• PREVIEW: SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES AT CHICAGO FIRE
With McBride out, Chicago's depth comes to the forefront
The Chicago Fire announced that forward Brian McBride had surgery Friday to repair a labral tear in his right shoulder. McBride could miss the remainder of the Major League Soccer season.
Eastern Conference-leading Chicago (6-3-7) plays its first stint without McBride on Saturday when the Fire host the San Jose Earthquakes (3-9-4) at 7:30 p.m. at Toyota Park (televised on My50).
Patrick Nyarko has been playing off the bench of late and is likely to see regular playing time with McBride out. There also is the option of pushing up midfielder Chris Rolfe. Forward Calen Carr also is working his way back into the fold.
Earlier this season, Chicago played host San Jose to a 3-all draw. Rolfe came through with an 85th-minute goal to salvage the tie.
SlideTackles.net prediction: It is a good thing that Hamlett has had SuperLiga a U.S. Open Cup match and an occasional MLS game here and there to work in some of the other players. Not only is Chicago without its leading goal scorer in McBride. But defender Gonzalo Segares and midfielder Logan Pause are playing in the CONCACAF Gold Cup. And defenders Wilman Conde and Brandon Prideaux have had hamstring injuries.
The Quakes beat the Houston Dynamo near the start of the season, a 3-2 victory that almost looks like a typo at this stage of their season. This isn't a team to take lightly, though, especially since San Jose was just minutes from topping Chicago earlier this season. Ryan Johnson has six goals, Arturo Alvarez is versatile and veteran goalkeeper Joe Cannon is still capable of coming up with big saves.
Chicago has yet to figure things out at home with its 1-2-4 Toyota Park record and five goals. Fire fans are anxious to get a second home win, and as long as you're in first place, you have to figure this team is more than capable of switching the tone at home. Chicago Fire 2, San Jose Earthquakes 1
• HUSIDIC GETS STARTING NOD
Libertyville native, UIC standout earning his wings in 1st season
Chicago Fire rookie midfielder Baggio Husidic knew he would have to prove himself to earn some playing time, especially on a squad that has some depth. The Libertyville native and University of Illinois-Chicago standout has gotten that chance of late with his first two Major League Soccer starts against Colorado Rapids on July 4 and the Columbus Crew on July 11.
In his first start against Colorado, he also posted his first MLS assist on a Marco Pappa goal as the Fire won, 2-1. In these early stages, Husidic seems to be making an impression.
"I thought he was good," Fire head coach Denis Hamlett said following the Fire's scoreless draw against Columbus. "I thought in the first half he got himself in good spots in the final third. I just didn't think we saw him. We ended up probably running with the ball too long instead of making the early pass."
Husidic also got the start during Wednesday's 2-1 victory over the New England Revolution in the SuperLiga semifinals. His standout moment in the game came in the 26th minute when Fire defender Daniel Woolard provided a cross from the left side. Husidic made a strong run in the middle of the field, but his header went over the crossbar.
Those moments will improve over time, and with injuries and numerous players participating in non-MLS tournaments, Husidic will continue getting those chances.
"I think it's nice, especially early on in my career, to get opportunities to play and get confidence," Husidic said. "That's pretty much all it is, is just getting game experience. And right now I'm getting that, which is good. So hopefully I'll get more and more coming in the future."