Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
MLS Closeup: Schweinsteiger settles quickly in Chicago
by Ridge Mahoney, June 15th, 2017 12:46AM
Subscribe to Soccer America Daily

TAGS:  chicago fire, mls


A barnstorming start to his MLS career has delighted his teammates, coaches and fans but not convinced Fire midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger of anything more than coming to MLS was a good decision.

Since leaving Manchester United in March to sign with the MLS club, he has started all 12 of his league appearances, scored two goals and registered four assists. He’s played a vital if not dominant role in a transformation of the Fire, which won just seven of 34 games and finished last in the Eastern Conference last season, and by beating Atlanta United, 2-0, last weekend has already surpassed that win total.

The Fire is 8-3-4 (28 points) and is just one point behind Eastern Conference front-runner and overall points leader Toronto FC.

Fire big four offseason signings:
15/15 Nemanja Nikolic (12 goals, 1 assist)
13/13 Dax McCarty (3 assists)
12/12 Bastian Schweinsteiger (3 goals, 1 assist)
10/8 Juninho (1 assist)

Speaking to Die Welt, the 32-year-old former German international said, “I'm really happy here and everything fits. The club is making progress and has helped my family and me a lot. The team wants to improve and the training staff are super. The Chicago people are also really nice and I'm having a lot of fun here. I don't know how long I'll play in the MLS, but at least this season.”

Schweinsteiger signed a one-year contract with a one-year option. For the 2017 season, he is being paid a salary of $5.4 million, which is the sixth-largest figure earned by a player according to figures released by the MLS Players’ Union. He has proven to be as versatile as he is talented.

He played as an attacking conduit early in the season, then slid to a deeper position alongside Dax McCarty when an ankle injury sidelined Juninho. He played alongside Juninho against Atlanta and among his three clearances was one from the goal area. He also provided a lot of the linking play that sent forward the Fire attacking quartet into good positions.

"Bastian is a difference-maker in terms of dictating the pace of the game, dictating the tempo of the game, setting the rhythm for the team along with myself,” McCarty told after a 1-0 defeat of D.C. United May 21. “That's our job, and that's what we try to do in possession — make the other team run, get them tired. And once gaps open up, Bastian is a guy who can find any pass on the field.

“I always know that if I'm in trouble, he'll be one showing up between the lines or around defenders because he wants the ball in hard spots. His understanding of space, time, when to play fast, when to slow the game down, it's at a different level than a lot of players I've played with.”

That level didn’t serve Schweinsteiger well at Manchester United, which he joined two years ago to play for manager Louis Van Gaal in a $10-million transfer from Bayern Munich. He had played for Van Gaal at Bayern but when the pairing was severed by the hiring of Jose Mourinho as Van Gaal’s replacement, he dropped out of the first time entirely. Banished by Mourhino, he trained with United’s U-23 squad as he and the team searched for a way out of the impasse.

Months of discussions and negotiations opened a pathway to Chicago, where his midfield presence has meshed snugly with the abilities of winger David Accam, attackers Luis Solignac and Michael de Leeuw,and striker Nemanja Nikolic, who leads MLS in goals with 12.

In just the second season under head coach Veljko Paunovic, the club has forged a team of attacking potency balanced by defensive resilience. It is unbeaten at home (7-0-1) and tied for second in goal difference at plus 9.

“Whether a player moves abroad, or specifically to the United States, it always has something to do with your character,” Schweinsteiger said. “I can only report my experiences abroad in England and Chicago have been positive. You get to know a different culture and new people. Of course, as I had never moved before it was a little strange at first. Nevertheless, I must say, I settled in Manchester very quickly and made new friends. It's just the same in Chicago.”

1 comment
  1. Ric Fonseca
    commented on: June 15, 2017 at 3:23 p.m.
    Just out of curiosity, and given the political climate we're living through, could someone please explain the immigration processes a player of Schweinsteiger must go through, i.e. doe he automatically get a "pass" to enter the country, a special H1B(???) visa, or what type/kind of migratory papers must be filed, to ensure he/she is not replacing a US citizen, or does he/she come in on a timed visa that enables him/her to work? or what???

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now



Recent Soccer America Daily
'Brilliant' Pulisic puts Borussia Dortmund on top    
Who needs Ousmane Dembele when you have Christian Pulisic? The 18-year-old American needed all of 22 ...
Video Pick: Neymar dazzles in Paris     
In his home debut for Paris Saint-Germain, Neymar scored twice, assisted twice, and earned a penalty ...
Video Pick: Tim Howard beaten by teammate    
The back pass by the Colorado Rapids' Jared Watts came low and hard from 40 yards, ...
What They're Saying: Breitbart    
"There is no evidence Mr. Podolski is either a migrant gang member, nor being human trafficked. ...
Sam Kerr sets NWSL record with four goals in a game    
A traumatic week for the NWSL's Sky Blue FC ended on a bright note as Samantha ...
Three U.S. refs head to U-17 World Cup     
U.S. referee Jair Marrufo and U.S. assistant referees Frank Anderson and Corey Rockwell have been selected ...
Lloyd nominated for top FIFA women's award    
Carli Lloyd, winner of back-to-back FIFA awards, is the lone American in the shortlist of 10 ...
What They're Saying: Michael Bradley    
"As athletes with the platform we have, with the role that we play in society, especially ...
Mexico beats USA in Concacaf U-15 Championship final     
After convincingly winning its first four games at the Concacaf U-15 Championship, the USA fell, 2-0, ...
Crowd Count: Fire sets record at Toyota Park    
The Chicago Fire drew a sellout crowd of 21,891, its largest ever at Toyota Park for ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives