Much like last season, the Chicago Fire’s 2023 has already been severely impacted by injuries. Xherdan Shaqiri, Federico Navarro, Jairo Torres, and numerous others have dealt with some issues, and Ezra Hendrickson doesn’t yet know which of those players he’ll be able to call upon heading into this Sunday’s match with Atlanta United. We’ll take a look at their statuses as of the midweek.
The Fire’s most expensive player returned from a month-long injury layoff when he came off the bench for a cameo against the Philadelphia Union. He looked good, and showed some quality that the Fire has been missing. However, by his own words, he’s not yet at 100%.
“I’m feeling good,” Shaqiri said after the Philadelphia match. “Not really 100 percent. I was obviously out for a few weeks, but it was good to be back with the team and good to get back on the pitch.”
Shaqiri has been participating in full team training this week and will be available for selection this weekend. It’s possible he’ll be a substitute again, a role that has suited him well throughout his career in Europe.
Navarro has been out since the opening minutes of the opening game of the season, and while it did look like he would be back for last week’s game at Soldier Field, he wasn’t able to make the squad. The decision that he wasn’t ready to return yet was made just one day before the game, and he has continued to train with the team this week.
Hendrickson says that Navarro will “probably will be featured this weekend,” and if he’s fit enough, he will definitely slot right into the lineup.
While Navarro’s return is imminent, Torres’ is not so much. The Fire’s second DP has also been out since the first half of the first game, and Fire fans will have to wait some time longer to see their Mexican midfielder in action again. Torres did train last week before the decision to keep him out was made on Thursday, but this week, the staff are less optimistic he’ll be back on Sunday.
Torres will continue to train with the team this week, and the decision will be made in the coming days, but it’s unlikely he’ll be back to face Atlanta. Nonetheless, it seems like he’ll be the starter next to Navarro in midfield when everyone is healthy, based on Hendrickson’s comments in the post-match press conference last week.
Giménez has been a starter for the Fire in the absence of Navarro and Torres, but it seems like there’s a good chance he has to play a more limited role this weekend. The TAM midfielder was pulled at halftime after he felt some pain just before the break.
The Paraguayan international has had a strong start to the season, and since the DP tag was removed heading into the year, he appears to be a much better value-for-money player. He hasn’t trained this week so far, so it’s very possible he will not be able to start this weekend, which could mark a golden opportunity for Javi Casas in midfield.
Though his first two seasons in Chicago were riddled by injuries, Terán has slowly emerged as a strong MLS center-back over the past twelve months. His pace and power have made him a great partner for Rafa Czichos, and he was voted by the fans as the man of the match last week, in spite of his second-half injury.
His substitution was just precautionary, though; the Colombian trained this week and should be back for the weekend.
The Fire’s 38-year-old veteran striker has missed training this week as he has been in concussion protocol, but it is merely precautionary and following league policy. Kamara should return to training before the end of the week, and should be available for selection on Sunday.
“I’m good,” says Kamara. “I did some work today, got on the treadmill, but it’s protocol. I’m respecting the protocol, but I feel good.”
Kamara has been good lately, but Hendrickson will still have a decision to make up top, with Giorgios Koutsias looking good in his first two substitute appearances. Missael Rodríguez has had an impressive start to 2023 in training and with Fire II and will be waiting for a well-deserved opportunity to step on the field while Kacper Przybyłko remains in the squad.