The Fire may be on the verge of a defending boost.
Both Cory Gibbs and Steven Kinney are on their way to recovery from their injuries, which will hopefully add depth to an already formidable back-line.
"Things are going well. I'm on progress to be back hopefully training fully in the next three to four weeks," Gibbs said, after spending the first hour of training jogging around the pitch at Toyota Park. "It's a work in progress, and I'm starting to jog now. There's a lot of transition before I can head fully into the team. And I've got to make sure I'm 100%."
Steven Kinney, who is coming back from a ruptured Achilles tendon at the end of the 2010 season, is almost ready to return.
"It's coming along, just trying to reclaim my fitness now," said Kinney. "The ankle feels fantastic, which is the good news, but my body is kind of feeling the wear and tear of pretty much going through preseason."
Preseason fatigue aside, this is indeed good news. When Gibbs and Kinney return to full time training with the first team, the number of active players who can play on the back-line will be up to eleven - including Logan Pause, who played right back, and did an okay job at that.
That leaves a bit of a conundrum for manager Frank Klopas, who stressed about continuity being necessary for a successful back line.
"It's good that everybody's healthy," he said. "I haven't made a lot of changes in the back and I don't plan on doing so; because I know it's about continuity and playing together that makes those guys be really sharp on the field."
So, where does that leave Kinney and Gibbs?
"I'm just looking to come back, and get my fitness back and, if anything, push these guys," said Kinney. " If I can't get into the starting line up, then I'll push these guys to get better. If I get a chance, I'll step in and play, and if not, I'll play as a roleplayer."
Gibbs was a bit more pragmatic.
"That's not really my decision," said the 32-year-old. veteran. "My goal is to come back fit and give what I can to the team."
- The scrimmage was something that I've never seen before with, four goals, two on either end- line and, the field split lengthwise; first with mini goals and later regular sized goals with the goalkeepers joining in.
- The full scrimmage was competitive - especially when the three goalkeepers joined in. Sean Johnson was still in top form, stopping two absolute rockets from Dominic Oduro.
- You don't realize the amount of chirping and communication that goes on between teams until you're sitting in an empty stadium watching practice with the company of a few journalists and PR staff. It was inspiring and fun to see.
- Klopas spoke on the upcoming match with Toronto FC with reporters after practice. "Games like this are where you need to not think that it's going to be an easy game," he said.. "Just because of their record so far... These guys are motivated and they've won some games and there's still a lot to play for."