By ANTHONY ZILIS
Chicago Fire head coach Carlos de los Cobos made it clear after his team's US Open cup loss to Charleston Battery that his team was more focused on the Superliga Tournament.
The Fire will kick off Superliga action tonight against Morelia at Toyota Park, and will play only in the tournament for the rest of the month.
De los Cobos hopes a tournament victory can jumpstart the Fire's season as he works players back from injuries.
"It's important … We play against a very good club in Mexico. This is one of the most consistent clubs in Mexico over the last few years," de los Cobos said.
"We are having a process with these players. I understand that we are not always having good results, but this team is playing good many times of the matches. Tomorrow is a good opportunity for our players to show these qualities."
While he may have originally planned on playing his normal starting 11 during the SuperLiga, injuries have mounted as Patrick Nyarko, Logan Pause, Baggio Husidic, Dasan Robinson and Tim Ward all will sit out with injuries.
Rookies Kwame Watson-Siriboe and Steve Kinney will have a chance to show their worth as they are each expected to pick up a second straight start.
Watson-Siriboe has looked strong throughout the season in spot-duty at center back and Kinney had a good showing last Thursday against Real Salt Lake, hitting both posts on headers form corner kicks.
"As the starts come along, you feel confident on the ball," Watson-Siriboe said.
"I still need to make improvements mentally and physically. Reading the game. I need to make improvements as the game goes on."
Watson-Siriboe gets the start because Wilman Conde will once again be deployed in the midfield, with Logan Pause starting the game on the bench.
De los Cobos said the two rookies have a chance to stay in the starting lineup if they keep performing well.
"Steve Kinney showed very good things in the last match, some confidence and some personality … I like him. He needs to keep continuing playing, to continue his experience. I think potentially he's a very good player," de Los Cobos said, adding that Watson-Siriboe is doing 'good work.'
Watson-Siriboe knows he just has to take his first season one game at a time as he transitions to professional soccer.
"Getting the opportunity to play teams from Mexico, it's a big step, because you're seeing a different type of soccer," he said. "It's different from how we play in the MLS."
PAPPA EXCITED BY ALL-STAR NOD
Marco Pappa was named an All-Star starter. The team will play against Manchester United, who are currently training in Bridgeview. on July 28.
"I'm excited, you know. It's extra motivation to keep working. I'm happy with the good news," Pappa said.
The Fire midfielder said he found out about the news on Sunday.
"I called my family to say the news," Pappa said.
"Everybody's proud. If I'm there, it's because my teammates are working hard and I try to do my best on the field so I'm happy with that."
Pappa has scored six goals in 14 regular season MLS games in 2010.
"Everybody knows about Manchester United, it's a big team," he said. "It's a good opportunity. I'm excited to play with the biggest players in the world, so we can show our level. It's exciting."
The injury list keeps growing for the Fire, who don't play another MLS regualr season game until August.
Patrick Nyarko is still out with a concussion after taking a knee to the head against Columbus.
Baggio Husidic and Logan Pause both picked up minor injuries in practice.
Collins John is getting back into fitness after suffering from a gastroinstestinal illeness.
Dasan Robinson remains sidelined with a hamsting injury.
Tim Ward is out with a calf strain.
John Thorrington and Calen Carr have been running but have not yet resumed regualr training with calf injuries.
PROJECTING CHICAGO'S LINEUP
Here is the starting lineup de los Cobos projected on Tuesday: