Already without field general Dax McCarty while he prepares for the CONCACAF Gold Cup, the Chicago Fire also were minus the services of Bastian Schweinsteiger during their 2-2 road draw with the Portland Timbers Wednesday night.
Schweinsteiger did not make the trip to Portland -- where he memorably received his first taste of MLS in the 2014 All-Star Game while with Bayern Munich -- after sustaining hip pain in the first half of Chicago's 4-0 win over Vancouver Saturday at Toyota Park.
It was the first league match missed by Schweinsteiger since debuting for the Fire back on April 1. The German legend -- who is due to be re-evaulated following the five days vacation allotted the entire team -- shared his good wishes for his teammates via social media shortly before the start of the game.
There was further squad rotation after the opening whistle, as the Fire on Wednesday were forced to make a first-half substitution due to injury for a second straight game. Matt Polster exited the game in the 34th minute with a leg contusion, but his role at right back was ably assumed by Homegrown product Drew Conner.
"I think that having the depth and the guys that are waiting for their opportunity," said head coach Veljko Paunovic, "always ready and when they get the opportunity, they can show that they are ready. It’s very important for the team.”
Even anticipating the loss of two key central midfielders for the trip to the Rose City, Paunovic said after the match he did not need to dramatically alter his prematch tactics.
“Important absences for us, but also very important, showing up and stepping up the guys who had an opportunity to play today," he said. "That’s something we were preaching from the start that everyone has to work and wait for the opportunity to come and be ready. That’s the best possible approach. Today, everyone showed that they were ready and engaged."