Lindpere, Duka adding in Fire's ability on set pieces

Fire newbies bring another dimension in dead ball situations

CHARLESTON, S.C. -- When Pavel Pardo announced his retirement last month, a commonly raised question was who would be the taker of the team’s set pieces.

The question was a fair one as midfielder Joel Lindpere had just arrived with the Fire while Dilly Duka was still a member of the Columbus Crew.

Lindpere in particular has been a force, serving up eventual goals for Jeff Larentowicz (Saturday vs. Houston) and Austin Berry (Wednesday vs. Charleston).

PHOTOS: Chicago Fire 2, Charleston Battery 1

With two goals in as many games off set pieces, the Fire are starting to show this is an area that appears to be strengthened heading into 2013 and still, the Estonian international still thinks it can get better.

“It helps with your confidence to keep going like this,” Lindpere told Chicago-Fire.com “It’s been long trips, a lot of traveling, a lot of fitness and not too much practice with the dead balls. I think as the season starts and more concentration is there, we can show more improvement.”

On Saturday, Lindpere hit a perfectly placed ball towards the back post that his midfield partner Larentowicz headed across goal for what would stand as the winner in a 3-2 victory over Houston.

Wednesday night, he changed it up, finding Berry at the near post. The second-year Fire defender knocked the ball down before walking it over the end line to equalize the match.

“When the service is good, it makes it easier for players too and that makes a good goal. When you have a good service and the guy is in the right spot -- there can be anything with that, even an own goal. It adds to our abilities to hurt teams offensively.”

Berry, who scored two of his three goals off set pieces in 2012, sees a continuation of some of the service he was getting during his rookie campaign with Lindpere and Duka.

“They’re both very good at whipping powerful crosses in,” he said. “So often they’re putting it in the right spots and once we start getting our timing down, we’re going to score more on set pieces.”

With Berry, Larentowicz, Sherjill MacDonald and Arne Friedrich to aim for, perhaps those chances are good.