When the Chicago Fire face the Seattle Sounders Tuesday at 8 a.m Central time, Francisco Calvo will be ready to go. He just won’t be thrilled about it.
“It’s hard,” Calvo said recently. “It’s not a secret that playing at 9:00 a.m. (Eastern time) is not easy, but we just need to do what we can control, which is make a good preparation, drink a lot of water, a lot of supplements given to us by the coaching staff.
“My only opinion about that is I’m not complaining about if they move us or not in the groups because we don’t care about that,” Calvo continued. “The only thing is that the league didn’t give us anything. I think we deserve a little bit...because they just move us and that’s it.”
To get ready for it, the Chicago Fire are training at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex Monday morning at 8 a.m Eastern—an hour earlier than Tuesday’s scheduled start time. These early start times probably remind many of the players of their youth soccer days, when 8 a.m. tournament kickoffs are normal.
For professional players, it means adjusting their eating and sleeping schedules to be ready to go. Fire coach Raphael Wicky says he usually wants his guys to eat three-and-a-half hours before a match, so they don’t risk getting sick when they’re running around. He might push that up to three hours on Tuesday, so the players don’t have to wake up quite so early.
Whatever the plan, Fire midfielder Brandt Bronico is on board.
“Our trainers and strength staff are very knowledgeable,” Bronico said. “They know what we need to do and when we need to do it, so they stay on top of us about that. Also, we like to be very disciplined in our diets and also listening to them. We take what they say into consideration and make sure that we do the right steps in staying healthy and being fit and being ready ultimately for all three of those games, whether it’s at 8:00 A.M. or 8:00 P.M.”
In Group B of the MLS is Back Tournament, Seattle and San Jose both sit in first place with one point apiece after playing to a draw Friday night. With Seattle entering the match on shortened rest, grabbing at least a point will go a long way toward helping the Fire finish in the top two of the group. The other team in the group, the Vancouver Whitecaps, will open its campaign on Thursday against the Earthquakes.