By TYLER DAY
The Chicago Fire began their third leg of training camp Wednesday in South Carolina, where they will take part in the Carolina Challenge Cup for the third-consecutive season. They will play two MLS clubs, Houston Dynamo on Saturday and Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday, Feb. 23. They will also square off against USL-PRO side Charleston Battery on Wednesday.
Ahead of the tournament, head coach Frank Klopas spoke with reporters about the
state of the team just two weeks before the season opener.
“I’m trying to compare last year at this point where we were with the team, and I
feel like we’re ahead,” Klopas said. “I think it helps a lot that we had the base of the
team from the beginning of the season.”
The Fire brought a few extra trial players to Charleston, including former Premier
League defender Pascal Chimbonda and Brazilian center-back Leo Lelis.
One player not in training is Chicago-native Victor Pineda, still recovering from an
offseason meniscus tear. Doctors performed a more complex surgery than initially
anticipated, but Klopas mentioned, “Doing that procedure was a lot better for him
Klopas hopes Pineda will start running when the team returns from Charleston, but
did not put a timetable on his return.
When asked whether the team will go after any more signings, Klopas said, “We are
pretty close to where we want to be.”
He praised the teams depth, which helps with “healthy competition” in camp. He
hinted at signing some of the players already in camp and making decisions on them
soon, adding, “I’m just talking about guys you probably already know about.”
The Fire open their season March 3 against the MLS Cup Champion
LA Galaxy. Their home opener is the following Saturday at home against the New