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Chicago Fire Focus: Preseason is Here

Draft picks, Green Cards, and the 2022 Preseason – Here is all the latest happening with the Chicago Fire.

Chicago Fire FC Preseason
Photo: Chicago Fire FC

The Chicago Fire Football Club is officially in preseason mode. With the MLS season starting earlier than ever before due to the 2022 World Cup, the Fire kick off the 2022 preseason in mid-January.

Players, coaches, and staff traveled to Orlando yesterday to begin preparations for what hopes to be a turning point in the club’s history.

The Fire will remain in Orlando through Feb. 3 before heading to Austin, Texas, where they will be from Feb. 6-19.

While in Orlando, the Fire will face Minnesota United. That match will take place on Jan. 29 at 12:00 PM CST. The Fire will face three opponents while in Texas: Toronto FC (Feb. 12, 11:00 AM CST), FC Dallas (Feb. 16, 11:00 AM CST), and Austin FC (Feb. 19, 12:00 PM CST).

The Fire will take 34 players to Florida, including their latest signing Raphael Czichos.

Fire Have Defensive Mindset in Draft

Last week, the Fire selected four players in the 2022 MLS SuperDraft, including a pair of defenders that played together at the University of Washington.

Kendall Burks (11th overall) and Charlie Ostrem (33rd overall) played together on the 2021 Washington Huskies Men’s Soccer Team. The center-back pairing was instrumental in the Huskies’ run to the Division 1 National Championship game last year.

The Fire continued focusing on building up a defense that allowed the third-most goals in the Eastern Conference last season. Defenders Carlo Ritaccio (63rd overall) and Yanis Leerman (85th overall) joined the Fire in the third and fourth rounds, respectively.

Ritaccio played at the University of Akron and was the National Freshman of the Year. He has also earned call-ups to the U-14, U-15, and U-17 U.S. National Teams.

Leerman, a native of France, started every match of his four-year career at the University of Central Florida. He was an All-American in his junior season.

Other Roster Moves, Transfers

Two Fire players received their green cards this month, opening up two international slots on the Fire roster. Both Carlos Terán and Gastón Giménez received their green cards.

Giménez returned to the Fire on a Designated Player contract after Georg Heitz and Ezra Hendrickson deemed him worthy enough of a new two-year contract.

Terán, 21, joined the Fire in August 2020. He has played well when on the field but has struggled to stay healthy. This season will be key in determining whether or not Terán can firmly hold down the starting center-back position for the foreseeable future.

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Lead soccer reporter at On Tap. I write about the Cubs and Bulls too. I also write a sports business newsletter @SportDollars. You can follow me on Twitter @just_wasik. West Ham fan.

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