With the Chicago Fire’s playoff hopes hanging by a thread, it’s getting to the point where we’ll need other things to watch to keep the season entertaining. The most interesting storyline might be the arrival of Federico Navarro, the Fire’s new, 21-year-old No. 6. He’s due in to Chicago this week, and after a quarantine period, he should be able to join his teammates in the middle of next week, according to Raphael Wicky. The Fire announced his signing several weeks ago, but the visa process has been slow.
Unlike some other recent signings, Navarro is not considered a project. Instead, the Fire are hoping he’s a guy who can help the team right away. Even so, Wicky said it’s important to give him at least some time to adjust.
“As you probably know, he didn’t play anymore in Argentina and I don’t think he was training with the team since the transfer was official,” Wicky said. “So I think he wasn’t really training in a daily football environment for a few weeks. I don’t know exactly how many days. So we are going to give him time to integrate into the team and see physically how he feels, how he is, and then based on all of (that) information, we will then decide how fast we will integrate him into the match day rosters.”
After Saturday’s game in New Jersey against the New York Red Bulls, the Fire are off until September 11’s match against Sporting Kansas City.
Wicky said Ignacio Aliseda, who is dealing with a left shin injury, is still training individually, and they’re hopeful he could be back for that Sporting KC match after the international break.
Carlos Terán’s lingering leg issue seems to be a thing of the past. The defender played in all three games last week, and Wicky said he’s still doing fine in training.
Goalkeeper Kenneth Kronholm had another setback in his ACL tear recovery. He’s not training with the team at the moment. With Bobby Shuttleworth playing well, and both Gabriel Slonina and Chris Brady waiting in the wings, it would be surprising if we ever see Kronholm suit up for the Fire again.
Focus on Next Season?
FiveThirtyEight has the Fire’s odds to make the playoffs at four percent. Does that mean Wicky is turning a page to next season?
Here’s what he said:
“Of course we are looking a little bit ahead and we are planning a little bit ahead and we are obviously analyzing and seeing what do we need to make the next step, what does this team need to make the next step.
“But we have talks about that and thoughts about that, of course. That’s our job to do, as well. But mainly I’m focused on the right now. There are still quite a lot of games to play and those are very important games right now.
“I can just assure you that I am focused on the next game. I want to win the next game. Our chances are still there. We know where we are at the table. We see the table. But our chances are still there intact, and so that’s how I’m planning. Other thoughts I don’t really have right now of how it would be in four, five, six weeks or whatever. I’m not thinking that far ahead.”