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updated: 5/28/2013 12:23 PM

Fire poised to hit reset button

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  • The Chicago Fire acquired Mike Magee on Friday night in a trade with the L.A. Galaxy, and he hopes to play in Wednesday's U.S. Cup contest.

      The Chicago Fire acquired Mike Magee on Friday night in a trade with the L.A. Galaxy, and he hopes to play in Wednesday's U.S. Cup contest.
    Photo courtesy of Chicago-fire.com

  • A versatile player in his MLS career, Mike Magee can play several positions for the Chicago Fire.

      A versatile player in his MLS career, Mike Magee can play several positions for the Chicago Fire.
    Photo courtesy of Chicago-fire.com

  • Defender Bakary Soumare is back for another stint with the Chicago Fire, and Soumare believes the club can turn things around and make the playoffs.

      Defender Bakary Soumare is back for another stint with the Chicago Fire, and Soumare believes the club can turn things around and make the playoffs.
    Photo courtesy of Chicago-fire.com

 
 

With two-thirds of the Major League Soccer season to play, the Chicago Fire is starting over.

After trading late last week for central defender Bakary Soumare and forward/midfielder Mike Magee, the eighth-place Fire is setting the reset button on its season.

"It is, in a way," Soumare said. "A third of the season just went by and everyone wants to turn the page. Both me and Mike are really happy to be part of that new chapter. Yeah, it's a new season, and we're going to try to turn things around.

"One of the things we talked about before the Salt Lake game (Saturday night), in the huddle before the game was, let's make this a new season, let's make this a new start. This is a team that the results haven't been going our way, but everyone is still working hard, everyone still believes this team has what it takes to make it to the playoffs."

The Fire has to think of those first 11 games like a handicap in golf, an obstacle to overcome.

"This is a league where the season is not played in the first seven or eight games of the season," said Soumare, beginning his second go-round with the Fire. "The season is played in the middle or at the end of it. We've seen it. Houston, L.A. have done it in the past. We still have a chance. We have (23) games left. We'll be fine. I'm not worried. We're not that far. We just need the will to swing the right way and we'll be OK. We'll string together a few wins, and we'll be in the mix."

Magee isn't worried about the pressure to put a new club on his shoulders or the pressure to score for a team that has just 7 goals, one more than he has.

"I put a lot of pressure on myself to perform anyways," the 28-year-old Long Grove native said after training with the Fire for the first time Monday morning. "It's obviously pressure when you're on the outside of the playoffs looking in, and instantly from when the trade became official I felt that pressure. But there's no pressure to score goals or do anything different from what I've done. The main focus is to start getting points."

Give credit to the front office tandem of president of soccer operations Javier Leon and vice president of soccer operations Guillermo Petrei, plus coach Frank Klopas, for making a pair of trades that will make this team better in areas where the team clearly needed help.

"We're trying to catch Philly, who I believe is 10 points ahead of us and we have two games in hand, so we've got to start getting some points," Magee said. "It's still a very young season. Even watching the guys, they've played well and things aren't going their way. Little finishes, and they've been punished for all their mistakes. Sometimes that's how it goes. We'll get it right."

Magee and Soumare were brought in to change the Fire's luck. Soumare is here to clean up when those mistakes happen. Magee is here to convert those little finishes. They are sure starters who should improve the team just by their presence, adding a spark and confidence to a team that desperately needs both.

Soumare, 27, played in Saturday's 1-1 draw at Real Salt Lake, just about 48 hours after his trade. Magee, acquired Friday, is ready to jump into the lineup right away also.

"I hope to play on Wednesday," Magee said of the Fire's U.S. Open Cup match at the Charlotte Eagles. "I haven't spoken to them about what their plans are, but they brought me here to play, so that's what I gotta do."

"I can't give you my scouting report because everybody's watching," Klopas said with a smile about Wednesday's match, "but I think the chances are certainly high."

Where on the field he will play is still undecided, and Magee said he doesn't have a preference.

"We had a general conversation. We were more talking about Chicago, Chicago-type things," Magee said of Klopas, also a native Chicagoan. "He knows I like to play forward and midfield and I'm the type of guy who likes to be on the field."

"I think you get him around the goal where he's played, but I think depending on the need you can move him around," Klopas said.

Follow Orrin on Twitter @orrin_schwarz

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