Chicago Fire

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

No timeline, but Fire “optimistic” Schweinsteiger will return

Leave a comment

Bastian Schweinsteiger‘s first season in MLS was a success, propelling the Chicago Fire back into the playoffs and possibly earning Best XI status.

[ MORE: Pulisic “depressed” after World Cup failure ]

It’s no surprise that Chicago general manager Nelson Rodriguez would be thrilled to have the ex-Bayern Munich metronome back in the fold for next season, and Rodriguez was asked about the prospects of such a move.

From MLSSoccer.com:

“We remain optimistic that Basti and we will reach a mutually satisfactory agreement and that he will return,” said the Fire’s GM. “I won’t put a timeline on it. I think Basti has proven his importance to our club and to our team and that remains a priority to bring him back.”

Schweinsteiger, 33, scored three times and added two assists in 24 MLS matches this season. Here’s hoping he does indeed return for a return engagement. His 8.3 long balls per game led the Fire, and only a pair of goalkeepers and stellar Atlanta center back Leandro Gonzalez Pirez averaged more than “Schweiny.”

MLS: Mihailovic suffered ACL tear, RBNY purchases Murillo contract

USA Today Sports
Leave a comment

While the play on the field Wednesday night was exciting, there was also plenty of news not pertaining to the matches that transpired.

Following the Chicago Fire’s brutal defeat to the New York Red Bulls in the MLS Cup Playoffs, the club also learned that Homegrown midfielder Djordje Mihailovic will be sidelined for quite some time.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

The 18-year-old suffered an ACL tear to his right knee on Wednesday night during the second half of the Fire’s match. The club confirmed Mihailovic’s injury status on Thursday.

In his first season with the team, Mihailovic appeared in 17 matches for Veljko Paunovic’s side.


The Red Bulls have reportedly finalized the purchase for Panamanian defender Michael Amir Murillo’s contract.

WFAN’s Glenn Crooks reported the news on Wednesday following the Red Bulls’ 4-0 win over the Fire in the first round of the MLS Cup Playoffs.

Murillo joined the club this season on loan from San Francisco FC — who plays in Panama’s top flight. Including the playoffs, Murillo has appeared in 18 matches for the Jesse Marsch’s squad, starting in 16 of them and scoring two goals.


Finally, the Colorado Rapids appear close to hiring their next manager.

[ MORE: RSL hands manager Mike Petke a three-year extension ]

Club sporting director Padraig Smith said on Wednesday that the team is “in the final stages” of determining the Rapids’ coach for the 2018 season.

“Well what I can tell you is we’re very close,” Smith told The Vic Lombardi Show. “We’re in the final stages, and I think that’s what we’re very, very excited about right now.

“I think if we take this back, we spoke at the very outset that we were going to conduct the most comprehensive search that this club ever has done, to try to identify not just the right coach but the right person for this club, to bring us forward. There’s no doubt we’ve left no stone unturned here.”

Long-time player, turned manager, Pablo Mastroeni was fired during the 2017 season, with Steve Cooke replacing the former USMNT midfielder for the remainder of the campaign.

FOLLOW LIVE – Chicago, Vancouver host MLS Cup Playoff openers

twitter.com/ChicagoFire
Leave a comment

Chicago’s surprising resurgence and Vancouver’s last day let down provide the backdrop for home sides of Wednesday’s first round of the MLS Cup Playoffs.

The Fire, led by Veljko Paunovic, went from playoff afterthought to Eastern Conference three seed ahead of Wednesday’s visit from New York Red Bulls.

[ FOLLOW: MLS first round scores, play-by-play ]

RBNY had an up-and-down season, but their playoff experience and veteran mettle give little reason to believe they’re an underdog short of playing the visitors’ role.

That one kicks off somewhere after 8:30 p.m. ET, two hours before the Whitecaps of Vancouver host sixth-seed San Jose Earthquakes.

The Caps will have to rebound from dipping out of the West’s No. 1 seed on Sunday, and tangle with a San Jose side riding the emotional high of a playoff spot clinching, final gasp defeat of Minnesota United on Decision Day.

Follow @NicholasMendola

MLS Cup Playoffs: Atlanta hosts Crew, Whitecaps take on Earthquakes

Twitter/@MassiveReport
Leave a comment

34 rounds of MLS action are in the books, and now the real fun is set to begin this week.

The MLS Cup Playoffs have arrived, and 12 teams are firmly in the running to hoist a trophy in December.

[ MORE: PST talks to Justin Meram ahead of the Crew’s playoff run ]

While Toronto FC, New York City FC, the Seattle Sounders and the Portland Timbers will each have the opportunity to watch the first round from their homes, the action all starts on Wednesday and Thursday.

Here’s a look at what to expect when the knockout round begins.

Chicago Fire vs. New York Red Bulls — Wednesday, 8:30 p.m. ET

The Fire were one of the most intriguing stories for much of the regular season, but Veljko Paunovic’s side enters the postseason limping. Lucky for them, the Red Bulls have been just as inconsistent throughout the course of 2017 — which already saw Jesse Marsch’s club lose in the U.S. Open Cup final.

