Fire's Grazzini still hampered by hamstring
BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- Chicago Fire midfielder Sebastian Grazzini's hamstring problems continue to persist. Heading into the Fire's home finale against the Columbus Crew on Saturday at Toyota Park, Grazzini's status could change day by day.
Grazzini netted a stoppage-time equalizer during the Fire's dramatic 2-1 come-from-behind win over D.C. United on Saturday. But on Wednesday he cut his training short because of the left hamstring injury that has plagued him off and on for nearly a month.
"He was out here earlier running, jogging, but when he tries to open up a little bit, he still feels it," Fire interim head coach Frank Klopas said following Wednesday's training. "We'll see how he feels. He's day-to-day."
The Fire are in wait-and-see mode regarding the importance of Saturday's match, which will include a sold-out fan base at Toyota Park. Three other teams are involved in the hunt for the last remaining wild card spot, though the odds of Chicago sneaking in are incredibly small. The New York Red Bulls currently hold the final postseason position with 43 points, and the Fire need them to lose Thursday's match to the Philadelphia Union, among many other factors.
"Obviously we're going to watch and see what happens," Klopas said. "But what I talked about with the group is just the things that we can control. It's great if some things go our way. The most important thing is our focus on Saturday, making sure we finish the season strong."
The Fire are coming off a victory over D.C. that seemed improbable after Dwayne De Rosario's penalty kick in the 90th minute. Grazzini's equalizer and Diego Chaves' winner created a moment that still is buzzing among the Fire locker room.
"I've never been in games like that, ever," Klopas said. "It's great when you're at the end of something like that because there's so much for team spirit, for morale, for the guys who put so much into it. The game's never over until the final whistle. It's great when you're on the winning side of that."
"We were absolutely in shock," Fire forward Patrick Nyarko said. "I didn't know what the hell was going on those last couple of minutes, but it shows the character of this team. We didn't keep our heads down. We just kept fighting till the end. It was one of the most incredible games and comebacks I've been a part of, and it was amazing to be on that side and not on the other side."
Kinney undergoes surgery: Fire right back Steven Kinney underwent sports hernia surgery on Wednesday. Though Kinney had performed some light training in recent months, the team was not expecting him to return for the end of the season. Kinney has not played in an MLS game in the past year, rupturing his right Achilles tendon on Oct. 23, 2010, against Chivas USA. He had surgery in the offseason, but then a groin strain set Kinney back during his return.
Expansion draft on Nov. 23: Major League Soccer announced Wednesday that it is holding the 2012 MLS Expansion Draft on Nov. 23 of this year. The league's 19th team, the Montreal Impact, will select 10 players during the 10-round draft. Former Fire midfielder Jesse Marsch is the Impact's head coach.