Everyone is happier after a win.
Certainly Chicago Fire coach Veljko Paunovic was in his weekly conference call with the media on Monday. Paunovic’s call went longer than normal and he spoke about tactical changes, gave up update on David Accam’s injury status and talked about upcoming opponent New York City FC.
One of the more notable quotes from Paunovic came when asked about Sunday’s match and the Fire trying to get even with NYCFC after losing 4-3 in the first match of the season.
“What I am going to say now I want you to understand well from the standpoint of somebody that is very competitive,” Paunovic said. “We had our honor hurt here when we wanted to win, our presentation to our fans, and we lost the game against New York.”
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Paunovic also spoke about the tactical switch to move back to a four-man defensive line against Philadelphia.
“I think we needed more possession,” he said. “(Playing) with 4-2-3-1 helps our team feel more comfortable on the field when we want to have more possession. That helped a lot and this is why we decided to play with this and it went well. I believe we improved, but we still have to improve more in our possession and our patience and recognition when we have to progress.”
The Fire earned a second straight shutout in the 1-0 win against Philadelphia and for the first time this season had most of the possession. Defender Johan Kappelhof was named to the MLS Team of the Week, the first time a Fire player has earned that honor in 2016.
One continuing storyline early this year has been the health of David Accam. Accam has missed the last two games. Paunovic said his availability for Sunday remains uncertain.
“He’s still not a full go,” Paunovic said. “I will say he is recovering very well. He is in the final phase. We will see day-by-day how he performs and if he can be ready for this game.”
On the rumor mill, Dutch attacker Michael de Leeuw admitted in an interview with a Dutch publication that the Fire have been in talks with him since the winter. The 29-year-old plays for FC Groningen, where Kappelhof joined the Fire from in February.
This is likely connected to general manager Nelson Rodriguez’s recent comments about the Fire having signed a contract with one player and are close with another. It sounds like de Leeuw could be the player the Fire are close with.