The Chicago Fire will host Santos Laguna on Sept. 8 at Toyota Park. The friendly match will provide the team a brief break from the regular MLS season and the pursuit of the playoffs. It is possible that fans will see a repeat of the previous friendly with Aston Villa in July 2012 because head coach Frank Klopas could be using the bench players again.
Santos Laguna in Chicago
The Sept. 8 match between the Chicago Fire and Santos Laguna will be the first meeting for the teams. Chicago previously hosted Aston Villa in an international friendly this season. Santos Laguna has accumulated four championships in the Mexican Primera División and won the 2012 Clausura tournament.
Who will Frank Klopas Use?
The official starting lineup for the Sept. 8 game has not been released, but there has been ongoing speculation about Frank Klopas' strategy for the match. The Chicago Fire are currently in third place in the Eastern Conference as the MLS playoffs get closer. The international friendly may provide a nice break, but the main focus of the team will remain on the regular MLS season.
It is possible that Frank Klopas is planning on using the same strategy with Santos Laguna that fans witnessed in July 2012 with Aston Villa. Klopas decided to use more bench players instead of the usual starting lineup in July and may resort to the same tactic again. He also made frequent substitutions during the match with Aston Villa to give more players a chance to participate in an actual game. As the MLS playoffs get closer, Frank Klopas may not be willing to risk injuring a player for an international friendly.
Will Sean Johnson Play on Sept. 8?
Sean Johnson has been called up to the U.S. national team as it faces Jamaica in the World Cup qualifying match on Sept. 7. Although the Chicago Fire goalie is expected to return before the start of the Sept. 8 friendly, it is not clear if he will actually participate. Frank Klopas could use the opportunity to give goalie Paolo Tornaghi a chance to play.
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Lana follows MLS, UEFA and FIFA. She has been a faithful fan of the Chicago Fire since 1998. Follow @Lana_Bandoim on Twitter.