Fire travel to Houston Tuesday


Fire travel to Houston Tuesday

The Fire thought it had cleared up Sebastian Grazzinis playing status last week, but maybe not.
Grazzini missed three days of practice last week, then was left off the travel roster for Fridays 1-0 win at Sporting Kansas City. Coach Frank Klopas said the lack of practice time kept Grazzini from playing against SKC.
Though Grazzini trained with the team in Bridgeview on Monday, he also didnt make the trip to Houston, where the Fire (8-5-3) visit the Dynamo (6-5-5) on Tuesday night. A club spokesman said Grazzini is staying home to tend to "personal matters in Chicago.
The club also has made it known that, contrary to the Major League Soccer Players Union website, Grazzini is not among the Fires lowest-paid players. The accuracy of the Players Union salary figures was discredited as they pertained to non-U.S. players.
Even without the Argentine midfielder, the Fire has been cruising. Klopas club will seek its fourth straight win against the Dynamo and also bid to be the first MLS team to win at the new BBVA Compass Stadium, the Houstons team home since May 12. The Dynamo is 4-0-2 there, and the Fire will get its first look at the facility on Tuesday.
Not since the 2005 season has the Fire won four straight. That year the Fire built a winning streak of the same size in late June and early July.
Tuesdays meeting comes in the middle game of a three-games-in-10-days stretch. The busy period concludes when the defending MLS Cup champion Los Angeles Galaxy, struggling with a 6-9-2 mark now, visit Toyota Park on Sunday. Los Angeles visit ends a streak of six straight Fire matches against Eastern Conference rivals.
In addition to Grazzini, the Fire will be without midfielder Rafael Robayo (shoulder injury) at Houston and striker Federico Puppo and goalkeeper Paolo Tornaghi wont be available for the second straight game because of ankle injuries. Puppo, though, went through training on Monday.
Veteran defender Arne Friedrich, who left the Sporting Kansas City match with cramps after 72 minutes, and striker Chris Rolfe, who finished that one hobbling on a sore ankle, were deemed available to face the Dynamo and defender Gonzalo Segares returns after sitting out a one-game red card suspension.
In addition to visiting a new stadium the Fire will be challenged by a new star. Honduran international Boniek Garcia, Houstons newly-signed Designated Player, made his debut with the Dynamo in Sundays 2-1 home win against the Philadelphia Union. He looked good in that match, and Houston was rolling even before he arrived. The Dynamo was 4-0-1 in MLS play in June.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Who deserves the blame in the Bears loss to Miami?


SportsTalk Live Podcast: Who deserves the blame in the Bears loss to Miami?

David Haugh, Adam Jahns and Patrick Finley join Kap on the panel. The Bears lose a rough one in Miami as Matt Nagy goes conservative at the end zone. Does the rookie coach deserve all of the blame? Dave Wannstedt joins the guys to discuss.

Plus the guys discuss the Cubs’ newest hitting coach/scapegoat, Brandon Saad’s upcoming healthy scratch and Bobby Portis betting on himself this season. 

Listen here or in the embedded player below!

Cubs executive Jason McLeod reportedly linked to Giants' GM opening


Cubs executive Jason McLeod reportedly linked to Giants' GM opening

Is this the offseason that Cubs executive Jason McLeod finally becomes an MLB general manager?

According to Bruce Levine, the Giants are reportedly interested in McLeod, the Cubs senior vice president of scouting and player development, for their vacant general manager position.

McLeod joined the Cubs' front office in 2011 alongside Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer. Before the Cubs, he spent six years in the Red Sox front office and two in the Padres' (with Hoyer, who was San Diego's general manager from 2010-2011). 

Of course, the Giants' reported interest in McLeod doesn't necessarily mean that he will interview for the job. However, it's worth noting that McLeod interviewed for the Twins' general manager job in 2016; he also withdrew his name from consideration for the Padres' general manager job in 2014. 

In addition to the Giants, McLeod's name has been linked to the Mets' general manager vacancy. This is more speculation, but the point is that it seems to be only a matter of time before McLeod is hired as general manager elsewhere.

For what it's worth, though, McLeod is under contract through 2021 and has previously said that he is grateful to be with the Cubs. 

“I’m exceptionally grateful,” McLeod said. “All of us are. Look at where we are at this moment in time with this team," McLeod said in 2016. "I can’t imagine a better environment, a better culture to work at in baseball.

"We’ve been together a long time. We’re friends. We’re good. We embrace the fact that we are good. And we challenge ourselves to be even better.”