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CHGO Fire Notebook: Shaqiri's back, but Omsberg is out "more than three months"

Patrick McCraney Avatar
June 24, 2022

On a day where the Fire got good news regarding their superstar midfielder, the club was dealt a huge blow on defense.

Wyatt Omsberg, who has gone from a surprise starter early in the season to one of the team’s best performers, will undergo surgery Friday for a foot injury he picked up in second half stoppage time against D.C. United. Fire head coach Ezra Hendrickson said Omsberg will be out “more than three months,” which could mean the rest of the 2022 season.

“It’s unfortunate for Wyatt,” Hendrickson said. “He… picked up the mantle and ran with it. He’s been really, really good for us. He’s been one of our most consistent players so far this year. And you know, having worked so hard to get where he finally got to and then to have such a setback, I’m sure mentally it’s going to weigh on him a little bit.”

In much better news, Xherdan Shaqiri will be available to play Saturday in Houston, Hendrickson said. He’s been working with the Fire’s return-to-play specialist after tweaking his hamstring in a UEFA Nations League match earlier this month.

“I think we’re just going to play him,” Hendrickson said. “We’ll see where he’s at. We still have, you know, a couple more days, we have a training session tomorrow and then some treatment and stuff on Friday night, early Saturday morning. So we’ll see where he’s at but he’ll definitely play. How much he’ll play, I’m not sure yet but we’ll definitely –he’ll definitely get minutes on Saturday.”

Jairo Torres continues to struggle with his “tricky” hip injury, and is probably a week away from playing, Hendrickson said.

Best Fire performance this season

Was last Saturday’s 1-0 win over D.C. United the Fire’s best performance of the season? It was certainly a massive result, stopping a three month winless streak, but was it the best we’ve seen the Fire play this year?

Result aside, Fire captain Rafael Czichos said the team’s best performance of the year may have actually come in the 3-2 loss to Toronto FC right before the international break, where the Fire’s offense generated 33 shots. The Fire were up 2-1 in the second half, when Alejandro Pozuelo scored twice within seven minutes–including a converted penalty–to kill the Fire’s momentum.

“We played –we had a lot of possession,” Czichos said. “We were really aggressive. We had a lot of chances, I think the most chances in the season so far but the problem was the result. And finally last weekend we found a way to win the game. We had a clean sheet, which is important for us, as a defender, and the whole defense line. I hope we can take the confidence we got back last weekend with us to Houston and use to play a good game in Houston.”

Hendrickson agreed.

“The best team performance, I would say, probably the Toronto game,” Hendrickson said. “But the best result, I would say, was this D.C. game last week. As far as, you know, not having a win in ten games and having to come out after that break and really get three points, you know, rarely do we say games are must-wins but if we are honest, we’d say that D.C. game was probably a must-win for us just so that we keep guys motivated, keep guys confident. Because you know, if you come back after the break, they worked so hard for those two weeks, and then we don’t get a result there at home against a team that we had beaten before, then mentally that can be draining.”

Fire license plates coming to Illinois

More than a decade ago, the Illinois’ Secretary of State’s office rolled out specialty license plates featuring the Bears, Bulls, Blackhawks, White Sox and Cubs. Since then the state began offering plates featuring the St. Louis Cardinals–a team that plays in Missouri–but Fire fans were still left out.

Not anymore. On Thursday, Gov. JB Pritzker signed HB4434, which will allow the Secretary of State’s office to offer Fire, Red Stats, and Sky license plates. So, if you want to play a little extra every year to rock a Fire logo on your plates, now you can.

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