Chicago Fire head coach Ezra Hendrickson hopes reported Liverpool target Jhon Duran can keep firing ahead of a home clash with New England Revolution in MLS.
Neither the Fire nor the Revs can make the postseason stage in 2022, though Chicago could overtake their opponents with a six-goal swing at Soldier Field.
While both teams prepare for the final game of the season, reports swirl as to move for key attacker Duran to Liverpool – but Hendrickson insists the forward is focused on the Fire.
“Well, I certainly hope that he’s with us next year,” said Hendrickson.
“But when you’re a player of that caliber and that talent at such a young age, I would be surprised if teams weren’t looking or weren’t paying attention – especially European teams.
“He’s a Fire player and he’ll continue to be that until otherwise noted. But I can see why teams are very interested.”
While Duran may be heading for a move away, Revs goalkeeper Djordje Petrovic has committed his future to New England – though he too could be tempted to exit soon.
“My goal is to eventually go back to Europe and sign for a major team. … I’ll probably stay here another year or six months,”
Coach Bruce Arena added: “He was one of the easier players we’ve ever brought in because I couldn’t have spent more than 3-5 minutes watching him on tape and thinking he could be a real good one. We proceeded very quickly to try and sign him.
“He had a really good season and he’s a goalkeeper with great potential. We’re real pleased to have him for many years to come.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Chicago Fire – Jhon Duran
Duran may be a target of Liverpool and there is a reason for that – he leads the Fire scoring charts with eight MLS goals in 26 appearances.
New England Revolution – Dylan Borrero
Dylan Borrero could be pushing for a starting place on the wing after impressing in two straight appearances from the bench. He would likely replace Nacho Gil.
KEY OPTA FACTS
·The Revolution are unbeaten in their last three visits to Chicago (W2 D1) including a 3-2 win in their last visit in September 2021. New England has never won consecutive visits to Chicago in MLS (41 games, incl. playoffs).
·The Fire’s 3-2 win over Cincinnati on Saturday marked the sixth time they’ve scored three goals in a match this season. Chicago has 16 points (W5 D1 L0) when scoring three or more goals this season, while they have just 22 points in the 27 matches in which they’re held under three (W5 D7 L15).
·A year after setting the points record (73) and winning the Supporters’ Shield, New England will miss the playoffs. The Revs are the eighth team in MLS history (excluding Fusion, who folded after 2001 and Earthquakes, who moved to Houston after 2005) to miss the playoffs the after winning the Shield.
·Jhon Durán scored two of the Fire’s three goals in their win at Cincinnati on Saturday, the third multi-goal game of Durán’s MLS career. He is the third player to record three multi-goal games before turning 19, joining Eddie Gaven and Ricardo Pepi.
·Carles Gil recorded his 14th assist of the season, setting up Gustavo Bou for New England’s second goal in its win over Atlanta on Saturday. Gil, who had 18 assists last season, is one assist away from becoming the first player in Revolution history to record multiple 15-assist regular seasons.