Gonzalo Segares, Bratislav Ristic and the rest of the Fire begin phase two of preseason in Ave Maria

Off To Florida


Chicago Fire players, coaches and staff flew to Florida early Monday morning to begin the second stage of their preseason training program.

The Fire, who spent the better part of the last two weeks practicing at an indoor facility just outside Chicago, will train and play five friendly matches until their stay at Ave Maria University ends on Feb. 26.

“I’m excited,” Fire captain Logan Pause told MLSsoccer.com Monday. “I think the group is definitely ready to beat up on some other people other than ourselves.”

Chicago’s first match is this Thursday against Florida Gulf Coast University. The Fire’s biggest test of the trip will come on Feb. 23, when they’ll take on Eastern Conference rivals the New York Red Bulls in a doubleheader at Lockhart Stadium in Ft. Lauderdale.

Trialists Nate Weiss, Graham Dugoni, Pedro Chicarelli, Leonardo, Matt Glaeser and Amadou Sanyang won’t be making the trip to Florida; the club announced Monday afternoon that they were released. Eight new trialists will replace them in Florida.

Sam Stejskal covers the Chicago Fire for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at sam.h.stejskal@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @samstejskal.