Chicago’s season has not gone according to plan. Still, the Fire are looking forward to their match with Manchester United tomorrow for many reasons. Not only is the team excited to take on a world soccer power, but they’re using this as a chance to take a break from MLS action and regroup. Enjoy the moment.
MLS Reserves spoke with midfielder Daniel Paladini about the season so far and the upcoming game.
“We’ve had a lot of ties and it’s been frustrating for the team. We’re sitting at seventh place right now so its been a bit frustrating. I think with the coaching change and the staff working to find the right line up. We’re trying to find what works best.”
Is there a pressure on the team right now? Either in the locker room or on the field?
“When a team is not winning, there is pressure. We’re coming into the All-Star break now and we’ve still got a half a season left to get back in it. It’s definitely possible. Look at FC Dallas last year. They tied 14-15 times and they ended up going to the finals. It’s only a matter of time before we turn those ties into wins.”
What does the opportunity to play Manchester United mean to the team?
“Our president said he was going to go out and get us one of the best teams in the world to play against and he got Manchester United. We’re going to be playing at Soldier Field which is going to be sold out and it’s just awesome.”
What does it mean to you personally to have the chance to play a team like this?
“Personally, it’s one of those things that you look forward to your whole life. Playing against guys like Rooney, Giggs and Park. Playing against top teams in the world…this team just played Barcelona. It’s pretty cool.”
Did you ever think in your youth days that you’d get to play against Manchester United?
“Never, you know it’s just one of those things…it’s so cool to think about. Watching the games on TV and then think ‘Man, I’ll be playing them in a week’. My friends, my family are going to be able to experience it with me. I’m definitely looking forward to it.”
“You know I probably will be before the game but right now no. I’ve been starting lately in MLS games and I had a goal to make sure I was playing consistently before this game. I feel like I’ve achieved that and given myself a chance to impress our coaching staff to have confidence in me.
Having seen Man U play against other MLS teams recently, what is going through your mind?
”Obviously Manchester United is here for their preseason and to get fit. We see teams they’re playing use first and second teams. For them though, their second team is as good as their first team and for MLS it’s a little different.”
Which player are you going to be trying to trade jerseys with?
“Haha Patrick Nyarko and I are going to fight for Giggs!”
The Chicago Fire may not be where they want to be, but they certainly have a great opportunity to enjoy a big game and make an impression on their fans. They’ll take on Manchester United Saturday, July 23rd at 5:00pm. Catch the game on ESPN2.