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Chicago Fire Notebook: Gaga survives, Czichos arrives, and the team leaves Orlando

Fire training camp shifts to Austin, Texas next week

Gabriel Slonina warms up for the USMNT before the USMNT-Honduras game in St. Paul, MN
Shivant Krishnan

Chicago Fire goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina wrapped up his time with the United States Men’s National Team Wednesday night without earning a cap. The U.S. beat Honduras 3-0 in what was likely one of the coldest soccer matches ever played, finishing the international break with six points out of a possible nine heading into the final round of qualifying matches next month.

It was the 17-year-old’s first time in camp with the full men’s national team, but it will almost assuredly not be his last.

Orlando, Over and Out

The rest of Gaga’s Fire teammates wrap up the Orlando portion of training camp with a closed door scrimmage today. They’ll fly back to Chicago after the scrimmage, before heading to Austin, Texas on Sunday for three preseason tune up matches:

Feb. 12 – Chicago Fire FC vs. Toronto FC at St. David’s Performance Center (11:00 a.m. CT)

Feb. 16 – Chicago Fire FC vs. FC Dallas at St. David’s Performance Center (11:00 a.m. CT)

Feb. 19 – Chicago Fire FC vs. Austin FC at St. David’s Performance Center (12:00 p.m. CT)

Rafael Czichos joins the group

After Covid-induced visa delays, new Fire centerback Rafael Czichos was finally able to join his new teammates in Orlando this week.

“We certainly would have liked to have him here from the start of the preseason, but it is what it is,” head coach Ezra Hendrickson said. “We have to deal with the situation and make the most of it. But the thing is that he’s here now.”

Czichos, who joined the Fire from FC Köln in the Bundesliga, is expected to slide into the left sided centerback slot. The German should be a significant upgrade over last season’s starter Francisco Calvo, who has signed with the San Jose Earthquakes.

New Kit Update

Despite what Footy Headlines incorrectly reported this week, the Fire’s plan for kits in 2022 remains the same: There will be a new, navy home kit in 2022. The white away “lakefront” kit will remain this season, but with the new crest in the place of the Fire Crown. There’s no word yet on a primary shirt sponsor for this season.

While there’s no scheduled release date on the home kit just yet, you’d have to expect it’s coming soon, with the home opener a month away.