Fire

Bastian Schweinsteiger says he is playing at 70 percent fitness

Bastian Schweinsteiger says he is playing at 70 percent fitness

Bastian Schweinsteiger has made a good early impression with the Chicago Fire, scoring two goals and registering an assist in four matches with his new club.

Apparently, he's also playing at only 70 percent fitness.

The German was the guest on Fire Weekly on Wednesday and said as much when Frank Klopas asked him how his match fitness is coming along.

"I would say around 70 percent," Schweinsteiger said. "It's still in the game you feel like you want to do something and you can't really do it because of the energy. I tried to of course play with my brain. My brain is 100 percent so that's working. I feel as a player if you are in a rhythm, you play 20 games in a row you have a better rhythm or feeling for the game."

Schweinsteiger dealt with injuries in his time with Manchester United and then was not selected for any Premier League matches this season.

"It's not easy for me because I was not playing so much in the past so I have to get my rhythm," Schweinsteiger said. "I try to improve myself more and more. I want to decide games, you know, so you need energy for that. I'm trying in every single training session to do a little bit more and to come to 100 percent, to reach that."

The Fire lost 3-1 at Toronto on Saturday, which was both Schweinsteiger's first road game in MLS and his first loss with the Fire. After the match he complained to the refs about some calls that were made and voiced more of that frustration also in the interview.

"Of course I don't like to lose so for me in Toronto I was not so happy about the result and some decisions which were made, but we still have to develop our game to ask for these kind of playoff spots or to be No. 1 maybe in the Eastern Conference," he said.

Schweinsteiger added that legendary German player Franz Beckenbauer, who played for the New York Cosmos in the old North American Soccer League, traveled with Bayern Munich for some Champions League games and told Schweinsteiger about playing in America.

"We had time to talk about life and soccer and everything," Schweinsteiger said of Beckenbauer. "He was telling me that his best time was actually when he was playing in America. So he was saying if you have a chance, do it. I have to say he was right."

Watch the full interview in the video below:

In other Schweinsteiger news, he also had some fun with Argentine teammate Luis Solignac. Schweinsteiger recorded a video on Solignac's phone saying the score of the 2014 World Cup final. Schwensteiger played in that game for Germany, which beat Argentina 1-0.

https://twitter.com/LuchoSoli/status/856981314007965696

Fire rumored to be connected to former Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas

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AP

Fire rumored to be connected to former Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas

They don’t call it silly season in Europe for nothing.

The offseason rumors that pop up and, in some cases, happen make for good entertainment around the world of soccer. Sometimes those rumors are connected to MLS, whether or not the chances of them coming to fruition are high.

The latest example of this is Steven Goff of the Washington Post tweeting out a juicy rumor involving the Chicago Fire and former Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas.

Goff doesn’t sound very confident in it happening and there are plenty of reasons why, but there are also reasons why it could make sense. In this case, it makes sense for Casillas to be looking for a home to continue his career. When his contract at FC Porto expires at the end of this European season in June, he will be 37 years old.

It’s been two and a half years since he left Real Madrid, where he spent the rest of his career, and he’s not the elite goalkeeper he once was. If Casillas wants to keep playing he may not be able to stick at a Champions League club like Porto, and that’s where the MLS rumors come into play. It makes sense for Casillas to have interest in joining MLS.

On the Fire’s end, the team isn’t loaded at goalkeeper, although there are three keeprs under contract (Matt Lampson, Jorge Bava, Stefan Cleveland) with the possibility of a fourth (Richard Sanchez) also returning. The numbers logjam could be rectified without much problem if the Fire have a chance to snag Casillas.

His experience as a World Cup and Champions League winner (like Bastian Schweinsteiger), would be a nice addition to the team, regardless of age. Casillas was one of the best goalkeepers in the world and won Spain's La Liga five times and the Champions League three times in addition to winning the 2010 World Cup.

The question from the Fire’s perspective is if he could justify the high cost he would likely come with. Goalkeepers aren’t often highly paid players in MLS with the way the salary cap works. More flexibility has been added with more and more resources being given to teams from the league, but the cost of a player like Casillas may be difficult to justify at goalkeeper, even if he would provide another marketing and attendance boost like Schweinsteiger did.

This rumor makes for a good headline, but may not have much basis in reality. Still, there's a decent chance Casillas' name will continue to be connected with a move to MLS until he signs his next deal.

Fire's protected list for expansion draft hints at possible moves

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USA TODAY

Fire's protected list for expansion draft hints at possible moves

The MLS offseason doesn't take long to get in gear.

The Fire traded Arturo Alvarez earlier on Sunday, the same day which the list of protected players was to be announced ahead of Tuesday's expansion draft for Los Angeles FC.

LAFC will take five players in the expansion draft, which is set for 1 p.m. on Tuesday. A team can only lose one player. Each team can protect 11 players and homegrown players aren't eligible for selection. For the Fire that means Drew Conner and Djordje Mihailovic can't be taken.

The Fire protected David Accam, Jonathan Campbell, Johan Kappelhof, Dax McCarty, Nemanja Nikolic, Juninho, Matt Polster, Richard Sanchez, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Luis Solignac and Brandon Vincent.

While Sanchez and Schweinsteiger are out of contract, the Fire have said they are negotiating with both players. Protecting Juninho is a bit of a surprise because it implies that the Fire have some intention of keeping him for next year, or at least keeping his rights to be traded.

The Fire left David Arshakyan, Jorge Bava, Brandt Bronico, Stefan Cleveland, Jorge Corrales, Michael de Leeuw, Christian Dean, Daniel Johnson and Matt Lampson unprotected. De Leeuw would be a worthwhile pickup for LA if it thinks he is worth it after his ACL tear suffered late in the season.

With only five players being selected it's fairly likely no Fire players are taken by LAFC, but it's arguable that de Leeuw will end up being one of the best five players available. The 31-year-old tied for the team lead with eight assists and scored three goals.