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Jairo Torres trained off to the side Wednesday, and may be available to make his Chicago Fire debut Saturday night against FC Cincinnati, head coach Ezra Hendrickson said.
“We’re hoping to have him back for at least some minutes,” Hendrickson said, stressing it was still very much up in the air.
After missing last weekend’s 4-1 loss with an injury, midfielder Gastón Giménez is back, and it appears he will play against Cincinnati. Striker Kacper Przybylko is still a big question mark, however–“We’re waiting to see what’s gonna happen,” Hendrickson said.
Przybylko’s potential absence will be felt more than normal, as it’s Polish Heritage Night at Soldier Field this Saturday.
No Panic, Yet
Hendrickson was busy at training and surely didn’t watch this week’s episode of the CHGO Fire Podcast, but he did have an answer for our biggest question–with the Fire now in last place in the Eastern Conference, is it time to panic?
“We’ve been on a bit of a skid recently, and we just want to get back to our way of playing, where we’re difficult to break down, and we continue to improve on the attacking side of things,” Hendrickson said. “There’s no panic. We know we can turn that thing around, and that starts Saturday.”
He said the team has paid special attention to the transition period after winning the ball. The last couple games aside, the Fire have been stout defensively this season–especially when Rafael Czichos is available–but they’ve struggled to keep the ball, often times turning it over within two or three passes after winning it. You can’t score if you don’t create chances, and Hendrickson said keeping the ball after winning it has been a big focus in training.
“I think that will help us, one, keep the ball more, and give us more opportunities,” Hendrickson said. “We need to score, and you can only score if you create opportunities.”
Mueller’s Fitting In Nicely
Stranger things have happened, but after his 45 minute performance last weekend, it feels likely that Chris Mueller will start against FC Cincinnati. Against Atlanta he showed flashes of what he can bring to the team–strong 1v1 skills on the ball, and smart, hard runs off of it.
“His timing, getting behind defenses is very good,” Hendrickson said of his new winger, who signed from Scottish side Hibernian FC last week. “That’s someone that will help Shaq (Xherdan Shaqiri) as far as having someone else to get on the end of things.”
For his part, Mueller said he’s fitting in nicely with his new teammates.
“You want to come in and obviously get integrated with the team in the locker room, I think that’s the most important thing with the guys you’re going on the pitch with,” Mueller said. “I feel like I’m someone who does that well.”
Being a kid from Schaumburg, it might surprise some fans to learn that Mueller is a fluent Spanish speaker. He said being bilingual has helped him get to know many of his teammates much more quickly.
“Speaking Spanish, being a native speaker, has been a really beneficial key for me,” Mueller said. “Stepping into the locker rooms, getting to know one side of the culture. You can of course relate to the older guys who have been through the league and speak English, and I can relate to the young lads who grew up here who are Chicago-based.”
The Fire take on FC Cincinnati Saturday at Soldier Field at 7 p.m.
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