Already missing captain Rafael Czichos due to health and safety protocols, the Fire were forced to go without Xherdan Shaqiri for the last 71 minutes of Saturday’s 0-0 tie against FC Dallas.
Shaqiri, who played 155 minutes over two friendlies with Switzerland during the international break, pulled up shortly before being subbed out in the 19th minute and was replaced by Brian Gutierrez on a cold and rainy day at Soldier Field. Over his first four games with the Fire, Shaqiri had played every second of every match, despite a history of injuries that plagued him during his European career.
As of the final whistle, there was no update on Shaqiri’s status.
Even before Shaqiri left, the Fire were adjusting to their most significant lineup change of the year.
Coach Ezra Hendrickson had used the same starting 11 for each game, but had to change due to Czichos’ absence. In place of Czichos, Federico Navarro got his first start in the midfield while Mauricio Pineda moved from the midfield to the back line.
Already a defensive-minded team, that ethos was valuable for the Fire with Shaqiri unavailable. Facing an FC Dallas group that didn’t dress United States winger Paul Arriola and subbed on fellow USMNT forward Jesus Ferreira in the 63rdminute, the Fire pitched their fourth shutout of the season and remained unbeaten through five matches.