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updated: 5/21/2013 7:30 PM

Fire trying to fight on through injuries

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  • In this photo provided by the Chicago Fire, Chicago Fire forward Maicon Santos, center, scores past New York Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles, left, as defender Jamison Olave watches during the second half of an MLS soccer match, Sunday, April 7, 2013, in Bridgeview, Ill. The Fire won 3-1.

      In this photo provided by the Chicago Fire, Chicago Fire forward Maicon Santos, center, scores past New York Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles, left, as defender Jamison Olave watches during the second half of an MLS soccer match, Sunday, April 7, 2013, in Bridgeview, Ill. The Fire won 3-1.

 
 

It's not likely many of the folks working at Toyota Park are rushing out to buy lottery tickets these days. Considering the Chicago Fire's luck lately, it'd be a bad investment.

"It's tough," Fire coach Frank Klopas said, speaking about the season-long injury bug that has decimated the roster. "You can just see, the numbers are thin. We have to do the best with what we have and keep going. You just hope that there's no more injuries and some of the guys get healthy."

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Meanwhile, the eighth-place Fire (2-7-1, 7 points) continues to create scoring chances without being able to actually score. It's played 277 minutes since Jeff Larentowicz scored the Fire's last goal against Columbus on April 20. Not only has the Fire been shut out in six of its 10 games this year, it has had the lead for just 14 minutes total this season out of 900 played. The team is 11 points out of a playoff spot with 24 games to play.

Arne Friedrich remains out with a hip injury, Maicon Santos is questionable with a shoulder sprain and Klopas said he was going to "keep my fingers crossed" after captain Logan Pause picked up a knock in training Tuesday.

Reserves Hunter Jumper and Yazid Atouba are expected back Wednesday after minor injuries. Midfielder Daniel Paladini did not train Tuesday.

A plane to catch:

Naperville native Brendan King's first chance to be in uniform for an MLS game came Saturday. He was ready to play, but he wasn't ready to travel.

The reason? The injury to Paladini during training Friday just before the team drove to the airport.

"I wasn't supposed to travel, but we had an injury in training, so I just joined the travel squad, just jumped on the bus and went," King said with a laugh. "I didn't have anything. I just bought a book at the airport and that was what I had for the weekend. It was fine. I had my toiletry kit with me because I bring it to training. I was a bit lucky, I guess."

The Fire signed King, 23, in January after he played in Ireland and Norway for a couple of years.

"I've learned a lot since I've been here, and it's good to be around such a talented team, a fantastic team," King said. "It's too bad the results don't reflect that, but we do have an extremely talented team."

"It was good he made it. I was happy for him," Klopas said of King, who also had an injury earlier in the season that slowed his development. "He's been working hard. He's a young guy, and with the injury situation he was able to travel with the team. And there may be more opportunities, especially with the injury situation that we have."

It's too early to tell whether King will make the game-day 18 traveling to Salt Lake City for Saturday's match (8 p.m., WPWR-TV), but one thing's for sure: King will have a bag packed just in case.

Club over country:

Asked to join the Costa Rica national team for an upcoming game, Fire left back Gonzalo Segares had to decline.

"We have important games coming up, and it's not a FIFA date, so I cannot leave my team right now," Segares said. "We need to stay together. It's not the right time for me to go.

"It's an honor to be called up and to represent your country, but for me right now the priority is the Fire. It's not a FIFA date, so it's a tough one."

The new kids on the block:

MLS announced Tuesday the league's 20th team will be called New York City FC and will be a joint venture between England's Manchester City and the New York Yankees. The expansion team will begin play in 2015.

"This is a transformational development that will elevate the league to new heights in this country," MLS commissioner Don Garber said in a league statement. "The New York area is home to more than 19 million people, and we look forward to an intense cross-town rivalry between New York City Football Club and the New York Red Bulls that will captivate this great city."

Considering the Red Bulls have struggled to sell out Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J., it's something of a risk to spend a reported $340 million to build another soccer stadium in the New York area, most likely in the borough of Queens.

Follow Orrin on Twitter @orrin_schwarz

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