Patrick Nyarko's return to health gives Chicago Fire lineup conundrum

Nyarko is available for selection but what part will he play Sunday vs. Houston?

Patrick Nyarko

Photo Credit: 
Brian Kersey Chicago Fire

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- Gaining health was a nice theme to have around the Fire locker room this week.

After injuries kept the likes of Patrick Nyarko, Gonzalo Segares and Dilly Duka out of the team’s 3-1 victory over New York last week, it seems a good bet that the trio will all be available for selection for Sunday’s visit to Houston.

In that game, Fire head coach Frank Klopas deployed Joel Lindpere and Daniel Paladini in more pinched in midfield roles than Nyarko and Duka had previously played.

“It was a little make-shift but it worked perfectly,” Nyarko told Chicago-Fire.com. “I thought they played really well and contained New York for as much as they could. I was proud of them given the short amount of time they had to prepare for the game.”

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With Paladini’s goal and two assist performance in Sunday’s game and Nyarko returning to the fold this week, Klopas is facing the choice of sitting either the team’s hottest attacking player or its most consistent performer over the last three seasons.

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Though it may be a more unfamiliar role for him, Nyarko is fine if it’s him coming off the bench.

“I’m just ready for whatever comes up. I’ve always been about the team and however many minutes I’m needed – I might not be needed at all.

"It’s just where the leadership role comes in. Frank talked to me about pushing those guys, giving them more confidence and if the team keeps winning, I’m happy.

I’m just ready for whatever scenario comes up and if I’m coming off the bench, I can make the same impact as when I start.

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Though he didn’t play a part in the team’s first win of the season Sunday vs. Red Bull, the Ghanaian attacker has taken confidence from the win.

The Fire hope to use the momentum from that result as they look to spoil the Dynamo’s potential MLS record 35-game home unbeaten streak Sunday.

“It would be incredible to be the team that ended their run,” he said. “We need to play smart. We’re not going there full-out with that goal necessarily, we don’t want to just go for the jugular and then leave ourselves exposed at the back.

“It’s going to be a lot more tactical on our part and try to cash in when they nap. I know they’re going to come out with a lot of energy. It’s a matter of us containing that energy early on and settling into the rhythm of the game.

“If we do that, we can earn three points.”