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updated: 4/3/2013 10:37 AM

Rested Fire players keep focus pointed forward

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  • Chicago Fire forward Patrick Nyarko, right, is unlikely to play this Sunday against New York due to a hamstring injury.

      Chicago Fire forward Patrick Nyarko, right, is unlikely to play this Sunday against New York due to a hamstring injury.
    Associated Press

  • Video: March 9: Fire vs. Revolution

 
 

The Chicago Fire is doing its best to channel one of former Bears coach Mike Ditka's favorite sayings: "This too shall pass."

The bye week in the Fire's schedule last weekend came at a good time for the injury-riddled soccer team, but one week off might not be enough time. Logan Pause and Arne Friedrich trained with their teammates Tuesday, but they might need more time before they're ready for a starting assignment.

"He (Friedrich) has to be 100 percent, because the moment you need to make the one sprint, you want to make sure you're ready," coach Frank Klopas said. "So he's going to need a little more time. The positive is he's out here training, which is good."

Backups Michael Videira and Steven Kinney worked on the side Tuesday. Starters Dilly Duka and Patrick Nyarko worked inside to recover from hamstring injuries and are unlikely to play this weekend, meaning Klopas will have to find replacements on the left and right sides of the midfield. Meanwhile, homegrown player Victor Pineda could be just a few weeks from returning from 2012 knee surgery. All but Pineda hope to be ready when the Fire plays Houston April 14.

Injuries are a big reason the Fire's pride was hurt so often in March, the latest being Friday's 1-0 loss in a friendly against NASL side Minnesota United FC.

"It was frustrating," defender Austin Berry said. "We haven't had much talk about it. We wanted to use it as just another good training opportunity since we had the week off. ... But it's frustrating to not score again and to kind of come out with that against a lower-division side."

"It's the same thing," added forward Chris Rolfe. "We're just having trouble scoring. We had chances and stuff. That's it. We've just got to address that."

It'll be more difficult to address it without the speedy Nyarko, who has the Fire's only offensive goal in four MLS games and is a key assist man. It means Rolfe may again start on the wing instead of up top, with Joel Lindpere possibly moving outside from his preferred central-mid role.

Still, the Fire players are keeping things positive after a few days off.

"The last couple of days of training have been intense but fun, very competitive," Berry said. "We just want to improve with every single day. We just want to stay focused on our goals that we set for this year in preseason. We'll look for Sunday to kind of get us back on track. I think we're all hungry and excited for it."

"We're just kind of taking the punches right now and trying to battle back," Rolfe added. "We've got a good spirit here, and the coaches are doing a good job right now helping us get through it."

The Fire (0-3-1, 1 point) gets another shot at its first MLS win this season when it hosts New York at 4 p.m. Sunday (ESPN2). The Red Bulls have never won at Toyota Park.

Follow Orrin's soccer reports on Twitter @orrin_schwarz

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