Fire Notebook: Brown questions team’s mentality, injuries pile up and more

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By ANTHONY ZILIS

It was 90 degrees at the Chicago Fire's practice on Tuesday at Toyota Park, and maybe that contributed to a lackluster attitude.

Or maybe it was the loss to Columbus on Saturday, when the Fire gave up two goals while scoring one of its own (on an own goal) in the span of only a few minutes.

Or it could have been the fact that the Fire have underachieved all season.

Regardless of the reason, C.J. Brown said the Fire's mentality has to improve when they step on the Toyota Park Field Thursday night to play Real Salt Lake.

"I would say mentally it hasn't been as good as it should be," Brown said. "I think this week in training, the design of training was set up right. The attitude just hasn't been that great. Hopefully we come out tomorrow focused and ready to play a very good team."

The Fire head into Thursday's primetime game in 10th place in Major League Soccer, two points behind Toronto and San Jose for the final playoff spot.

Whether it's been a turnover in their roster, injuries to key players like John Thorrington, Justin Mapp and now Patrick Nyarko, or another reason, the Fire have struggled to find consistency this season.

"It's never easy to lose games, and some of the goals that we've given up, as a collective group we could have prevented them," midfielder Logan Pause said.

But Pause doesn't see the same mental issues that Brown has seen.

"Mentally we're fine. It's tough to drop points," he said. "If we would've won last weekend, we would've been in striking distance of Columbus. That's the way the league is. A couple games here and there and it can really change a whole lot of things."

The Fire didn't lose in June but have dropped points, at times, late in games, and some players feel as if Saturday's game slipped away.

Still, they're in the thick of the playoff race with over half of the season left, and head coach Carlos de los Cobos needs his team to look ahead, not behind.

"When you don't have a good result, you need to try to think in the future. These guys are making a very big effort. Sometimes we don't get the result that we want," de los Cobos said. "They have a very good attitude all of the time but they are a little sad. We need to push these guys and think about the opportunity tomorrow, to win against a very big team … and strengthen our confidence."

Still, as he stood outside Wednesday's sweltering heat, Brown was steadfast that his team hasn't had the attitude it needs to have.

"I've voiced my opinions," he said. "But at the end of the day we're all grown men. You come in and you've got to learn to focus yourself. The leaders on this team are pushing for that, but guys have to do it themselves."

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INJURY REPORT

  • Nyarko was held out of practice with a concussion and likely won't play Thursday. Brian McBride will also be held out of the starting lineup.
  • Dasan Robinson will be a game-time decision.
  • Mapp should be on the gameday roster and may be a game-time decision.
  • Collins John has returned to training, but is still working on his fitness level and won't start Thursday.
  • Thorrington and Calen Carr have been running during practice, but no realistic timetable has been set for their return from muscle tears.
  • De los Cobos said Tim Ward is "very close to returning," but won't play tomorrow.

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WHITE'S TRIAL ENDS WITHOUT DEAL

Jeremiah White's two-week trial ended with the Fire, and it doesn't look like he'll be in a Fire uniform anytime soon.

Fire technical director Frank Klopas hinted that White's contract demands were unrealistic for the team.

"Everybody's got to be realistic with their demands based on our league," he said. "You got to have confidence in yourself as a player. He's definitely looking at this league but he feels like there's opportunities with him still to be somewhere in Europe … We'll see where that goes."

The Fire were also impressed with Serbian midfielder Bratislav Ristić, but it's unclear whether he'll join the club.

"Ristić is a good player, he's an experienced player," Klopas said. "I thought he did well. He's definitely a guy we're interested in."

Klopas also glossed over the Fire's designated player situation as the transfer window sets to open, commenting that the Fire may still be looking at Cuauhtémoc Blanco, and that many of the players he is looking at play in leagues that end in the fall.

"All options are open," he said. "Every decision that the organization makes, it's about, can we make our team better. Now and next year."

Klopas jokingly added that he wasn’t able to acquire Lionel Messi from Barcelona.

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12 Responses to Fire Notebook: Brown questions team’s mentality, injuries pile up and more

  1. Brian S. says:

    I hope Jeremiah White finds a club soon. I’ve always liked him and thought Bradley should’ve given him more of a look.

  2. Aaron in StL says:

    Oh man…is SBI going bigtime like ESPN (ESPN NYC, ESPN LA, etc…)?

  3. BSU SC says:

    I agree. But I wonder what the “unrealistic demands” were. Jeremiah White needs to prove himself in MLS before he’s given the keys to the castle.

    Still, I thought he would have been a welcome addition to our World Cup squad over Robbie Findley.

  4. sal says:

    We haven’t been underachieving this season. We just plain suck.

  5. Adriano says:

    De Los Cobos killed the team.

    No intensity, terrible player selection for games, and dropping our best players/leaders has been only a part of what he has done to us.

    Get rid of him.

  6. Juna Carlos Osorio, Super Genius says:

    There is only oneman who can fix this team. Fortunately, my wife LOVES Chicago!

    Now, let’s see.. a 4-5-1. McBride at left back…hmmmmm

  7. The lack of finishing is haunting me.

    Having to go to tonight’s game with the possibility of no Nyarko/Mapp/McBride? There goes any creativity and scoring..

    Not that Nyarko can shoot. I swear his shot is worse than bad guys in old Western movies.

  8. Der Sting says:

    de los Cobos brought in a system which does not fit with the current roster. He brings in 2 players that cannot cut it in MLS, Managament brings in trialist after trialist, it shows a lack of confidence they have for the current team. The period for the coach to settle in with the team has passed, he does not have it. Look at the teams body language, it lacks confidence. It kills me to see the Red Bulls on the rise, while the Fire declines in disarray…

    “We have a very small roster and don’t have too much on the bench,” de los Cobos said.

    Way to motivate Coach!!

  9. AQK says:

    forget the lack of any forward under 36 and any central midfielder…the absence of Thorrington has as much to do with the Fire’s poor season than does De Los Cobos.

    Logan Pause should take some lessons from Kyle “420” Beckerman tonight.

  10. Your Pal, JCO says:

    Logan Pause would be an excellent goalkeeper. I will bring in Juan Pietrevallo to steady the midfield.

    I need to buy a new notebook.

  11. inkedAG says:

    And I remember when Chicago fans were PISSED when Juan Carlos left for NY. Look how that all turned out.

    Though I think the Fire would be have been where they are now if they had good ol JCO.