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updated: 2/28/2014 5:32 PM

Fire's Magee should be available for opener

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  • Chicago Fire forward Mike Magee, here celebrating his goal against Montreal last season, should be available to play in the March 9 opener, Fire officials said Friday.

      Chicago Fire forward Mike Magee, here celebrating his goal against Montreal last season, should be available to play in the March 9 opener, Fire officials said Friday.
    Photo courtesy of Chicago Fire


Chicago Fire forward Mike Magee should be available for selection when the team plays its season opener March 9 at Chivas USA, coach Frank Yallop said Friday.

Yallop will decide later in the week how much Magee will play based on veteran's fitness now that he is back in training camp with the team.

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Yallop and technical director Brian Bliss said again that Magee missed a week of the team's preseason training camp in Tucson, Ariz., for personal reasons.

Sources told the Daily Herald last weekend that Magee, the 2013 MLS MVP, was holding out of camp because he wants a new contract. He arrived in camp Wednesday night, but has not spoken with the media yet.

Magee originally was scheduled to be available for interviews Friday, but plans changed so he could have a second training session by himself Friday afternoon, Yallop said in a conference call from Arizona with Chicago media.

"Mike had certain things to take care of, he took care of them, he's back in camp, he looks good and sharp and he's ready to go," said Yallop, also the club's director of soccer. "He needs to catch up on his fitness."

Magee has been away from the Fire for about three weeks, time that included a marketing tour for the league. He also is nursing tightness in his hamstring, and Yallop said the coaches won't push Magee too hard for fear of reinjuring the hamstring.

Magee is not likely to play much -- if any time -- in Saturday's final exhibition game. The team returns to Chicago on Sunday, and Magee is expected to meet with the media Monday or Tuesday.

Yallop said Magee's absence and the questions around it have not been a distraction for his teammates.

"Not one player asked me anything about it," Yallop said. "I said it's personal, and they accepted that."

Calls to Magee's agent, Richard Motzkin, have not been returned.

Bliss said he has been in touch with Motzkin three or four times over the last week or more about Magee or other Motzkin clients on the Fire.

"There is a line of communication there," Bliss said, adding there have not been any contract talks.

Bliss said the team's trade of defender Austin Berry to Philadelphia on Monday "pretty much put us in a position to be (salary) cap compliant."

Follow Orrin on Twitter @orrin_schwarz

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