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Why was the Chicago Fire’s Gastón Giménez absent from Paraguay’s last Copa America match?

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Giménez is away from the Fire on international duty, but wasn’t even on the bench in a recent 3-1 win over Bolivia

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Paraguay’s Gastón Giménez battles for the ball against Brazil’s Neymar in a recent World Cup qualifying match
Photo by NORBERTO DUARTE/AFP via Getty Images

As the MLS international break comes to a close, the Chicago Fire are without a couple of regular starters who are still busy representing their countries.

Przemyslaw Frankowski remains away on Euro 2020 duty with Poland, and Gastón Giménez is with Paraguay at the Copa América. After establishing himself as a regular starter for Paraguay since switching his international affiliation last year, Giménez was absent from the 18 man roster in Monday’s 3-1 win over Bolivia.

The move led fans to speculate on Twitter: Has he fallen out of favor? Is there an injury to worry about? Fire coach Raphael Wicky said it’s neither.

“I texted with Gastón and asked him if he was injured, and he said no, the coach wanted to give him a rest day because they have a lot of games coming up in a very short amount of time. That was what he told me, so we’ll see,” Wicky said.

“We’re always happy and proud when players are called in for the national team,” he continued. “I’ve been in those shoes. I was very proud to play 75 times for Switzerland. Every player is proud to go and play for his country, and so are we as a club.”

Paraguay faces Giménez’s birth country, Argentina, on Monday, June 21. If he plays against Lionel Messi and Co., then clearly the Bolivia match was a simple rest day. If not, then perhaps there is something more going on. Either way, Wicky says he isn’t worried.

“Once they are there, then there’s nothing I can control,” Wicky said. “If the coach wants to put him, then he puts him. If the coach doesn’t want to put him, then that’s the coach’s choice, so I’m not losing any thoughts about that. If he plays, then I’m happy for him. If he doesn’t play, that’s part of the game.”

After a strong debut season in MLS, Giménez has struggled in 2021. The Fire will be without him for the next few matches, beginning with a Saturday clash with the Columbus Crew, in the last ever MLS match at Historic Crew Stadium (6:30 p.m. CT, WGN & CFFC Live).