Happy Early Fourth of July
The Chicago Fire are bringing a little bit of patriotism to Wednesday night’s match vs. San Jose. The team will deviate slightly from their primary kit, wearing red tops, blue shorts and white socks for tonight’s match.
As advertised on Tuesday, the team will also wear commemorative jerseys featuring American-esque numbers and lettering. All 27 players on the Fire roster as well as Sparky’s jersey are already up for auction with all proceeds benefitting the Fire Foundation.
Supporters can bid online, via text or at the Foundation tent through the end of halftime Wednesday night.
Also, there will be a post-game fireworks show at Toyota Park Wednesday night.
Chicago Fire Absences
Frank Klopas confirmed Tuesday that the Fire will be without captain Logan Pause for the second straight match on Wednesday. The 11-year Fire veteran was substituted in the 26th minute of the Fire’s 2-1 win at Columbus on June 22 and has been listed out with SI Dysfunction the past two weeks.
Rolfe, Tornaghi Preview San Jose
Pause told MLSsoccer.com’s Anthony Zilis Tuesday that he was hopeful to be back and available for selection for Sunday’s Eastern Conference clash with Sporting KC.
Of course tonight’s match will be the first of potentially five games that the Fire will be without starting goalkeeper Sean Johnson as he tends to CONCACAF Gold Cup duty with the U.S. Men’s National Team.
Who Steps In?
With the likes of Pause, Jeff Larentowicz, Daniel Paladini and more recently, Alex, the Fire have developed fantastic depth in the heart of midfield this season. It seems a given that Larentowicz will once again start and captain the side Wednesday night but it will be interesting to see who partners with him in central midfield
As he has throughout his Fire tenure, Paolo Tornaghi is set to step into goal for Johnson. The former Inter Milan ‘keeper is 2-3-1 all-time and last saw time in a first team match in the 2-0 third round U.S. Open Cup win at Charlotte back on May 29.
The Italian told me this week he recognizes the opportunity to shine between the sticks this month for the Fire.
Far More Absences for the Quakes
So the San Jose Earthquakes will be without four players due to CONCACAF Gold Cup duty as Chris Wondolowski, Clarence Goodson (both USA), Marvin Chavez (Honduras) and Nana Attakora (Canada) are all away prepping with their national sides for this month’s regional championship.
Add to that the fact that 2012 MLS Best XI defender Victor Bernardez is suspended and Steven Lenhart is also out injured with a head contusion suffered in Saturday’s 3-2 win over LA and the Quakes are definitely without some folks tonight.
UPDATE: Around 11:30am CT, the MLS Disciplinary Committee announced today that Earthquakes midfielder Shea Salinas will also serve a one-game suspension tonight for an elbowing incident that occurred in the fifth minute of Saturday's game against LA.
Catching San Jose at the Right Time?
With the international absences and injuries, Klopas was asked Tuesday if he felt the Fire were facing the 2012 MLS Supporters Shield winners at a good time in the season to which he replied:
“I think every team is prepared for things like this. When you bring international players or guys from national teams, there’s no easy game. Its opportunities for other players – you rely on your team and the depth in San Jose’s squad, we’re aware. I think they’ve prepared just like we have.”