After Sunday’s 4-0 season-opening loss at two-time defending MLS Cup champion Los Angeles, Chicago Fire players and coaches were eager to get back on the field and get back to work.
Events have intervened against them, however.
The Fire took the day off from practice Tuesday for its annual kickoff luncheon at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. Wednesday’s practice likely will be moved indoors to the Bridgeview Sports Dome as the team prepares for Saturday’s home opener against New England (6:30 p.m., NBC Sports Network).
“The cold doesn’t matter, but you have to deal with (the snow) and try to prepare the best we can,” coach Frank Klopas said. “It’s not ideal, but we have to do it.”
The Fire has never started a season this early in the calendar year. The Fire front office is checking with officials at Soldier Field and elsewhere for equipment and ideas to remove the snow from the Toyota Park stands, Fire COO Atul Khosla said.
Captain Logan Pause and World Cup veteran Arne Friedrich missed Sunday’s game due to injuries, and Klopas isn’t optimistic either will be play this week.
“We’ll see how it goes day-to-day, but I’ll probably tell you that it’s doubtful for this game,” Klopas said. “What are you going to do? You’ve got to move on, and I think that the other guys will be ready.”
Steven Kinney got the start in place of Friedrich, marking the first time he has seen the field since the last game of the 2010 season, when he tore his Achilles tendon, then suffered other injuries while trying to return to action.
“I was also happy for Steven,” Klopas said. “Having been around for two years and battling with all kinds of injuries and stuff like that, then to come back and play. I thought there were moments when he looked very well.”
A surprise up top:
Brazilian Maicon Santos said he found out last week after the team arrived in California that he would start at forward instead of Designated Player Sherjill MacDonald.
“I was working hard for that, so it was pretty exciting,” said Santos, picked up from D.C. United via the re-entry draft.
Santos said adjusting to new surroundings hasn’t been a problem for him.
“It’s been four years in this league, so it’s not going to surprise me,” he said. “It’s going to be a new life with a new team, new teammates, so I’m just going to keep my head up and keep working.”
The local TV plans:
The Fire announced its local TV partner this season will be Channel 50, with Dan Kelly returning for his fourth season calling play-by-play. Kevin Egan will join Kelly as the color analyst, replacing former Fire defender Evan Whitfield.
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