Let today forever be known as the day of Arne - German International Arne Friedrich participated in his first training session with the team. Chicago Fire team writer already subjected him to a Q&A.
Jeff Crandall: First, I feel a lot of people will probably mispronounce your name... Could you tell me the proper way...?
Arne Friedrich: In German its "ARE-na" but I've heard the Americans say its "ARE-knee". It's not a problem for me either way.
As Crandall says later on, Arna it is.
The Daily Herald's Orrin Schwarz was out at practice today. Interesting bit from him via Twitter:
Last Fire player to leave the practice field today: Marco Pappa, practicing free kicks by himself
More news and notes including the updated Chicago Fire injury report after the break.
For this Saturday, the Chicago Fire's opponent Philadelphia Union will be without starting right back Sheanon Williams. Williams has been called up to join the USMNT U-23 camp. That camp is where Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson is currently residing these days. Look for Paolo Tornaghi to get his second straight start in goal for Chicago. Philadelphia will turn to veteran Chris Albright or rookie Raymon Gaddis to take over for Williams. Albright started at right back this past weekend but Gaddis has more speed to take on the Fire's speedy Dominic Oduro and Patrick Nyarko. This is an issue that is just the tip of the iceberg for Philly. We'll have more on that later. Chicago's home opener on Saturday, March 24 at 7:30 PM CST becomes more of must-win by the hour if the Fire want to separate themselves from the rest of the mess in the East.
The SB Nation Power Rankings for Week 2 have Chicago at No. 9. I personally voted for them at No. 6 (and wasn't the only voter to have them there either).
Fans who want to check out Arne Friedrich can attend the Thursday and Friday 10:30 AM training sessions that are open to the public on the Toyota Park Practice Field. Tomorrow's practice will be in Toyota Park itself so it's closed. Today's Chicago Fire injury report only lists Steven Kinney. Frank Klopas faces some interesting lineup decisions against Philly.
Congratulations to the Chicago Fire Academy teams for strong performances this past weekend. The U-16 and U-18 squads combined to go 3-1. U-16's lost to St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri 3-1 but then came back with a vengeance to defeat St. Louis Scott Gallagher Metro 6-0. U-18's defeated both St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri and St. Louis Scott Gallagher Metro 3-0.