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Chicago Fire’s Juninho suspended for opening match against Columbus Crew SC

The Men in Red will be a little short handed in their trip to Columbus.

MLS: Toronto FC vs Chicago Fire Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Like Columbus Crew SC, the Chicago Fire did a lot of retooling over the offseason. Two of the biggest acquisitions came in the midfield where the Fire added two veterans in center midfielders Dax McCarty and Juninho.

“They’re two good players,” Crew SC head coach Gregg Berhalter said on Tuesday. “I know Juninho very well having played with him (in LA). He’s a fantastic player, great guy, but brings a lot to that team. A winning mentality, a shot from distance. He’s a competitor as well. That’s definitely a strong piece in their lineup.

And then with Dax, he’s a guy I have a lot of respect for. He’s played a number of years in the league and he competes. So we know we’re going to have our hands full.”

It appears Chicago has compiled a formidable pair in central midfield, but news coming out Friday means the Black & Gold’s hands should be a little less full in the season-opening match on Saturday.

This will leave the Fire in scramble mode a bit, after preparing to have their two new signings both play on Saturday.

This news could be a boost for Crew SC, who are looking to reshape their midfield as well. Without Juninho, Columbus doesn’t have to worry about the characteristics Berhalter listed above, but that’s also a player they’ve been practicing for.

We will see how it all plays out when Crew SC kickoff the 2017 MLS season against the Fire Saturday afternoon at 2:00 p.m ET.