Feb 17, 2013, 3:15 PM EDT
There are lots of reasons to like Chicago this year. The midfield is improved over late last year, especially by the presence of Jeff Larentowicz, who is having an outstanding preseason.
In the central defensive pairing of Arne Friedrich and Austin Berry the Fire have an ideal blend of young talent guided by veteran know-how. Attacking leader Chris Rolfe gets the full benefit of preseason training that he didn’t have a year back.
Young goalkeeper Sean Johnson, about to begin his fourth season as a starter, is getting to the point where we can’t call him “young goalkeeper” anymore.
But there are also other pieces falling into place, like Logan Pause’s changing role.
Injuries are out there over a 9-month season. Believe it. Every team could use versatile men who can fill in ably at several positions, with precious little drop in experience, guile and ability. Pause is demonstrating the ability to be a valuable utility knife for Fire manager Frank Klopas.
Pause, 31, has been a steady starter for Chicago since 2003. His assignment has almost always been at holding midfielder. This year, with Larentowicz and Joel Lindpere brought in to man the center of Toyota Park, Pause has been shifted out to right back.
Saturday, as the Fire defeated Houston to open the annual Carolina Challenge Cup, Pause added yet another option for Klopas, displaying his work at left back.
Fire left back Gonzalo Segares left the match after 30 minutes with an ankle injury. Pause, the Fire captain, had started on the right but shuffled ably across the field as Jalil Anibaba came on to the play the right side.
Anibaba and Pause are competing for starter duty on the right side of Chicago’s back line. (Veteran trialist Pascal Chimbonda could have a say, too, if the Fire find reason to sign the former Spurs, Wigan and Blackburn right back.)
But if Pause can work along the right or left, not to mention providing an emergency chute for Klopas in the holding midfield spot – or an option during busy stretches – that becomes a tremendous value for Klopas and the Fire.
- Anyone else think Bayern Munich is playing dirty? 4
- With PSG willing to match Wayne Rooney’s wages, Manchester United has somebody to bail them out 3
- Looking at the United States’ roster ahead of their Canada rematch 1
- A stadium for New York City FC – tougher than you think 8
- Claudio Reyna announced as New York City FC Director of Football 0
- Bigger impact on U.S. soccer growth: David Beckham or Pele? (35)
- It’s official: Manchester City and the Yankees will own and operate Major League Soccer’s newest expansion team. (35)
- Why MLS was so focused on New York as the 20th market (17)
- Notes from today’s big announcement on MLS, NYCFC the Yankees and the rest (14)
- Landon Donovan and a Gold Cup squeeze? He deserves better (9)
- Lochte says Phelps will return soon
- Tebow fact: He reminds Chuck Norris of Chuck Norris
- LeBron stuns Pacers with OT winner in Game 1
- HBT: Astros vendor fired after taking food into bathroom
- PHT: Avs name Hall of Famer Roy as head coach
- Pens overwhelm Sens, take 3-1 series lead
- Tiger calls Sergio's comments inappropriate, hurtful