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Chicago Fire notes heading into D.C. game

  • Written by Jeff Vorva

D.C. UNITED AT CHICAGO FIRE

WHEN: 4 p.m. Saturday

WHERE: Toyota Park, Bridgeview

FIRE RECORD: 1-2-3

D.C. RECORD: 2-3-3

LAST TIME: D.C. beat the Fire 4-0 in Washington on Oct. 18.

Accam likely not ready for D.C. United game

With an offense that has seen just seven on-target shots in the past five matches, Chicago Fire officials were hoping that last week’s bye week would enable offensive threat David Accam to be ready for Saturday’s game against D.C. United.

But Accam, who has been out with a left knee injury suffered March 11 against Orlando City, did not progress much last week and even though he is progressing more this week, he still hasn’t practiced and it’s doubtful he will be ready for Saturday.

“We want him back but it’s not a minor injury and we have to be smart about this in our approach,” Fire coach Veljko Paunovic said on Monday. “He’s working hard with our medical team to try to get back as soon as possible.

“We don’t any to make this injury worse. If he can come back (Saturday) and he’s ready and the doctors are OK and give him a full-go, that’s perfect. But we don’t expect that.’’

Accam led the team with 10 goals last year and had two in his first two matches this year before bowing out with the injury.’

 Johnson back

Goalie Sean Johnson, who has missed the past three games with a wrist injury, will be available Saturday but the longest-tenured Fire player (seven seasons) did not play the first three games because Paunovic chose Matt Lampson to start.

Johnson got some playing time in during a scrimmage Friday.

“Everybody is fighting for their spot,” Paunovic said. “We’re very happy to have Sean back because he can compete for his spot and that makes our team better. It for sure makes our practices better. We have more competition.’’

 Looking for that rock of Gilberto

Gilberto’s no-goal, one-assist total from six matches is not pleasing Paunovic.

“The team needs him and his capacity to score goals,’’ the coach said. “He needs to step up in the coming game. He has worked very hard and we’re being patient with him. But at some point – better sooner than later – we hope he steps up and scores goals and helps the team.’’

 Familiar face

Zach Thornton, who played with the Fire from 1998-2006, is an assistant coach for D.C. United.