paunovic mitrovic preseason 2019

Chicago Fire set for second preseason test against CF Fuenlabrada on Wednesday

The Chicago Fire are set for their second and final friendly match of the Madrid leg of the Club’s 2019 preseason, when they take on Spanish Segunda División B side CF Fuenlabrada on Wednesday at Estadio Fernando Torres (11 a.m. local time, 4 a.m. CT).

Now a full two weeks into camp, head coach Veljko Paunović sees his side making strides ahead of their second unofficial test of the preseason.

“It’s always positive,” Paunović said. “We always see progress. You also see that some guys are getting a little bit tired, which is normal this part of the preseason. On the other side, we have to start thinking that we’ve got to get sharp. In the next couple weeks, we have to get to the level where we can see if we are ready to compete, or what we have to polish until we start the season on March 2.”

“Right now I think we are happy with the performance. We are putting a lot of emphasis on our style, and obviously still working on our fitness.”

CF Fuenlabrada are currently atop Group 1 of the Segunda División B, narrowly leading second place Atlético Madrid B, whom the Fire drew 1-1 in a friendly last Wednesday.

Paunović and his staff are hoping to keep fine-tuning the team ahead of the second leg of their preseason, which begins on Monday, Feb. 11 when the team departs for Charleston, SC  after a three-day break in Chicago. There, they’ll take on Columbus Crew SC (Feb. 16), FC Cincinnati (Feb. 20), and the Charleston Battery (Feb. 23) as part of the 2019 Carolina Challenge Cup (streaming info TBA).

“Putting all these pieces together, we want to see just the consistency in our style and we also want to be a little sharper," he said. "We didn’t score a lot of goals in these games we played. We created a lot of opportunities, which is positive, but now we have to convert them. We have to get sharper.”

“If that happens tomorrow, we will definitely be happier about the performance and overall the first stage here in Spain, in Madrid, of our preseason.”

Stay tuned to Fire social media channels for in-match updates and a full recap following tomorrow’s friendly contest.