Chicago Fire coach Denis Hamlett
has had to use his entire roster this year, including his youngest players, to survive a busy schedule, unexpected
departures, and a backlog of injuries. "I think our young guys this year have stepped up to the challenge," Hamlett said. "Given the fact of the injuries and all of the games we have had, they have
played important games and important minutes and have been able to develop well."
Without a reserve team, the Fire used its reserves to fill in for missing starters in league games.
On defense, the Fire suffered injuries to Tim Ward
, Wilman Conde
. All-star center back Bakary Soumare
moved to France. To fill these places, the Fire used 25-year-old Dasan
(eight starts), 24-year-old Austin Washingto
n (four starts) and 25-year-old (as of Tuesday) Mike
, a converted midfielder (seven starts). Daniel Woolard
, 25, also had four starts but himself been injured much of the season. In the middle,
the Fire "discovered" 24-year-old Peter Lowry
and used 22-year-old first-round draft pick Baggio Husidic
when Cuauhtemoc Blanco
, Logan Pause
and John Thorrington
missed games due to call-ups or
injury. Lowry has eight starts and Husidic four. Up top, 23-year-old Patrick Nyarko
became a starter immediately when Chris
suffered a training camp ailment. He has 21 starts. The Fire has also used forwards Calen Carr
(10 appearances) and Stefan Dimitrov
(seven games, one start).
The Fire, 10-7-12, sits on the verge of securing a playoff spot this season. Next season, the team expects to lose a number
of its most consistent players. Rolfe is already gone, as he has completed his transfer to Denmark. Brian McBride,
Marco Pappa, Segares and Blanco are all
uncertain to return. Despite these losses, however, the Fire should have some experienced young players ready to fill the voids.
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