As the Chicago Fire head to Columbus on Saturday, they’ll be facing a depleted back line for the second straight match.
Last week it was Sporting KC missing Matt Besler and Lawrence Olum to national call-ups as well as Aurelien Collin to injury. On Saturday the Crew will be without three of their normal four starting defenders as Michael Parkhurst continues in U.S. camp while Giancarlo Gonzalez and Waylon Francis are with the Costa Rican national team.
Despite missing a majority of the starting back line, Fire head coach Frank Yallop said it wouldn’t be a factor for his team on Saturday.
“We said the same with Kansas and that was a tough game,” he told reporters post-training Thursday. “I never look at that the week ahead on paper and I would never tell the team that. It’s always tough. The Galaxy won yesterday and I think their back four is brand new.
“The team we’re playing on Saturday is no different. They had their stars in and they haven’t won for six games. I really don’t look at it too much at all.”
While Columbus is missing three of four defenders, the Fire could be without a number of players as well. That fact became evident when assistant coaches C.J. Brown and Clint Mathis as well as striker’s coach Brian McBride all lined up in a scrimmage.
Having missed the past few matches, both Bakary Soumare (calf tightness) and Alex (hamstring tightness) are listed as questionable on the Athletico Injury Report. Joining them this week is Patrick Nyarko, who was seen at training with an ice bag wrapped around his knee for a contusion he picked up Sunday vs. Sporting.
“Baky still has a calf (injury)… Alex still has his hamstring, it’s been lingering so that’s been a bit of a worry. I think he’ll be back in practice next week, getting ready for the three game spell [to start June]. Patrick tweaked his knee in the game. He’s probably doubtful for this weekend.”
“Mike just did it this morning, that could go away in 24 hours,” he said. “Lovel’s just resting at the moment. It’s not an injury, we’re hoping he can train tomorrow and see how he goes for the weekend.”
Yallop admitted overall that the 2-1 win over Sporting KC took a toll on his team.
“I think Sunday took a bit out of our guys. We’ll assess it and get ready for Saturday’s game. A few guys are banged up but it gives opportunities to other players to play.
“We have a 28-man roster and that’s why you have it. Other guys get a chance to play that have been dying to get a game and that’s what’s been good about the reserve games – they’ve been sharp and very good. A lot of guys got a game in at New York so Steven Kinney, Dilly Duka and guys like this that have been out for a little bit have had 90 minute games and have come through that and look sharp.”