sending a third round pick in next year’s draft to Portland to move up in the allocation order and then using that spot to sign Sanchez on Aug. 11.

Sanchez said his intention was to come back to MLS to get playing time and experience after his Tigres contract ran out.

“I thought I can grow and look for some minutes and that’s kind of the opportunity that popped up in Chicago,” Sanchez said. “Through the allocation process and the re-entry process of MLS, it’s kind of weird is probably the word that you can use, but hey, it gave me a great opportunity here in Chicago. They picked up my rights so I’m glad to be here and I’m glad to be a part of this team.

“Everybody has been good so I’m just adapting now to the city, to the people here and hoping to help the team.”

Sanchez said he likes coach Veljko Paunovic’s style of focusing on possession and building out of the back. That is what Sanchez said he was used to from his time in Mexico.

Professional minutes have been hard to come by for Sanchez, who didn’t make any appearances for Dallas or Tigres. His only first-team appearances have come on loans to lower tier leagues. Regardless, Fire general manager Nelson Rodriguez said he likes Sanchez’s resume and skillset.

“Richard gives us a player who knows the league, who knows pressure moments, who’s experienced in division one football,” Rodriguez said last week. “Whether or not that translates to a longer stay with us, again we’ll have to feel that out a little bit, see how much he likes Chicago and what our program is about and then see if it remains a fit for him.”

Sanchez joins starter Matt Lampson and rookie Stefan Cleveland as the Fire’s goalkeepers. For now, Sanchez is still integrating into the team and the system, but if he impresses enough he could be competing for playing time next year.

“Obviously you want to compete for the job and what they look for is that competitiveness within the group so of course I think that’s the expectation they have for me is to bring some good competition within this group, add to what they’ve already built up to this moment and in my case, a goalkeeper’s case, just help out Lampson and Stefan to be better," Sanchez said. "That’s kind of what I’m here for.”

Mitch Trubisky takes first-team reps in Bears practice, but 'no change' in QB depth chart

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USA TODAY

Mitch Trubisky takes first-team reps in Bears practice, but 'no change' in QB depth chart

Mitch Trubisky took reps with members of the Bears' first-team offense on Wednesday, the first time the No. 2 overall pick worked with the team's top unit in practice since being drafted in April. 

The Bears have, to this point, been steadfast in giving all first-team reps to Mike Glennon, who signed a three-year, $45 million contract in March. But while Trubisky received those first-team reps Wednesday, Glennon will still be the team's starter against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. 

Coach John Fox said there's been "no change in our quarterback depth chart."

Trubisky will play with the first-team offense in the all-important third preseason game this weekend, though. Glennon will play the first half, while Trubisky will begin the third quarter with the rest of the first-team offense. 

Fox said the Bears want to get a "true evaluation" of Trubisky and added this plan is something the team discussed for a while. Mark Sanchez remains the Bears' backup, per Fox.