Chicago Fire FC head coach Raphael Wicky has returned stateside after missing the Club's last three matches due to a family emergency in Switzerland.
Wicky spoke to the media on Wednesday to discuss the ongoing difficult situation, how he has dealt with watching the team from afar, and the Fire's upcoming match against the Philadelphia Union on Sunday night (5 pm CT on TUDN, UniMás, and Twitter).
"It was a very tough week, very emotional week," Wicky said. "But I was very happy that the Club and the team and everyone was understanding that I wanted to go home and see my family and be there for them and with them. That meant a lot to me, but it was very emotional and now I'm back, hanging in there."
The Fire coach went on to add that although the challenges are not over, he and his family decided returning to Chicago was the best decision for now.
"There wasn't much we could have done after one week and then waiting," Wicky said. "That's where we are now. I’m obviously in exchange with my family all day and all the time and we pray and hope for the best."
In Wicky's absence, Frank Klopas led the team for its last three games, a stretch that included a draw at home against D.C. United and a frustrating 2-1 defeat to Toronto FC, in which the Fire tied a club record for shots in a game with 31.
While with his family back home Switzerland, Wicky remained in close contact with his staff and followed the matches closely.
"It is way harder to be somewhere in a hotel room or in a room and watching these games on an iPad than being on the sideline," Wicky said. "You're helpless. You can't do anything. So I didn't really enjoy that, I have to say. I was obviously watching the games and of course like everyone else here I'm not happy with the results we made.
"The positive thing is that the team creates chances, that we scored a lot of goals in the last five, six games, and so that is all positive and we have to take this positive and move forward and take (it) game by game."
Following a stretch of three games in eight days, the Fire have all week to prepare for their next match -- a Sunday trip to take on the reigning Supporters' Shield winners for the third time this year. Chicago hosted the Union twice earlier this season at Soldier Field, resulting in a 2-0 defeat followed by a 3-3 draw.
"It's going to be a tough game again. We know Philly well," Wicky said. "It's always a battle against Philly. They're a very well-organized team. We respect them. But we also know that if we are well-organized, concentrated, focused, and if we finish our chances, we have possibilities to beat Philadelphia. We go with that mindset and we go with that belief."