Chat with Chicago Fire's Bakary Soumare
Soumare was drafted in the first round with the second overall pick in the 2007 MLS SuperDraft. In 2008 he was nominated for the MLS Defender of the Year award and was named to the MLS Best XI team. In his third year in the league, Bakary has started 47 out of 55 career games.
Soumare is in his first year playing for his native Mali National Team and has recently been recalled
for a pair of World Cup qualifiers against Ghana and
Benin on June 7 and 21.
Send your questions now and join Soumare on Tuesday at 3:15 p.m. ET!
Tune in Thursday, May 28 at 10:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2 for Chicago at Chivas USA.
Buzzmaster (3:21 PM)
Hang on everyone, we're just waiting for Bakary.
Buzzmaster (3:25 PM)
Aha...just got word that the Fire's training ran late and now he's in the team meal. So he will be with us in about 30 minutes. Keep sending in those questions!
Buzzmaster (4:18 PM)
We've got Bakary!
Defensively, how do you plan to stop Chivas?
Bakary Soumare (4:19 PM)
We try to stop every team that we play against. THey have a good record, but we're just going to try and stay focused for 90 minutes and play our game. Just like we do every game.
How key is communication between you and Jon Busch in the Fire backline?
Bakary Soumare (4:20 PM)
It's very very important. A lot of people don't see it, but the job that Jon Busch does defensively is very very important. It's part of playing defense as a unit. You try to stay connected. The only way to do that is to communicate the whole game.
Who wins tomorrow - Seydou Keita and Barca or Man U?
Bakary Soumare (4:21 PM)
Manchester United is a good team. I like them a lot. But I have one of my national teammates that plays for Barcelona, so I am rooting for them. 2-1 is my prediction.
Chicago leads the East and Chivas leads the West. How are you geraing up for this big match?
Bakary Soumare (4:22 PM)
Every time we play Chivas, it's a big matchup. We just both happen to be in the pole position in our conferences. I think it will be a good soccer match. We're excited about it and I think it will be good football.
What is your favorite place to eat in Chicago?
Bakary Soumare (4:22 PM)
Tizi Mellol. It's a Mediterranean place. Low key. I love it. I'm there a lot. Sometimes 3 days a week. My favorite place in Chicago by far. River North.
you guys keep getting ties at home...Is the team frustrated by that or do you like the way you're playing?
Bakary Soumare (4:24 PM)
No. We're the team that we have the mentality that we need to get hte points. But at home you should be winning the games. No excuses. There have been a few times where we took ties and if felt like a loss. It's very very frustrating and disappointing. We don't want to settle for one point at home. Ever.
Adam K from Bridgeview IL
I must say I do enjoy see you toss guys around, do you find playing in the MLS easier compared to playing on the world cup circuit? Are your plans still to try and play on the US team?
Bakary Soumare (4:26 PM)
It's different. When you talk about physicality, I'm in a region where soccer is very physical. In the Africa region, it's physical. It's difficult because it's not like in the MLS wher eyou play a game every week. This is a different level. Every game is almost do or die. The whole entire country is watching you. It's all they live for, it's soccer. It's very physical and very intense, a lot of pressure. But that's what makes it fun for me. I love it.
Jean (Portland, OR)
How good is Brian McBride? Does he offer lots of great advice?
Bakary Soumare (4:27 PM)
As a player, he's great. His track record speak for itself. He has done a real good job with the US National team for the past decade. As a person, he's a great person. He embodies professionalism. He pushes the rest of the guys. To have his leadership is fantastic. Great teammate, great player, great person, great leader. It's as good as it can be.
The team leads the league in scoring. How do you think the offense has been going so faR?
Bakary Soumare (4:28 PM)
They've been doing really well. I think in every game, we've scored a goal. There have been so many games they've bailed us out. Last year we had some troubles, but this year, the offense has picked us up. Not just scoring goals, but the way they get behind the ball and helped defend as a team.
How does it feel to be called up by the Mali national team?
Bakary Soumare (4:30 PM)
It was great. Most people know that I originally wanted to be a part of the US national team. But I don't regret it. I love every second of it. I love it. I look forward to every minute of the national team. It's the best experience of my life. Being able to play for my country. There is not a better feeling. I'm enjoying hte best time of my life right now.
How do you see your backline matching up against Chivas' attacking threats?
Bakary Soumare (4:31 PM)
I think they've changed their attack. THey have many different combinations they can put together. I think if we go about business like we usually do, like against New York, I think we'll be OK. I really think we'll be OK. We just have to stay focused for 90+ minutes.
Who is more difficult to guard in practice Blanco, McBride, or Rolfe?
Bakary Soumare (4:32 PM)
Chris Rolfe has to be the one. McBride and Blanco are really good players, but his feet are so quick. It's a guy that you say you're happy that he's on your side. His feet are so hard. Sometimes in practice you match up against him and you're just like "geez, it's going to be a long day."
Bakary Soumare (4:32 PM)
I'm happy to have answered your questions.