Paunovic and Co. have lost eight of their last 15 matches, which doesn’t bode well entering the home stretch of the schedule. Meanwhile, the Red Bulls have won just two of their last 10 matches. The Harrison side should be well-rested though for Wednesday’s encounter after starting a mostly second-tier squad in Sunday’s season finale against D.C. United.

Vancouver Whitecaps vs. San Jose Earthquakes — Wednesday, 10:30 p.m. ET

The Whitecaps looked to be a sure-fire club destined for a bye in the first round, but things didn’t fall their way on Decision Day. Now, Carl Robinson’s side faces an Earthquakes side that is simply unpredictable.

The Quakes have the second-worst road record in the Western Conference when it comes to acquiring points — holding eight in points 17 matches. However, Chris Leitch has instilled a new-found belief amongst the squad that gives the California side a puncher’s chance.

Atlanta United vs. Columbus Crew — Thursday, 7 p.m. ET

These two sides haven’t met since July 1, so all bets are off about these teams knowing one another. Since that point, Atlanta and Columbus have been two of the hottest sides in MLS and the former moved into a new stadium — which has given opposing sides quite the difficult time.

In their last 10 matches combined, the clubs boast just one loss, which Atlanta suffered at home against Minnesota United. There’s no reason not to expect a great one at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Houston Dynamo vs. Sporting KC — Thursday, 9:30 p.m. ET

Peter Vermes’ Sporting KC side enters the playoffs winless in their last five, while their counterparts are unbeaten in six. The MLS postseason is often about which team is in the best form at the right particular moment, and right now, it doesn’t look like Sporting KC has luck on their side.

It’s also hard to not pay attention to the fact that the Dynamo have lost just once at BBVA Compass Stadium in 2017, which came on September 9 against the Colorado Rapids.

MLS: FCD really missed the playoffs; LA finish dead last

Photo credit: Houston Dynamo / Twitter: @HoustonDynamo
Leave a comment

FC Dallas 5-1 LA Galaxy

The standings: FC Dallas finish 7th in the West; LA Galaxy finish bottom of the West, and all of MLS

The game: It was too little, too late for FC Dallas, who on Sunday managed just their second win during the months of August, September and October. That’s a stretch of 15 games which saw last year’s Supporters’ Shield winners tumble out of the West’s playoff places and ultimately finish seventh, behind the San Jose Earthquakes on the wins tiebreaker. Roland Lamah scored twice on the day, to go with single tallies from Mauro Diaz, Matt Hedges and Michael Barrios. Oscar Pareja’s side began the season with treble aspirations for a second straight season (the Hoops also won the U.S. Open Cup in 2016), but will be watching this year’s playoffs from the comfort of their own couches. On the other hand, 2017 could have been worse — say, FCD could have been LA, who finished last in MLS for the first time ever. Sigi Schmid, should he remain in the job next season, has quite the rebuilding task on his hands. Let us not forget: LAFC arrive in March.

[ MORE: MLS at Week 34 — it all comes down to this ]

The goals

2′ — Cian heads home an early opener Things started brightly for LA.

37′ — Lamah gets a lucky bounce, pulls FCD level — Right place, right time for Lamah, who’s endured quite the rough first season in MLS.

41′ — Hedges cleans up the mess, and it’s 2-1 — Clement Diop couldn’t hold on after making the initial save, and Matt Hedges was more than ready for the rebound.

49′ — Lamah makes it 3-1 — The rout has officially begun.

68′ — Barrios adds to LA’s misery with a fourth — LA’s 2017 season was over in May (maybe June, if we’re being kind). Every one of these defenders is on a beach right now.

73′ — Diaz makes it 5-1 from the spot — The season just will not end for LA.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Roland Lamah

Goalscorers: Cian (2′), Lamah (37′, 49′), Hedges (41′), Barrios (68′) Diaz (73′ – PK)


Houston Dynamo 3-0 Chicago Fire

The standings: Dynamo clinch the West’s 4-seed; Fire clinch the East’s 3-seed

The game: No one wanted to win the West, just like no one ever really wanted to claim a home game in the knockout round. In the end, the Houston Dynamo beat Sporting Kansas City to the 4-seed and the right to host the two sides’ opening-round game this week. Leonardo, Romell Quioto and Mauro Manotas bagged the goals for Wilmer Cabrera’s side which finishes the regular season unbeaten in its last six game (three wins). Chicago, recently resurgent, lose for just the second time in eight games, but in doing so fail to take advantage of New York City FC’s Decision Day draw with Columbus Crew SC. A win would have sent Chicago second in the East, allowing them a week’s rest and preparation before the start of the conference semifinals. Instead, they’ll host the New York Red Bulls this week.

[ MORE: MLS at Week 34 — it all comes down to this ]

The goals

2′ — Leonardo heads home from a long throw — They don’t have to be pretty (especially on Decision Day), which is good, because this one was anything but.

68′ — Quioto goes it alone to make it 2-0 — At some point, someone should probably drag Quioto to the ground rather than let him carry the ball 40 yards into the penalty area. It never happened, and Richard Sanchez couldn’t make the save.

75′ — Manotas adds the insurance a few minutes later — Andrew Wenger’s cross found Manotas at the back post, and the finish was easy for the Colombian.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Leonardo

Goalscorers: Leonardo (2′), Quioto (68′), Manotas (75′)