Coming out of a 1-0 win against D.C. United this past weekend at Soldier Field, the Fire will look to make it two-in-a-row as they head to Houston to take on the Dynamo on Saturday night.
Ahead of the match, head coach Ezra Hendrickson spoke with the media in his usual weekly press conference, joined by defender and team captain Rafael Czichos.
Most notable among the updates was the health status of Wyatt Omsberg, who left Saturday’s match with an apparent foot injury after an 89 minute shift.
“He's going to be injured for an extended period of time,” Hendrickson said. “I can't give you a timeline right now but he's going into surgery tomorrow (Friday). It will be some time before he returns to play.”
Omsberg had been enjoying a breakout season to-date, having started a single-season career-high 14 matches and contributing to five clean sheets.
“He's been really, really good for us,” Hendrickson added. “He's been one of our most consistent players so far this year. And you know, having worked so hard to get where he finally got to, and then to have such a setback, I'm sure mentally it's going to weigh on him a little bit. But, he's a strong guy mentally and physically, and I think he will do the best he can to physically get back and then mentally stay strong.
“As a part of the defense, as my teammate next to me, he's really important for me and for the whole defense,” Czichos said of Omsberg. “I think he's been playing a really good season so far. Yeah, that he's injured now, obviously is bad for us but I think we will find a good solution to replace him.”
Hendrickson declined to say who might replace Omsberg next to Czichos on Saturday, but likely options include Carlos Terán or Jonathan Bornstein, both of whom have spent time at central defense in the past.
Alongside Omsberg’s update, Hendrickson also spoke to the statuses of midfielders Xherdan Shaqiri and Jairo Torres. Shaqiri picked up a thigh injury while away with the Switzerland Men’s National Team during the latest FIFA international window, while Torres has been nursing a lingering hip injury. Both players missed the team’s 1-0 win against D.C. United.
"Shaq all week has been working with our return-to-play guy, (Strength and Conditioning Coach) Rubén (Castro),” Hendrickson said. “He had a slight, you know, hamstring pull in his last Nations Leagues game for his national team but yes, he will be available on Saturday to play.”
“(Torres) is probably a week away, I would say, if I was to guess. But he has a tricky injury, so I would leave it at probably about a week or so before he's back and hopefully I'm right. Hopefully he's back Wednesday for the Philly game.”
Looking ahead to Saturday’s trip to Texas, triple-digit temperatures are in the forecast when the Fire take the field at PNC Stadium. For Czichos, it will be something he hasn’t yet experienced in his nearly 14 year career.
“I think it's going to be the hottest weather I have played in, so it's going to be new and difficult,” the German Bundesliga veteran said.
“I think everybody is so excited for Saturday to get back on the pitch and to get the next win,” he added. “Especially on the road, it's really important for us to get points. So we know it's going to be really difficult, especially because of the weather. It's going to be really hot out there. We are trying to get prepared as best as we can to play a good game in Houston.”
Under first-year head coach Paulo Nagamura, the Dynamo are currently in 10th place in the Western Conference with 18 points through 15 matches played. They enter the match having been defeated 2-1 by Orlando City last weekend, but saw another goal scored by Designated Player Sebastián Ferreira. So far, in his first 13 MLS matches, Ferriera has provided six goals and added three assists.
“They are a good team, a team with a first-year coach and a team trying to rebuild as we are,” Hendrickson said. “We are expecting them to come out at home. No matter where you play in this league, when teams are at home, they come out and try to protect their turf, so to speak. So we expect a good game from them.”
This weekend’s match will be nationally televised on UniMás and TUDN, with an English-language stream available on Twitter.
Following Saturday’s match, the Fire will return home for a midweek meeting against the Philadelphia Union on Wednesday, June 29. The match will additionally be the Club’s annual celebration of Pride month, which includes a special Pride-themed giveaway item and several special appearances and activities throughout the match. Tickets are available by clicking the link below.
Light up the Lakefront
Be there for Fireworks Night at Soldier Field on July 9!