With his team in the midst of an eight day stretch in which they’ll play three matches, Fire head coach Carlos de los Cobos is considering resting some of his starters for Thursday’s match at Portland (11 pm ET, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes).
De los Cobos told reporters on a conference call Wednesday afternoon that he hadn’t yet decided on a lineup for Thursday’s match. The Fire – who lost 2-1 at Seattle last Saturday – host the LA Galaxy at Toyota Park this Sunday.
“I will make a decision [in regards to the lineup] after training,” de los Cobos said. “I’m sure that we’re going to keep some base, some important players in, but if I feel like I need to give some rest to some players, I will do it. But I still will try to keep the majority of the [first-teamers] playing in the beginning of the season.”
One player who definitely won't take the field in Portland is first team center back Josip Mikulic. Though he isn’t listed on the injury report, the 25-year-old defender is not with the team and will miss his second straight match due to a quad strain. De los Cobos said that defender Dasan Robinson – who started against Seattle – will fill in for Mikulic.
Four Chicago field players – right back Jalil Anibaba, center back Cory Gibbs, holding midfielder Logan Pause and winger Marco Pappa – have played every minute in each of the Fire’s first three games.
“It’s difficult,” de los Cobos said. “Everybody wants to play, but I need to try to be smart and make the best decision for the team.”
Sam Stejskal covers the Chicago Fire for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @samstejskal.