Fire

New Fire defender Daneil Cyrus ready to make his mark

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New Fire defender Daneil Cyrus ready to make his mark

It’s been quite the whirlwind month for the Fire’s newest signing.

After enjoying a training stint with the club prior to this summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup and having been closely monitored by head coach Frank Yallop and the technical staff throughout the tournament, Daneil Cyrus sealed a loan move from TT Pro League side W Connection to the Fire on the last day of the MLS secondary transfer window.

Since then, the Trinidad and Tobago international has spent the better part of the last four weeks in paperwork limbo. Despite acquiring his International Transfer Certificate on Aug. 12, the 24-year-old was forced to remain in his native country to await the receipt of his P1 visa. Upon receiving his passport, his entry into the Fire fold was halted yet again after being summoned by Stephen Hart to face Mexico in an international friendly on Sept 4. in Sandy, Utah, a 2-2 draw in which Cyrus featured 90 minutes.

“JJ [Joevin Jones] and the guys wanted to know if my loan deal was for next year,” said Cyrus, who communicated his frustration with the long-drawn-out process to reporters on Wednesday.

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You couldn’t blame his teammates' inquisition.

In the time between the announcement of Cyrus’ purchase on Aug. 6 and Monday – his first official day of training with the club – the Men in Red played seven games, bowing out of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and taking just five points from 18 available. Although he’s only had a few days to get his bearings, the Trinidadian leaves no doubt as to which area of the field he would prefer to ply his trade in should his services be required heading into the final stretch of the season.   

“Anywhere the coach would want me to play, I will play, but I prefer playing center back,” Cyrus added, “because of my vision to see the field, but as well as right back. My strength is my speed, so I don’t mind playing right back as well.”

Whether Cyrus impresses enough to guarantee a spot in Yallop’s starting lineup for Friday night's clash with New York Red Bulls (6 p.m. CT; UniMás) remains to be seen. What is certain, however, is that at 6-foot-4, his stature alone will supply the back line with a different, and perhaps more imposing presence.

[RELATED: Fire's defensive issues compounded by loss to Impact]

“It’s nice to add a player,” Yallop said via Monday via teleconference. “It took a while with the permit and all the red tape and paperwork we had to get through and waiting. It’s been kind of frustrating, but he’s here now. He’s a young international player who’s done well for his country, and we’re trying to integrate him into MLS once we get him training with us and get him playing games. I expect him to see the field for sure. I don’t know exactly when. We just have to make sure he’s up to speed on everything, but there’s no time like now, because we need to get a result Friday.”

For now, Cyrus is hoping to take the experience gained from his brief spell with Sporting Kansas City on loan in the summer of 2011, and fine-tune his game to adapt to the physical demands of the league to make for a better adjustment in the Windy City. 

“Of course it’s a conversation that I had," Cyrus said when asked if he'd held talks with the coaching staff about extending his stay with the club beyond 2015. "The environment is nice, Chicago is a very lovely place, the team is a very big team in the league over the years,” he said. “I don’t mind making a permanent move.”

NOTES

- Gilberto left training early Wednesday morning with "a little bit of a hamstring," according to Yallop, which was confirmed as a strain by a club spokesperson. The Brazilian is listed as questionable for Friday.

- David Accam (Ghana), Joevin Jones (Trinidad and Tobago) and Collin Fernandez (United States; U-20s) all participated in full training. Matt Polster (U.S.; U-23s) will fly directly from England to Harrison, N.J. to meet up with the squad ahead of the trip to face the Red Bulls.  

- Konstantin Möllering is no longer training with the club.

Chicago isn't hosting the 2026 World Cup, but fans should still be excited

Chicago isn't hosting the 2026 World Cup, but fans should still be excited

After failing to qualify to play in this summer’s World Cup, the United States’ pain was alleviated on Wednesday morning after earning a joint bid to host the 2026 World Cup.

But why is this bittersweet for Chicagoans?

Even though the World Cup will be hosted by the U.S., Mexico and Canada in eight years, matches will not be played in Chicago.

The city chose not to be one of the potential hosts of the world’s largest sporting event, despite using Soldier Field as a venue for the 1994 World Cup.

One of the reasons could be the low seating capacity of Chicago’s historic stadium. Soldier Field would be the second smallest spot out of any World Cup host option, seating only 61,500. The massive competition also draws enormous crowds, possibly causing logistical concerns for a highly-populated place like Chicago.

Ten out of 17 different cities in the United States will be gifted the opportunity to host 2026 World Cup games. The list includes Cincinnati (Paul Brown Stadium), Kansas City (Arrowhead Stadium) and Nashville (Nissan Stadium), which are the closest domestic locations to Chicago.

The bright side is that fans from the Midwest won’t have to travel very far to see a match. For bigtime soccer fans in the Chicago area, having the chance to attend world-class matches in United States could be exciting enough.

Out of the 80 games taking place in 2026, 60 of them will be located in the United States.

Can this bid with Mexico and Canada at least help the relevancy of U.S. Soccer in the Chicago area?

The U.S. men’s national team missed this year’s World Cup at a very unideal time, just when it seemed like the sport of soccer was gaining more and more popularity in the United States.

Plus, the United States might not even get an automatic bid to play in their own World Cup as hosts.

But becoming a member of the first trio in FIFA history to host the World Cup, coupled with the expanded 48-team field in 2026, could help the United States retain the fans they have across the nation and around Chicago.

The World Cup might not be coming to the Windy City, but Chicagoans will still have something to be excited about in 2026 with games being played right around the corner. If the U.S. can qualify for the upcoming World Cups, having the tournament in North America will be much sweeter.

Until then, the 2018 World Cup kicks off this Thursday night in Russia.

Ever wonder what a Portillo's soccer jersey would look like?

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@JTHAZZARD

Ever wonder what a Portillo's soccer jersey would look like?

Portillo's has become a staple in the Chicagoland area due to its popular hot dogs, Italian beef sandwiches and now, its soccer jerseys.

OK, maybe one of these does not belong with the others. Regardless, Twitter user @JTHazzard created mock-up soccer jerseys mashing MLS teams and restaurants based in that team's city, and the Portillo's jersey is sweet. 

From the Portillo's logo taking center-stage to the picnic blanket pattern to the discrete Chicago Fire logo, this jersey is absolutely brilliant. The only change this writer would make is including the logo below instead.

Valspar is the current sponsor featured on the Fire's uniforms. If the team ever needs a new sponsor, though, Portillo's would be an excellent replacement.