Anyway. Today it's the Chicago Fire. Named after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, this particular Major League Soccer team joined the league for the 1998 season, won the MLS Cup in their first year, and is named after a horrific disaster which killed hundreds of Chicagoans. So a lot of history there.
The Vancouver Whitecaps are in Chicago on yet another trip for yet another crack at soccer supremacy. For those keeping score at home: they played on April 23 in Vancouver, flew to Montreal to play the Impact on April 27, flew to Columbus to play the Crew on April 30, flew to Vancouver to take on Montreal again on May 4, are now in Chicago to play the Fire, and will promptly fly back to San Jose for a mid-week game this coming Wednesday. That's a lot of Aeroplan miles.
Of course, in this stretch they've lost twice, drawn once, and won once. That ain't no holy hell but it ain't bad either: only the game against FC Dallas really stands out as a ninety-minute expansion team stinker to boot. They're not doing dreadfully, and let's hope they manage something less-than-dreadful against the unimpressive fire.
Best of all, as they return to health, the Whitecaps can count on more fitness and endurance than ever. Without further ado, your game day news and notes.
Definitely Out For Sure:
- Jay DeMerit and his groin are still on the long-termed injured list. There's no official prognosis for his return date.
- Atiba Harris is also still recovering from knee surgery. He, too, has no officially timetabled return.
- Michael Nanchoff and his groin, neither of whom have yet to appear in a game this season, or on the bench, or for that matter in public, also remain in Vancouver where they dip into increasing obscurity broken only by guys like me mentioning they're still hurt.
- Former Chicago Fire midfield master John Thorrington will take no part in affairs today; he's still working on getting back into shape from a quadriceps injury.
May Play (Or May Not Play):
The most concern is of course over forward Eric Hassli. Hassli left the Montreal Impact game at half with a spiked knee and a ringing head; Teitur Thordarson said after the game that he was worried Hassli had a concussion but that no longer seemed likely. There's been no official word on Hassli since then and he's with the team in Chicago.
I'm inclined to say that no news is good news and Eric will play; Marc Weber reports that Teitur Thordarson feels the same way. If not, we'll see what happens but my money's on Omar Salgado coming in. Still, Hassli wasn't exactly a wreck when he came out against Montreal and it just looked precautionary. Fingers crossed.
- Jeb Brovsky continues to recover well from a sprained ankle, to the point where I'm reluctant to list him in this report at all. Unless we hear something else, this is his last appearance. Godspeed!
Other News from Whitecaps World:
- In what I might have to start calling "Women's Whitecaps Corner", the weekly news of additions to the W-League roster for 2011: the team has re-signed defender Erin Ucharz, midfielder Nicole Setterlund, and midfielder/striker Abigail Raymer, as well as signing forwards Nahiomy Ortiz and Jen Stoltenberg. All except Stoltenberg are Canadian and have been involved in the youth national teams; Stoltenberg is from California and was a second-round pick of Philadelphia in last winter's WPS Entry Draft.
- As ever, the Vancouver Southsiders will be taking in today's away game at Doolin's Irish Pub on Nelson between Granville and Seymour. The Vancouver Canucks are playing an NHL game at pretty close to the same time so, um, that'll be interesting. Let me know how it goes.