After missing the Chicago Fire’s last two matches with a hamstring issue, it appears defender Carlos Terán could be ready to return as soon as this Sunday vs. NYCFC.
“Terán is probable for this weekend. I would say more probable than not,” Fire head coach Ezra Hendrickson said.
That’s good news, because midfielder Gastón Giménez is “likely out” with the hamstring injury he suffered in the 4-1 loss to the Philadelphia Union, Hendrickson said. If Terán can start alongside fellow centerback Rafael Czichos, that frees up Mauricio Pineda to move to midfield to cover for Giménez.
“He’s like a beast, and it’s good to have him next to me,” Czichos said of Terán. “He’s so fast. A lot of difficult situations he has always a good solution. Because of his speed, he’s a big help for me and the other defenders, so I’m excited to be next to him again.”
If it’s not Pineda, Hendrickson could opt for the always reliable Fabian Herbers in central midfield. He’s mostly played wide for Hendrickson in 2022, but Herbers played well centrally under Raphael Wicky in 2020 and 2021. Homegrown Javier Casas is also an option, after picking up a few minutes against Philly.
Back to SeatGeek
With two concerts following a Bears game this week, the Fire made the preemptive call to move this weekend’s match to SeatGeek Stadium. The turf at Soldier Field has been poor on weeks that are far less busy than this one, and it’s a good bet it will be a disaster come Sunday.
“It doesn’t matter for us as a team,” Czichos said of the move. “We want to play a much better game than we did last weekend, and if it’s at Soldier Field, or here at SeatGeek, it doesn’t matter for us as a team.”
For Hendrickson, the move matters. He’s tried to foster the idea that Soldier Field is the team’s “fortress,” and moving away from it is unfortunate, but necessary.
“We would love to have all of our games at Soldier Field, but with the challenges that we’re facing with that field right now..We don’t want to have to move our games or move too many games, but with the situation that we’re facing right now, we have no choice,” Hendrickson said.
On the flip side, for longtime fans with fond memories of games in Bridgeview, the move is a chance to watch the team they love in a special place. After Sunday, the Fire have two more home games in each stadium–Aug. 27 (Montreal) and Sept. 17 (Charlotte) at Soldier Field, and Sept. 10 (Miami) and Oct. 9 (New England) at SeatGeek.
How many points will it take?
Last season, it took 48 points to grab the seventh and final playoff spot in the East, but this year it’s tracking a bit lower. Right now Inter Miami is in control of the spot, with 33 points through 25 games. For a full, 34 game season, that’s 44.88 points, meaning 46, or even 45, might do the trick.
The Fire have 30 points, meaning they’ll need to find 15 or 16 over the final nine matches. Five wins at home and a draw on the road would probably be good enough, but that’s easier said than done.
“We need 15, 16 points, and we can’t get them all at once,” Hendrickson said. “So, every game, we prepare for that game and try to get maximum points. We know at home it’s very, very important that we get full points.”
That starts Sunday at 5 p.m. in Bridgeview.
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