Orr Barouch Starts for Israel U-21, Fire Look to Stay Hot Against San Jose, and a Look Forward to the Rest of the Season
The English U-21 club defeated the Israeli U-21 side today 4 goals to 1. More importantly however, is that Chicago Fire's own Orr Barouch was in the starting XI for the Israeli U-21 side, and played close to 70 minutes in the match. According to the Chicago Fire twitter page, Barouch helped set up the only goal for the Israeli U-21's.
Back here in the States, the Fire are preparing to go back to battle this Saturday in San Jose. It's been said over and over during the last couple of weeks, but this club needs to get 3 points every time they step onto the pitch right now. It's that simple. Chicago and San Jose have faced off twice already this season, with a US Open Cup match going to Chicago in San Jose back on May 24. Only four days later the two sides met again in MLS action, this time in Toyota Park. Oduro and Gibbs both scored for the Men in Red, but they couldn't do better than a draw. Most of you will remember the epic Cory Gibbs diving header that equalized that match, late.
No More Eddie Johnson to MLS? Orr Barouch Called Up by Israel U-21. And More on the Marco Pappa Rumors.
Yesterday, MLS announced the return of former MLS and USMNT striker Eddie Johnson from Europe. There was lots of speculation around the internet - including here - about where Johnson would end up, but now it seems that is no longer necessary. According to this report from the official league website, Johnson will no longer be returning to MLS. It has been rumored that he was unhappy with the amount of money being discussed for his services.
In more exciting news, Fire forward Orr Barouch has received the call to play for Israel U-21 in an upcoming friendly versus England. We've seen some great things from Barouch this season, and this will be a great opportunity for him to represent his country as well as work on his skills some more. He will reportedly leave to join the Israel U-21 side after the USOC semi-final match against Richmond Kickers.
And finally, according to MLSSoccer.com beat reporter, Sam Stejskal, Marco Pappa has not yet been contacted by FC Twente. With rumors swirling around about Pappa's possible departure from Toyota Park to join the Dutch side, Stejskal tweeted, "Just spoke to Marco Pappa, he said he has not been contacted by FC Twente." As we approach the closing of the Dutch transfer window on September 1, these rumors could continue to swirl and keep Fire supporters on edge for a couple more weeks.
After an exhaustive search of the internet, there has been no evidence to support the rumors that a Marco Pappa to FC Twente transfer went through before the European window closed. For more on this check out Chicago Fire Confidential.
One thing is certain, Marco Pappa isn't going to be a lifetime MLS player. He has the talent to play in Europe, possibly even the EPL some day. (There have been rumors about him moving to Newcastle) He's still very young, and has a lot of work to do to be a consistent enough player to compete at that level, but make no mistake about it, the talent is there - it just needs to be polished.
There was a time (3 months ago) when Pappa's departure would have been detrimental to this club. However, he is no longer the only guy that can make things happen. It's been over 2 months since he last scored, and the arrival of Sebastian Grazzini and the resurgence of Dominic Oduro have helped shape a great future for our Chicago Fire. As long as Pappa is here, I'll continue to hope for his progress and continued focus toward helping the Fire accomplish their goals - but I will not be devastated when he does leave.
The internet and soccer talk shows have been abuzz the last few days with rumors about a possible transfer deal that would send midfielder Marco Pappa from Chicago Fire to FC Twente. I have written several posts about how integral Pappa has been to his club over the last couple of seasons and how large a part he would play in the rebuilding of the Chicago attack in the years to come. However, with USMNT player Eddie Johnson's return to MLS, things could change significantly for Pappa and the Fire.
about Marco Pappa. I thought he was still going to be at Toyota Park until at least the end of this season. However, hours after the window closed, rumors began floating around that the transfer of Pappa to FC Twente may have in fact gone through. I have been unable to confirm the rumor yet, and we have gotten in touch with the fine people over at MLS Rumors and they have not been able to find any confirmation of this yet either.
We just wanted to keep all the rest of our Fire faithful as up to date as possible. Special thanks to Jeff K for being the first we saw to post that the Pappa transfer might have gone through.