Fire

David Accam admits there are 'a lot of offers' for him, but doesn't give a hint about his future

accam-805.jpg
USA TODAY

David Accam admits there are 'a lot of offers' for him, but doesn't give a hint about his future

The drama surrounding David Accam may not be going away anytime soon, but while getting grilled by reporters about his future after Saturday's win against New England, he made it sound more likely that he could stay at least through the end of the season with the Fire.

After coming off the bench, and scoring, in each of the past two matches, Accam started and played 65 minutes in the 4-1 win against the Revolution. He admitted to some frustration over not starting those matches, but was happy to be back in the lineup again.

“You want to play every game,” Accam said. “For me, I’m just happy I came back today and helped the team.”

The Fire winger has created some drama in recent weeks with comments about how he was upset about being left off the MLS All-Star team by coach Veljko Paunovic, who selected 11 of the players on the roster. The story continued when his request to be sold abroad was reported.

When he also came off the bench last weekend in Kansas City that only fanned the flames of the rumors. The latest report comes out of Germany, where kicker is reporting Bundesliga club Hannover have made an offer for Accam.

On Saturday though, Accam returned to the starting lineup and helped the Fire snap a three-match winless streak. When asked about what changed with Accam since he came off the bench the last two weeks, Paunovic didn’t directly respond.

“We believe that the guys who are ready to perform and to give us performance obviously, but give us what we need in order to win the games,” Paunovic said. “We choose these guys to play. It’s always about the team. It’s always about trying to do our best to win.”

Accam said that the Fire have picked up his contract option for the 2018 season. That was largely a formality at this point because the Fire weren’t about to let him go for free and having him under contract for another year will give the team more leverage in any negotiations with a club outside MLS.

“It shows their commitment to me, that they really want me to be here,” Accam said. “For me, I’m happy they’re taking my option for next year. Just concentrate on the team and help the team win MLS Cup.”

Accam also admitted that there are offers for him. While he wouldn’t say if he wanted to leave, Accam’s words after Saturday’s game make it sound more possible than before that he will at least finish this season with the Fire.

“I’ll be honest there’s a lot of offers from teams,” Accam said. “For me it shows that I’m doing really well. I’m playing well. I’m playing on a good team and that’s just a testament of what we’re doing here. My performance is showing and we’re winning games so for me my head is still here and the rumors will always be there.”

Bastian Schweinsteiger finally sees the field in Fire preseason

schwein-221.jpg
USA TODAY

Bastian Schweinsteiger finally sees the field in Fire preseason

Coach Veljko Paunovic still went with a second-choice lineup to start the Fire's preseason match against USL expansion team Nashville SC on Wednesday, but the second half featured the first preseason action for Bastian Schweinsteiger.

Schweinsteiger came on for the second half, along with Nemanja Nikolic, Johan Kappelhof and a few other Fire regulars. The German sat out the first four preseason games, but looked sharp in his 45 minutes.

One of the highlights was this smooth move between two defenders:

Schweinsteiger also had an impressive switch pass to set up a shot for second-round pick Diego Campos in the final minutes of the game. Campos drilled the shot on target, but was unable to beat the goalkeeper.

The team did not say Schweinsteiger was injured despite the repeated absences in matches. The Fire have dealt with injuries to Matt Polster, Luis Solignac, Daniel Johnson and rookie Grant Lillard this preseason. None of those four, along with Dax McCarty, played in the 0-0 draw.

The Fire next play Saturday at Orlando in a final match in Florida before returning to Chicago. The Fire also play Tulsa, the team's USL affiliate, at Toyota Park on March 3 before taking on Sporting Kansas City in the season opener on March 10.

Injuries affecting Fire's preseason with season three weeks away

polster-217.jpg
USA TODAY

Injuries affecting Fire's preseason with season three weeks away

It may be a good thing that the Fire’s originally scheduled season opener March 3 at Colorado got moved back.

The Fire’s preseason has been riddled with injuries to key players and the extra week may end up being needed to get the team ready for the season. Four players (not counting the already known long-term injuries to Michael de Leeuw and Djordje Mihailovic) sat out Saturday’s game against Florida Gulf Coast University due to injury: Daniel Johnson (a right ankle injury suffered in a game against Philadelphia on Feb. 8), Grant Lillard (left knee), Matt Polster (left knee) and Luis Solignac (left hip).

Polster’s injury is especially notable because he has had recurring left knee problems since first suffering a sprain in the 2016 season finale at Toronto. Polster missed the first nine games of 2017 due to the injury and missed three more in August due to a related injury.

The 24-year-old, who is now the longest tenured player on the team and the only player remaining from before general manager Nelson Rodriguez’s tenure began at the end of the 2015 season, arrived with the Fire after playing with the U.S. national team in January. He played all 90 minutes on Jan. 28 against Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Bastian Schweinsteiger still hasn’t played in the preseason and the team hasn’t listed him as injured.

All the absences, combined with rest for some of the team’s regulars, resulted in a starting lineup against Florida Gulf Coast that featured two players who have appeared in an official match with the Fire. Three trialists and four draft picks started.

Four of the Fire’s seven scheduled preseason matches are in the books. The Fire lost 2-1 to Montreal on Feb. 14. One of the bright spots was a rare set piece goal after the Fire trailed the Impact 2-0. Dax McCarty headed in a free kick from Diego Campos. Campos has been dangerous on set pieces, hitting the post with a free kick and assisting a goal from a corner kick in Saturday’s 2-0 win against Florida Gulf Coast.

Next up is a match against USL expansion team Nashville SC on Feb. 21. Next Saturday the Fire play at Orlando to finish up play in Florida.

The Fire close out the preseason March 3 against the team’s USL affiliate, Tulsa, at Toyota Park before the season opener on March 10.