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Chicago Fire Notebook: Shaqiri still “day-to-day,” LA Galaxy’s Chicharito gets philosophical

Plus: more Fire news ahead of Saturday’s big matchup with the Galaxy

Xherdan Shaqiri
Chicago Fire FC

The biggest question heading into Saturday’s showdown between the Chicago Fire and LA Galaxy has to be this: Will Xherdan Shaqiri’s massive left calf be healthy in time to play?

“We will see,” Shaqiri said in a media availability this week. “We are day-to-day, but there is a possibility to be on the pitch.”

After returning from international duty with Switzerland, Shaqiri came out of the April 2 matchup with Sporting Kansas City after just 19 minutes, and did not play in last weekend’s 1-0 loss to Orlando City. Tests showed the injury was nothing serious—just tightness—but the Fire are still being careful with their star designated player.

With a crowd of more than 27,000 fans expected to be at Soldier Field for the star studded matchup, Fire head coach Ezra Hendrickson no doubt feels the pressure to get Shaqiri on the pitch, if possible.

“It’s something that we don’t want to rush, so we’re going to be very patient with that as far as that decision goes,” Hendrickson said.

Other Fire Injuries: Fabian Herbers is also day-to-day with a right hip injury, but Rafael Czichos and Miguel Navarro are both back healthy and ready to play against the Galaxy, Hendrickson said.

Offensive Woes

While the Fire’s defense has been absolutely stellar, allowing a league-best two goals through six games, the offense has yet to click. The Fire have scored just five goals through six games, which is tied for worst in MLS.

Shaqiri has a team-high 12 key passes this season, but has just one goal, which came from the penalty spot. New striker Kacper Przybylko has just two goals—both of which came in the match against Sporting Kansas City. If the team will indeed make a playoff push this season, the attack will have to dramatically improve.

“We are training every day hard to improve ourselves and still also defensively and offensively,” Shaqiri said. “So we try in the next games, obviously, to create, first of all, more chances and then also to try to finish off the chances and to score more goals because goals decide games, goals decide titles, and so on. So, we need to start scoring goals, too. This is part of the game and very important to win games.”

Xherdan Shaqiri graces the side of a CTA bus in a new ad from the Fire

Chicharito on Life and Happiness

I mentioned this Wednesday on Twitter, but the Sun-Times’ Brian Sandalow asked one of Saturday’s opponents, LA Galaxy forward Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, about how he deals with celebrity and pressure, and Chicharito went deep—talking for the next several minutes about life, happiness, death, our value as humans, and more.

“I think around three years ago, I think that situation completely [changed] — I had a mindset before, and I’m going to speak about the one that I’m in right now. It’s just being me. You know something, and people [are] not going to believe, I ask for myself way more than people ask about me.

So I don’t have any pressure, I don’t have nothing. It’s just sound and energy that I try to manipulate in a very positive way in my favor to transform it into anything I want. If I want to transform it in fear, in pressure, in doubt, that’s going to happen. Or it could be motivation, it could be gratefulness, it could be just a confirmation that I’m giving my best every single day.

Honestly, man, I don’t feel as a celebrity. I always speak about that. It’s like money, fame, and other stuff are just tools in this life, and every single tool sometimes is going to help you, sometimes is going to bring you more obstacles and more situations.

People think that, when you get famous and you get money, your life is so fun. They don’t know that we’re all humans and we all have our questions and we all have our problems and we all need to deal with a lot of stuff. So we’re all humans in the end.

We shouldn’t be measured about fame, about celebrities, about a lot of stuff. I understand why, but I mean, we’re all humans in the end, and I’m just doing my job that I’m very passionate about it, that I love it.

That doesn’t mean that I have more value than you guys, for example, that are behind the camera who make the questions or these guys who are here filming. We’re all humans, and we all have our value. I don’t compare myself to anyone, I’m just myself. We all are unique. We all are special. We all have greatness in ourselves. We all have demons in our mental health, so we all are dealing with different situations.

I don’t like to compare myself to anything. So about that celebrity, honestly, man, I don’t even feel sometimes I’m a soccer player because I come and I play and I do something that I even eat inside my belly of my mom, even soccer is my whole life, it’s been everything. So the message that I changed is just self love and just acceptance and it’s just like I’m not perfect, no one is perfect.

I have my life. I have my shadow, I have things that I’m proud of and things I need to control so I don’t decide wrong in the path of my life I want to walk. It’s not simple. It’s not easy.

That’s another message that I want to say. People think that problems get solved with fame and with money. Yeah, the problems you have in that moment probably get solved, but you attract way bigger problems because you have more responsibility and you are in a different level of responsibility.

But for me, it’s just I have one life, man. The only certainty that we all have in common is that we are just going to exist once, we’re going to die, hopefully later than sooner, but eventually we’re going to do, and we should just come here and give our best, enjoy it, try to grow, and have every single time good intentions.

Mistakes are going to happen. We learn from them. We just need to enjoy life. Sorry I went [long], but I love this subject, as you can see.

Obviously the weekend is very important, but obviously life has more meaning than just coming here and scoring goals.”

That’s a deep, impressive answer. As a U.S. fan, I’ve hated Chicharito on the field for years, but it’s hard not to admire him as a human.