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Fire putting more focus on defense heading into Friday’s games at Chivas

Defender Arne Friedrich German national football team takes part training sessi ViennJune 2 2011 eve their EURO 2012 qualifying round

Defender Arne Friedrich of the German national football team, takes part in a training session in Vienna on June 2, 2011 on the eve of their EURO 2012 qualifying round football match Austria vs Germany.AFP PHOTO/SAMUEL KUBANI (Photo credit should read SAMUEL KUBANI/AFP/Getty Images)

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Updated: June 5, 2012 11:43AM



Maybe the Fire has had some bad luck, especially when it lost 2-1 on Saturday to the Seattle Sounders at Toyota Park.

A pair of bad bounces resulted in the Sounders’ two goals, and suspect officiating denied the Fire a chance to tie the score in second-half stoppage time.

Nonetheless, the Fire’s defenders know they have to improve after allowing four goals in the last two matches.

‘‘It’s definitely too many goals, but I think it takes time to get a good communication,’’ center back Arne Friedrich said. ‘‘I think when it’s going good it’s not all about the back four, and when it’s going bad it’s not all about the back four. So we have to do it
better as a team, and we are working on this.’’

The task might prove to be more difficult Friday at Chivas USA when center back Jalil Anibaba and coach Frank Klopas serve one-game suspensions. Anibaba received a red card for a challenge in the seventh minute of second-half stoppage time in the loss to the Sounders, and Klopas was ejected from the game for using abusive language toward officials.

Anibaba works in tandem with Friedrich to get the back line
organized. He is expected to be replaced at center back by rookie Austin Berry, who will play in his first professional match.

That puts even more pressure on Friedrich, whose offseason signing brought one of the elite defenders in the world to the Fire and added a veteran presence to the lineup.

‘‘I’ve tried to work on organization and communication,’’ Berry said. ‘‘It’s helpful having Arne next to me. He’s a guy who is big on communication. He’s a world-class player.’’



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