Fire

Preview: Fire get another shot against Orlando Saturday on CSN after recent draw

Preview: Fire get another shot against Orlando Saturday on CSN after recent draw

 

In one sense it shows how far the Chicago Fire have come that the players and coaches are looking at a draw on the road against a team in a playoff spot as a disappointment.

That’s how the Fire are looking at the 0-0 draw at Orlando on June 4. Granted, the context of the Lions being down a man for over an hour and finishing with only nine players explains the disappointment.

Still, the Fire are hoping to correct that result when Orlando comes to Toyota Park on Saturday. Coverage begins on CSN at 7 p.m. with Fire Pregame Live.

“It was just a good opportunity for us to get three points in that game,” coach Veljko Paunovic said. “We feel like they actually took something from us so I think the guys are aware of that, that we have another opportunity to win (against) our opponent from the conference and a very good team. We have to be at our best. This game is very important.”

The Fire (9-3-4, 31 points) enter with an eight-game unbeaten run in MLS play. Orlando (7-5-5, 26 points) has one win in its past 10 games and has drawn three straight.

The Lions head to Toyota Park without Cyle Larin. The third-year pro has 39 goals in his career and had eight in 15 games before getting suspended following a DUI arrest. The absence of its leading scorer is obviously a big loss for Orlando.

“Obviously they’re going through a little bit of a difficult stretch right now in terms of just off the field stuff and in terms of how the results on the field aren’t great,” midfielder Dax McCarty said. “We know they’re a good team though. They’re a dangerous team. They won plenty of games already this year and they have a lot of dangerous players.”

Goalkeeper Jorge Bava is out with what is being called left elbow tendinitis, but David Accam figures to be returning. Accam sat out both the U.S. Open Cup game at Saint Louis FC and the game last Saturday at New England. Both of those games were on turf, but Paunovic said his absence was not related to the turf.

“He didn’t recover from the physical issues that he had in the previous game and we always want to be smart with how we manage the minutes and the load for the guys,” Paunovic said of Accam.

Accam was in training this week.

Chicago Fire vs. Orlando City

TV: CSN Chicago (Spanish language broadcast with Hector Lozano and Raquel Ortiz on CSN+)

When: Coverage starts at 7 p.m. with Fire Pregame Live

Where: Toyota Park, Bridgeview, Ill.

Records: Fire (9-3-4, 31 points), Orlando (7-5-5, 26 points)

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.

Fire sign veteran MLS forward Alan Gordon

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USA TODAY

Fire sign veteran MLS forward Alan Gordon

As far as notorious players in MLS with a history of scoring big goals, Alan Gordon is one of the first names on that list.

The Fire signed the 36-year-old forward on Friday, continuing to add depth to a roster that appeared paper thin throughout the preseason. Gordon, who had been on trial with the Fire for part of the preseason and even after the season opener, signed a one-year deal.

Gordon adds plenty of experience from being in the league since 2004 and having scored 55 goals with five different teams. For the past few years he has been used primarily as a substitute, but has still maintained his reputation for scoring goals late in games.

At 6-foot-3 he brings plenty of size and strength to the team and is one of the best players on headers in the league. Last season the Fire failed to score directly off a set piece, which was both due to consistently poor service from corner kicks and a lack of players adept at finishing them off. Gordon should give the Fire a late-game option in that area.

Elliot Collier had impressed the Fire enough to earn a contract as a third-round pick and an international player and even came off the bench in the opening loss to Sporting Kansas City, but it appears the team wanted more experience at forward with Gordon.