There should be one major goal for Raphael Wicky’s Chicago Fire squad heading into today’s final preseason matchup against the Vancouver Whitecaps at SeatGeek Stadium (11:30 a.m. CT, streamed at ChicagoFireFC.com.)
Don’t get hurt.
Five Fire players have picked up injuries this preseason. First it was Stanislav Ivanov, whose knee surgery will keep him out until midseason. Then it was Elliot Collier (ankle) and Fabian Herbers (knee) in the same match. Both guys are progressing well, but they’re still out. Then it was Carlos Terán, who is dealing with a quad injury. And, finally, we learned just this week that Ignacio Aliseda suffered a leg injury. Wicky is hopeful he’ll be better soon, but didn’t give any specifics.
Why is it happening so much? Wicky gave a lengthy answer in Friday’s news conference:
Well, we’re talking about five players, which is a lot, five players. But we have to see. Three of those players are accidents. Yeah, that happens in football. Again, I repeat myself: Fabian Herbers went into a challenge in a game and hurt his knee. Elliot Collier sprained his ankle and another player from Philadelphia landed on his ankle and that happens. Stanislav [Ivanov] had the knock and hurt his meniscus. That’s not something you can control.
But of course these questions, we also ask ourselves, does it have a relation with the three and a half months, four-months break and then you start training and suddenly your body is not used to certain movements. Even though they had a program and they did the program because they back in a good shape, I cannot give you the answer on that. Those are questions, we obviously talk but we don’t have the answers and I don’t think anyone will give us the answers.
You can only go after stats a little bit. You can see that last season in the EPL there was a moment where they made a comparison after one or two or three months of season they compared to a year earlier and they had 50 percent more muscle injures in the EPL than the year before prior to COVID. But I don’t know, we don’t have this study here yet I think.
So I can’t give you the answer and at the end of the day, it’s unfortunate, it’s unlucky. Injuries happen. It’s part of our sport. We don’t wish them to anyone. Me as a coach, I cannot lose energy in complaining or overthinking things. I have a roster and I told you guys four or five weeks ago, I’m very happy with this roster and that’s still the case. And I work with the players I have, and I’m confident that the other guys come back quickly. But the reason why these things happen, I don’t have an answer.
The regular season starts next Saturday night at Soldier Field against the New England Revolution, so any more injuries—especially to attacking players—will present a big problem for Chicago. Young players like Alex Monis, Chinonso Offor, Brian Gutiérrez, and Javier Casas, Jr. have stepped up to fill the injury void so far this preseason, so we’ll see if that continues today against the Whitecaps.
Chicago Fire FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps
Preseason Match #6 | Wednesday, April 10 | SeatGeek Stadium, Bridgeview, IL
Kickoff: 11:30 a.m. CT
Steaming: ChicagoFireFC.com (for fans watching within 75 miles of Soldier Field)
Live Twitter Updates: @HotTimeOldTown
Next up for the Fire
Regular Season Opener - April 17 - Chicago Fire FC vs. New England Revolution at Soldier Field (7:30 p.m. CT - WGN-TV, CFFC Live)