Fire

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

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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.”

As Fire near playoffs, Bastian Schweinsteiger's immediate and long-term futures are in question

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USA TODAY

As Fire near playoffs, Bastian Schweinsteiger's immediate and long-term futures are in question

Bastian Schweinsteiger has delivered on the promise of a big name star since joining the Fire in late March. He has produced on the field, drawn lots of attention to the club, the team has won enough to get into its first postseason since 2012 and, until recently, he stayed healthy.

However, the 33-year-old German has played 19 minutes in the previous six matches and told reporters on Wednesday that he will not play in the regular season finale in Houston on Sunday. He missed four straight matches with a calf injury before returning against New York City FC on Sept. 30 for a substitute appearance.

Schweinsteiger left practice early with what appeared to be a reaggravation of the injury on Oct. 4 and now it is known that will cost him at least two games. With the playoff picture still in flux (the Fire can finish anywhere from second to fifth in the Eastern Conference), the Fire could potentially face a three-day turnaround and travel after the Houston game or could have a first-round bye. Keeping Schweinsteiger fresher for that crunch of games could end up being a good thing, but it also runs the risk of his match fitness not being at 100 percent for the postseason.

Beyond the postseason, Schweinsteiger dropped this tease of a nugget to the Daily Herald's Orrin Schwarz just an hour before Fire general manager Nelson Rodriguez spoke with reporters for almost an hour at Toyota Park.

Schweinsteiger, who was not at training, was autographing memorabilia in the form of soccer balls, posters and jerseys. Chicago Red Stars fans may get a kick out of the fact that Schweinsteiger was wearing a Red Stars hoodie.

Initially, the club said Schweinsteiger signed a one-year contract with a mutual option. Later in the day, when asked about Schweinsteiger's future, Rodriguez said the mutual option doesn't have a set number attached to it.

"That would require a negotiation," Rodriguez said. "It was mutual in a sense of we didn’t want either party to feel bound without having had the year of experience to draw on. From our perspective, our experience has been extraordinarily positive with Bastian. We think he’s delivered across all of our expectations and we hope that we have delivered against his expectations.”

So in essence, there is no mutual option. Schweinsteiger and the Fire have to come to terms again on a deal for the German to return in 2018. That's not to say Schweinsteiger can't come back, but there's nothing in writing that binds the two together for next season.

Rodriguez said talks have only begun in the very preliminary stages at this point.

“The most that Basti and I have done is, both said, hey this has gone pretty well." Rodriguez said. "You like it. I like it... So I think we want to remain with our original plan. It was to look to have the hard discussions at the end of the season. My view is in-season negotiations always prove to be a distraction, whether to the player or to me. There can be a team element if it becomes public.

"I don’t want to speak for Basti, but from what we’ve gleaned and what he shared with us, he and (wife) Ana (Ivanovic) are very comfortable in the city. They love it. I think he’s really enjoyed the locker room, the guys, the support of the fans. I think he’s really taken to the challenge of Major League Soccer. I think the signs are positive, but again we would prefer to have the season close before finalizing anything.”

Special edition of the Fire Talk Podcast: What’s wrong with U.S. Soccer?

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AP

Special edition of the Fire Talk Podcast: What’s wrong with U.S. Soccer?

It's a special edition of the Fire Talk Podcast!

Dan Santaromita, Justin O’Neil, JJ Stankevitz and Tom Cooper try to answer all the questions that surfaced after the U.S. failed to qualify for the World Cup. What went wrong in qualifying, who was at fault, what can be fixed, will things get better? Has any American soccer fan calmed down even a week after? The four on the panel sure still are plenty fired up.