BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- The month of July is throwing down a gauntlet for the Chicago Fire’s schedule.
Six league games, an Open Cup quarterfinal and friendly with Tottenham Hotspur will no doubt stretch Frank Yallop’s lineup. In the short term, he’ll hope it won’t be stretched any further by the absence of captain Jeff Larentowicz, whose wife is Kristi is due to give birth to the couple’s first child on Thursday.
While a due date is set for the day after the team takes on Toronto FC, Larentowicz recognizes that those can sometimes be arbitrary things.
“At this point, I’m planning as if it’s a regular week and I’m just saying that he’s going to come when we don’t have a game,” the captain told Chicago-Fire.com Monday. “If he does then I’ll have to make that decision but for now I’m just preparing normally.”
The only field player on the Fire roster to play every minute so far this season, Larentowicz admitted there would be mixed emotions if he couldn’t play in a match.
“I’ll be disappointed [not to play] until I see his face I’m sure,” he said. “The team is capable of being able to take care of business. If it turns out he’s born during a game -- that’s it and I’m going to be a proud father.”
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Teammate Logan Pause has been in Larentowicz’s position before.
Back in January 2012, the long-time Fire midfielder was speaking to his wife Vaneesha on the phone just prior to a preseason training session in Ave Maria, Fla., when she went into labor.
Pause rushed to the nearest airport and made it back to Chicago just in time to see the couple’s first child enter the world.
“It’s such an important time in anyone’s life,” Pause said. “I don’t think Jeff needs my advice, he’s someone that has everything pretty much under control and someone that knows that family comes first.”
Pause also missed some time with the team this season as he and his wife welcomed their second child back in April.
“It’s not an easy balance and it’s sort of a hurry up and wait situation. Whether or not Jeff misses time, we’re all going to be happy and supportive of him and his wife.”
The Centerback: Jeff & Kevin detail the Fire's month of July