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Chicago Fire Notebook: Alvaro Medran’s health, Federico Navarro’s arrival, Robert Beric’s minutes, and more!

There’s a lot to cover this week...

MLS: Chicago Fire at Philadelphia Union
Alvaro Medran controls the ball against the Philadelphia Union
Mitchell Leff-USA TODAY Sports

We don’t know exactly what’s going on with Chicago Fire midfielder Álvaro Medrán, only that he’s still under health and safety protocols, and he’s not with the team. Medrán was a late scratch for Sunday’s win over the New York Red Bulls, and he’s a big question mark for this Sunday’s matchup with the Columbus Crew (5 p.m. CT, WGN-TV, CFFC Live).

We do know that whatever’s going on with Medrán, he’s fully vaccinated. Wicky mentioned after Sunday’s game that 100-percent of the team and staff are now fully vaccinated. Hopefully Álvaro is OK, and he can get through this quickly.

Terán Injury Update

Defender Carlos Terán is with the team after leaving the Red Bulls game on a stretcher in the second half.

“Carlos was a cramp but obviously he was injured in that area before,” Fire head coach Raphael Wicky said Wednesday. “So that’s why we have to be just very, very careful. But it was a cramp, and he felt much better in these last days. But we still have to be very careful, obviously, managing him and giving him the right amount of minutes, and also next week where we have three games in one week with a lot of traveling and in a lot of heat down in Florida and a lot of humidity.”

Terán, who joined the Fire late last season, has missed several games with a shin injury in 2021.

Robert Berić’s Minutes

As we noted earlier this week, Fire DP striker Robert Berić is underperforming his xG by a staggering 3.7 goals on the season, which would be an easy explanation as to why he’s been coming off the bench in the last few matches.

But Wicky said it’s more an issue of how Berić is feeling, not necessarily how he’s performing.

“The main reason is that Robert had a broken nose,” Wicky said. “You all know that he was wearing a mask. I felt that when I saw him in training and in games and also in speaking to him that it bothered him. It was not easy to breathe for him. He was a little bit scared of going into challenges. I saw that when I also subbed him in Philadelphia. He came in with the mask and going into long balls and duels, he struggled a little bit with that. So that’s one of the reasons.”

Wicky noted he’d like it if Berić had scored more than two goals this season, but said he’s been “sometimes a bit unlucky.” Berić is now training without the mask, Wicky said.

Fede’s coming, but he’s not here yet...

New signing Federico Navarro still needs to get his visa sorted before he can join the team, which could take another couple weeks. One guy who seems particularly excited for his arrival is Gastón Giménez, who is very familiar with the 21-year-old’s skillset.

“I know him from watching him play a lot,” Giménez said. “He’s younger. And I still watch a lot of football from Argentina. I watch him play and know that he’s a player who is very aggressive, very physical. I think he’s going to bring a ton to our team. So we are here waiting for him to join us and hopefully he will adapt quickly and help our team do things the right way.”

Kudos to Dax

He may not be here anymore, but Dax McCarty is still a fan favorite in Chicago. This weekend, McCarty is set to become the sixth player in MLS history to play 400 games in the league. He joins Nick Rimando (514), Kyle Beckerman (498), Jeff Larentowicz (437), Kevin Hartman (416), and Chad Marshall (409). Chris Wondolowski is sitting on 398 career games, so he’ll soon be joining the club, too.

North Austin Development

The Fire and the Chicago Fire Foundation just broke ground on a massive new facility in Chicago’s North Austin neighborhood, with a focus on sports, education and wellness.

When it’s complete, the Chicago Fire Foundation will establish a permanent home for its community outreach programs, which includes its P.L.A.Y.S. (Participate, Learn, Achieve, Youth, Soccer) Program. P.L.A.Y.S. aims to enhance the academic performance and development of key social and emotional skills of elementary school students through a sports-based curriculum.

The community center will transform an existing plot of blighted land on North Laramie Avenue into 150,000-square-feet of indoor space, outdoor turf fields and Chicago’s only FIFA regulation turf field for year-round indoor sports.

Well done, Fire. We can’t wait to see it when it’s complete.