Fire

Dax McCarty set to rejoin U.S. national team

Dax McCarty set to rejoin U.S. national team

Even during the Chicago Fire's losing streak, Dax McCarty has remained one of the team's most consistent performers. That consistency continues to get rewarded by U.S. national team coach Bruce Arena.

Arena included McCarty in the 26-man roster for the pair of upcoming World Cup qualifiers. The U.S. will host Costa Rica on Sept. 1 at McCarty's former home stadium, Red Bull Arena. Four days later the U.S. will travel to Honduras, always a tough place to play for the Americans.

McCarty will miss the Fire's trip to Montreal on Sept. 2, which doesn't bode well for the Fire trying to snap a four-game losing streak. The Fire lost 3-0 at Montreal on Aug. 16. McCarty would likely be available for the Fire's match against the New York Red Bulls on Sept. 9.

The Fire have lost six of the last seven and McCarty said after the loss that the team's sense of urgency "needs to be ramped up to another level."

McCarty is the only Fire player to get called up to a national team. David Accam was left off Ghana's roster and Nemanja Nikolic declined to join Hungary, instead electing to focus on the stretch run for the Fire.

Here is the full U.S. national team roster:

GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Atlanta United FC), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)

DEFENDERS (9): DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City/ENG), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca/MEX), Matt Hedges (FC Dallas), Eric Lichaj (Nottingham Forest/ENG), Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna/MEX), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

MIDFIELDERS (9): Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Paul Arriola (D.C. United), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach/GER), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund/GER), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders)

FORWARDS (5): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Bobby Wood (Hamburg/GER)

Chicago Fire permanently sign midfielder Aleksandar Katai

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USA TODAY

Chicago Fire permanently sign midfielder Aleksandar Katai

The Fire have secured the transfer of midfielder Aleksandar Katai from Deportivo Alavés of the Spanish La Liga, the team announced Wednesday afternoon.

This season’s breakout playmaker has been signed with Chicago through 2019, with a 2020 club option. Before the transfer, Katai was on loan from Alavés, which was set to expire after July.

The Serbian player has emerged as one of the most important pieces of the Fire’s offense this season. Since joining the club on Feb. 6, Katai has scored eight goals in 18 league matches, tying forward Nemanja Nikolić for the most on the team. Katai also has three assists in 2018.

The 27-year-old’s biggest game of the year came against New York City FC last month when he scored two goals to lead the Fire to 3-2 victory. His production this season in the MLS has been much more significant than it was in 23 matches with Alavés, where Katai only tallied three goals and four assists.

His transfer fee is unknown but, according to Sam Stejskal of MLSsoccer.com, he will be a “Targeted Allocation Money player” for the rest of this season and will not be a Designated Player until 2019. Whatever the official price was, acquiring Katai for a lengthier amount of time seemed like a must.

Throughout this season, the Fire were rumored to be in talks with legendary Spanish striker Fernando Torres. On Tuesday, he signed with Sagan Tosu, a Japanese club. The Fire signed Katai the next day, showing that the team was possibly waiting for Torres to leave the market.

Chicago will face the Philadelphia Union Wednesday night at Toyota Park, where Katai will look to continue his impressive season.

Chicago Fire defender Johan Kappelhof involved in car crash on Thursday morning

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USA TODAY

Chicago Fire defender Johan Kappelhof involved in car crash on Thursday morning

Chicago Fire defender Johan Kappelhof was involved in a car accident on his way to practice Thursday morning that sent him to the hospital with minor injuries.

According to authorities and the Secretary of State’s Office, a box truck crashed into the Dutch player’s 2013 Volkswagen and another vehicle in the 5900 block of South Harlem. Kappelhof’s vehicle rolled over and two people fled from the scene.

The driver ran on foot and the passenger moved into the driver’s seat before driving the truck onto the Stevenson Expressway after the crash, officials said. After the damaged vehicle broke down, police say the same passenger tried to jump into the Illinois and Michigan Canal. Both were taken into custody.

Team officials said Kappelhof was treated and released from the hospital without indicators of a concussion. The 27-year-old was reportedly seen at Toyota Park after the crash and did not have any serious injuries. The other driver who was hit by the box truck was also treated, police said.

This season in league play with the Fire, Kappelhof has three assists in 16 games. The international product was a 2017 MLS All-Star and the Defensive Player of the Year for the Fire last season. He was signed in 2016 and has made one MLS Cup Playoffs appearance.