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updated: 3/14/2013 6:47 PM

Fire defense suffering a world of hurt

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  • Chicago Fire defender Jalil Anibaba (6) probably will start Saturday at Sporting Kansas City as the team deals with injuries on its back line.

      Chicago Fire defender Jalil Anibaba (6) probably will start Saturday at Sporting Kansas City as the team deals with injuries on its back line.
    Assocciated Press

 
 

The injury woes continue to pile up for the Chicago Fire defense.

After announcing earlier in the week than German defender Arne Friedrich flew back to Berlin for treatment on a hamstring that has sidelined him the first two games of the season, on Thursday came word that Friedrich's replacement, Steven Kinney, will miss a game or two with a quad strain suffered in Saturday's loss to New England.

Kinney missed the past two seasons while recovering from a torn Achilles' tendon and other leg injuries but started the first two games of this season.

Fire coach Frank Klopas said he spoke with Friedrich on Wednesday, "and he's doing quite well. He told me that he's feeling better."

Klopas is targeting the New York game April 7 for Friedrich's return, "if everything goes well, no setbacks."

Meanwhile, captain Logan Pause had his first full workout with the team Thursday since recovering from his own quad injury.

"As much as he wants to, I think he's still not there," coach Frank Klopas said of Pause. "He still feels it's the first day he's trained and you have to be smart. The likelihood would probably be, I would say, next week to be ready."

With Friedrich, Pause and Kinney unlikely to play in Saturday's "rivalry week" showdown at Sporting Kansas City, Jalil Anibaba probably will partner with Austin Berry in central defense, with the right back spot still undecided. The left back position is anchored by veteran Gonzalo Segares.

"We're thin in the back too a little bit," Klopas said. "It's unfortunate because we have some injuries. I think there are some other guys that we've looked into with preseason: Mike Videira, Wells (Thompson). Those guys can play, help out wide on the right side as right backs. We'll look at those guys. It's unfortunate we're a little bit thin in the back, but those guys are ready and they'll be ready to step in and help out."

Videira and Thompson are primarily midfielders, however, and have seen only occasional playing time on the back line, mostly in reserve or preseason games. Klopas said he's not likely to bring in any of the players who were on trial with the Fire in preseason, including Hoffman Estates' Rauwshan McKenzie.

Lindpere on the move:

If he's healthy, the Fire could move Logan Pause back to his familiar central midfield role for the Chivas USA game March 24. Newcomer Joel Lindpere will miss that match to play for the Estonian national team in World Cup qualifying.

Improvement:

Frank Klopas said his team, winless and scoreless in its first two regular-season games, is looking better heading into Saturday's game at Sporting Kansas City (1-1-0, 3 points).

"At times guys are maybe trying a little too hard," Klopas said. "I think you've got to play a little bit more simple and let the game come to you. I think our rhythm hasn't been great. ...

"The more we're together the sharper we're going to be. These last couple of days have been better."

The Gold Cup returns:

CONCACAF made official Wednesday the long-rumored return of the Gold Cup final to Soldier Field. The region's top tournament will play its championship game in Chicago on July 28.

The United States has seen success at Soldier Field, winning the Gold Cup in 2009 against Mexico. The tournament kicks off for the United States on July 9 against Belize in Portland, Ore.

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