September 1, 2012
ON THE MEND
Pause could return to Fire lineup Sunday against Houston
Chicago Fire captain Logan Pause could make his return to the team's lineup as early as Sunday's home game against the Houston Dynamo (6:00 pm).
|Logan Pause has resumed training after suffering broken ribs and a punctured lung in a 3-1 road win over Philadelphia on August 12.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Pause practiced with the team this week and has been listed on the team injury report as questionable for Sunday's game. The Fire midfielder suffered fractured ribs in the team's 3-1 win over the Philadelphia Union on August 12. The original timeline for his getting back with the team was 4-6 weeks.
The Dynamo and the Fire have been evenly matched this season, playing to a 1-1 draw on April 15 and a scoreless tie on July 3, and are both straddling the playoff dividing line, with the ground constantly shifting in the tightly bunched Eastern Conference. The Dynamo come into the game with an 11-6-9 record and 42 points. The Fire are 12-8-5 with 41 points. But Columbus, with their 2-1 win over Montreal on Saturday, moved to 42 points as well, and ahead of the Fire on the table with 33 total goals scored. DC United, 1-0 losers to RSL, are 12-10-5 with 41 points.
The Fire saw a three-game winning streak end on August 22, with a 4-2 loss to DC United, but have had time to rest and recover before resuming their league schedule this weekend. Before the short break, Sherjill MacDonald seemed to be finding a rhythm with his new teammates, collecting his second MLS assist during the loss at RFK Stadium.
After going more than two months without an assist, Marco Pappa had two assists in the last three games, contributing to the Fire’s opening goal against DC, but was then transferred ahead of schedule to Holland’s SC Heerenveen, a move which is expected to give former Seattle Sounder Alvaro Fernandez a more prominent role for the remainder of the season, as well as open up salary cap room for the team.
The Dynamo have held their own through the season to date in their usual workmanlike fashion, with Brad Davis setting the table on set pieces and second-year forward Will Bruin scoring enough to stay in contention for the MLS Golden Boot. Davis, however, has been ill and was originally listed as unavailable for Sunday’s match, although his name had been removed from Friday’s injury report. Former Fire forward Calen Carr has contributed some key goals, Macoumba Kandji is dangerous if inconsistent up front, Brian Ching brings experience off the bench, and the team has made some high-impact late signings in midfielders Boniek Garcia, Ricardo Clark and Englishman Giles Barnes.