BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – A few notes from the Fire’s Tuesday-morning training session:
Strong side to play in US Open Cup play-in match:
Expect the Fire to use a first choice lineup in Wednesday’s US Open Cup play-in match against Colorado in Peoria (Webcast LIVE on Chicago-Fire.com at 6:30pm CT). Head coach Carlos de los Cobos told media Tuesday that Wednesday’s lineup will be similar to the one that beat Kansas City 3-2 last Saturday.
“Our intention is to try to win the game,” he said. “We’ll have a very similar lineup to the last match.”
De los Cobos didn’t play his starters in his one previous Open Cup match – a bad shootout loss to the USL’s Charleston Battery.
“Last season we had a bad presentation in this tournament,” he said. “We’re going to try to correct things this year.”
Starting center back Josip Mikulic (at right) could miss Wednesday’s game after injuring his quad during Tuesday’s practice. The 24-year-old Croatian has played well in both of the Fire’s first two games, and de los Cobos said he'll play if healthy.
“If he’s ready to play, he’ll play,” de los Cobos said. “But I still need to ask the doctor how he is at this moment.”
De los Cobos said that Dasan Robinson or Yamith Cuesta will fill in if Mikulic isn’t able to go.
Midfielders Bratislav Ristic (hip flexor) and Marko Maric (hamstring) trained lightly on Tuesday, doing some simple ball work on the sidelines. They won’t be available for Wednesday’s match.
Defender Steven Kinney (achilles) and midfielder Mike Banner (achilles) have yet to return to training and won’t play at any point in the near future.
Manchester United reaction
Fire players and coaches are excited for their July friendly against English club Manchester United.
“It’s exciting,” said de los Cobos. “It’s a great opportunity for the players against one of the best teams in the world. For us, it’s a privilege to play against this team and I think everybody’s excited for the chance.”
The match, which will be held at Chicago’s Soldier Field, will be played a little more than a year after the Fire took on Italian club AC Milan in a friendly at Toyota Park.
“I think it’s going to be very exciting,” midfielder Baggio Husidic told MLSsoccer.com. “Playing Milan last year was a cool opportunity, but to have the chance to go up against Man U, you can’t even describe it.”
Sam Stejskal covers the Chicago Fire for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @samstejskal.