5 THINGS: Rios cleared, Magee returns and ending the drought on turf
The Chicago Fire will look to continue their run as the hottest team in the Eastern Conference as they travel to Gillette Stadium to face the New England Revolution Saturday night (6pm CT on My50; 6:15pm CT on La Ley 107.9 FM).
Five things you should know before tonight’s match:
In case you missed it Friday afternoon, new Fire midfielder Egidio Arevalo Rios has been cleared to play in Saturday’s game after receiving his P1 Visa and international transfer certificate.
“El Cacha” has looked sharp in training with the team the last week and could go straight into the starting lineup, likely partnering Jeff Larentowicz in the Fire midfield.
Earlier this week the guys on the March to the Match podcast suggested the Fire scored “the biggest steal of the transfer window” by signing the Uruguayan international. Listen here.
Athletico Injury Report
Some good news, some bad news.
Good news: After missing last Saturday’s 2-1 win over Montreal, Mike Magee has trained with the team since Wednesday and asked Thursday whether or not he’d be available for Saturday’s game, simply said, “Yeah. It’s my job.”
Add to that, Dilly Duka has also trained this week and though he wouldn’t say for certain on the All-In Podcast, the Fire winger will be available after an ankle sprain suffered in the win over Montreal.
So-So News: Patrick Nyarko returned to Toyota Park on Thursday after a week away dealing with concussion symptoms. The Ghanaian midfielder won’t be available Saturday but was hopeful he’d be cleared to return to training in the next few days as he targets Friday’s game vs. Sporting KC.
Bad News: Coming off his game-saving clearance last Saturday, Chris Rolfe hasn’t train with the team since Tuesday as he deals with a hamstring injury.
Turf record 0-8-2
The second of three chances this season for the Fire to get their first win on turf since 2010 is tonight. At 10 games, the club currently holds the league’s longest winless drought on the fake stuff, with their last victory coming in a 1-0 win on June 27, 2010 at New England.
After climbing to .500 for the first time this season, the Fire (31pts.) could actually find their way inside the Eastern Conference playoff bubble tonight.
How? Currently sitting two points behind fifth place Houston (33pts.), should Frank Klopas’ side win at New England tonight and the Dynamo fall to Seattle, the Fire would leapfrog them into the fifth spot in the East.
Other games to watch closely: Montreal (35pts.) hosts Eastern Conference cellar dwellers D.C. United (6pm CT) while Philadelphia (37pts.) visits New York (38pts.) at 7pm CT.
There are plenty of unsung moments that any team can look back upon as key to their season. On tonight's broadcast (6pm CT on My50), Dan Kelly and Kevin Egan will look at three such moments that have helped the Fire climb back into the MLS playoff race after a slow start to the 2013 campaign.
Click here to watch them and vote on what you think has been the best.