Fire using bye week to get healthy, regain form

Men in Red look for fitness recovery during early off week

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Chicago Fire players and coaches don’t know why they have a second weekend off in the first five weekends of the season, but some don’t like it.

“It’s definitely weird. You feel like you can’t get in a rhythm,” defender Gonzalo Segares told MLSsoccer.com. “I really don’t know why we have another break after we just had one.”

But to three players that may start in Houston on April 15, the week off may not be such a bad thing.

German center back Arne Friedrich is targeting Houston for his first game with the Fire. The former German international has been working his way back into game fitness since he joined the Fire on March 20.

“My target is to play against Houston for 90 minutes,” Friedrich told MLSsoccer.com. “It takes time. Normally, to know each other, it takes a little more time. But I guess we did a good job and my teammates are wonderful, so I guess it’s working.”

Klopas expects Dan Gargan to be back from his ankle injury against Houston. His absence in Sunday’s 2-0 loss to Colorado caused Logan Pause to move from his position in the midfield to right back.

The only reason goalkeeper Sean Johnson didn’t start on Sunday, Klopas said, was because he didn’t play a full game while he was away with the United States Olympic qualifying team. He’ll have chances to play in Saturday’s exhibition against Louisville at Toyota Park and in Tuesday’s reserve game against Kansas City at Livestrong Park.

“I think the opportunity is good to have some reserve matches for guys like Sean to play and to get sharp,” Klopas told MLSsoccer.com.