Fire

The story behind Bastian Schweinsteiger being on the other side of the camera on a viral photo

The story behind Bastian Schweinsteiger being on the other side of the camera on a viral photo

Eric Gehrig had a turn off your notifications moment on his phone last night.

The Chicago Fire assistant coach took a photo of Bastian Schweinsteiger taking a photo in the Toronto airport and it went wild on twitter.

Gehrig told the story over the phone of how Schweinsteiger, the most famous player on the team, ended up taking the photo instead of being in the photo.

The woman in the photo was on the plane to Toronto with the Fire and spotted the team with their team gear on.

"She said that her son is a huge soccer fan so she was all upset that he wasn't there and she passed out a piece of paper and we all signed a piece of paper for her," Gehrig said. "We got off the plane so she was like 'I got some time, I'm sure he'd love a picture.' She happened to say it right in the same vicinity as Basti and the guys. She said 'Yeah, let's take a picture.' It was half her looking at Basti, half Basti is like 'Sure, I'll take it.' I just thought it was so funny the magnitude of taking the picture. Obviously she had no idea and I thought it was hilarious and it was an opportunity I couldn't pass up to get my camera out."

Gehrig admitted he never thought the photo, which features forward Michael de Leeuw, goalkeeper coach Aleksandar Saric, goalkeeper Jorge Bava and midfielder Djordje Mihailovic, would blow up like it did.

"It has been nuts," Gehrig said. "Obviously that's the first time he's probably taken a picture like that, but my gosh."

Schweinsteiger, who is prepping for his first game away from Toyota Park with the Fire, finally got in front of the camera in Toronto, posting this picture Friday morning:

Schweinsteiger was nice enough to take the photo, but the rest of the team had a good chuckle over the German being on the other side of the camera for once.

"It was hilarious and Basti obviously, I'm sure he's enjoying the different roles and being here," Gehrig said. "She's obviously so nice with taking the picture and was all into it. It speaks volumes of him obviously and I just thought it was a unique, funny situation and I thought it would be cool to share it with the world."

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.