The Chicago Fire announced Thursday that midfielder Joel Lindpere will join the Estonian national team for World Cup qualifiers at The Netherlands (March 22) and against Andorra (March 26). The veteran midfielder will join the national side following the Fire’s visit to Sporting KC this Saturday.
“Every player needs to be proud to be called up,” Lindpere told Chicago-Fire.com. “We’re a small nation so the number of players is limited and not too many players play abroad.
“It’s going to be two tough games that are really different from each other. Playing Holland away who we never beat and Andorra at home who we always beat -- it’s totally different teams and totally different games.”
While Lindpere, who has 84 caps to his name, is honored the call-up, he was disappointed to learn that he’ll miss the Fire’s match against Chivas USA on March 24.
“I even didn’t expect that. Last year when I went to the national team I didn’t have to miss any games. I think there are enough players in the league who play for their national teams to where the schedule of the season is messed up.
A glance at future Estonian World Cup qualifying fixtures and the Fire schedule bring up four more potential conflicts for Lindpere this season: June 2 vs. D.C. United, September 7 at Seattle, September 11 at Toronto FC and October 12 at FC Dallas.
“When a few players are going from their clubs to the national team, there needs to be a break. For me it doesn’t matter if there’s a Gold Cup or something else on. If the league wants to be a big one around the world – they need to find ways to not play on these dates.”
While somewhat frustrated by a club vs. country situation, Lindpere will also hit a milestone in his MLS career this week. Should he play vs. Sporting KC, it will mark his 100th MLS appearance.
“I never count the games. I just keep going,” he joked. “I know there are going to be more games after 100, so no worries.”