Sidelined by injury, Fire goalie enjoys playing on field

It's a goalkeeper's dream to take an occasional turn in the field. Chicago Fire veteran Sean Johnson looked like he enjoyed his chance during a drill in Wednesday's training session.

Sidelined from his normal goalkeeper duties because of a right wrist injury, Johnson contributed to the team by testing himself with the ball at his feet.

"I definitely enjoyed being out there, enjoyed my football," said Johnson, a 2010 draft pick and the Fire's longest-tenured active player by 4½ seasons.

It had to be a little intimidating to the other Fire goalkeepers, however, to see the 6-foot-3, 217-pound Johnson bearing down on them.

"It's nothing personal," he said. "I tend not to take any strikes on goal. It's moreso possession, be part of the group. Just a lot of touching and passing. We do enough shooting in goalkeeper training."

Johnson, who had a brace on the wrist Wednesday, does not expect to miss much time because of it. He probably won't be on the bench for Saturday's home match against Philadelphia (4 p.m., Comcast SportsNet), giving Patrick McLain a chance to move up to second string.

Not looking likely:

Johnson isn't the only player who probably won't be available Saturday because of injury. Midfielder David Accam did not train Wednesday because of a knee injury that forced him to miss the team's last game, a 0-0 draw vs. Columbus. It seems a good bet he will not play against Philadelphia either.

Accam's absence will be felt in the team's attack. He leads the team with 2 goals scored, and his tremendous speed makes him dangerous in the counterattack.

Midfielder Matt Polster, the team's captain, also might not play Saturday. He and left back Brandon Vincent were traveling Wednesday to Chicago from Dallas after joining the U.S. U-23 national team in an Olympic qualifying playoff against Colombia, a playoff the United States lost Tuesday.

Vincent didn't see any action in the two games against the Colombians and probably will be available against Philadelphia.

Polster, however, went the distance in the first game, played in the heat and humidity in Colombia, and the second leg in Dallas. Fire coach Veljko Paunovic might opt to rest the second-year pro rather than start him in his third game in eight days, a span that included international travel.

Another traveler:

Midfielder Collin Fernandez returned to training with the Fire after a spending a week training with the Peru U-20 national team in Peru.

"It was great," said Fernandez, a second-year pro from Downers Grove who signed a homegrown contract with the Fire. "It was something different, that's for sure. But it was really cool."

Fernandez has been called into camp with Peru before but had to pass because of Fire obligations. With a bye week last week, it worked out well this time.

"My grandpa played for the national team for Peru," Fernndez said. "I just want to follow in his footsteps. That's my goal."

Follow Orrin on Twitter @Orrin_Schwarz

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