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Gonzalo Segares Exclusive: Chicago Fire defender takes positive look at MLS second half

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TORONTO, CANADA - SEPTEMBER 12: Gonzalo Segares #13 of the Chicago Fire moves the ball during MLS action against Toronto FC at BMO Field September 12, 2012 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
TORONTO, CANADA - SEPTEMBER 12: Gonzalo Segares #13 of the Chicago Fire moves the ball during MLS action against Toronto FC at BMO Field September 12, 2012 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

The Chicago Fire of Major League Soccer have had a tough go of it in the first half of their season. After having finished 2011 in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, they improved to fourth in 2012 and were hoping to once again improve going into 2013.

However, a crushing 4-0 defeat to the Los Angeles Galaxy, ironically thanks to a Mike MaGee hat trick and Robbie Keane dagger in the last ten minutes, saw the club begin their season in a way they would like to forget.

Along for the ride this campaign is seven year veteran of the Fire, Gonzalo Segares. The Costa Rican international has been a stalwart of the Chicago defense for nearly a decade and continues to be a loyal servant of the club and a great team member in the eyes of the fans.

I was able to catch up with him briefly this past week during a fan event sponsored by AT&T and MLS just outside of Chicago at the Aurora Mall. He was kind enough to take a few moments to answer some questions before meeting a host of fans from outside of the city.

Thomas Atzenhoffer: It has been a tough start to the season for you all in Chicago as you have only amassed 11 points at this point in the campaign. What is the team focusing on in order to help turn things around as the upcoming match with Portland? Do you feel a win over a club ranked in the top of the Western Conference could help set you on the right path as you head into the middle of the campaign?

Gonzalo Segares: As you said, it has been a very tough first part of the season. As of right now we have struggled a bit. Frank [Chicago Fire Manager Frank Klopas] has done a great job to continue to motivate us and to keep pushing us to improve. It is easy to lose motivation and the will to fight but he has kept us all in-line and he keeps pushing us and believing in us.

TA: The Mike MaGee transfer was a huge story over the last few weeks. How well has he started to incorporate himself into the team and really start to build a relationship with the club right away?

GS: He is a great professional and he fits very. He is a Chicago guy and he has a lot of experience. You can see him at practice on the pitch already starting to direct guys and point out things. A lot of times a new player will be quite and not say much but he is ready to carry on work with guys and help us to solve issues were we have trouble. He is a leader and he looks to be somebody that will keep pushing us to get better.

TA: How do you feel MaGee as well as new signing Bakary Soumare will affect you going into the second half?

GS: I believe with the incorporations of Bakary Soumare and Mike MaGee it has given us a second breath as we start the next part of the season. We are a pretty good team and I feel maybe things just haven’t gone our way.

If we continue to work hard and build on the better results we have had lately such as earning a point against Real Salt Lake, which is a difficult place to go, and the win against DC United we hoping to build some confidence and carry that though against Portland.

They are a team that is playing really well this year but we feel we can get a win especially because we are at home.

While Mike MaGee may have started the season off by putting a dagger in the heart of Fire fans, the Chicago born playmaker was at his best for the Fire this past weekend. Segares knew that it was crucial to get points from the match with Portland and an inspired last thirty minutes of the match saw Magee and Daniel Paladini score to bring the club level 2-2 to earn a draw and another critical point.

Following the match Gonzalo and I again touched base through Twitter and he continued his positive look on things as the Fire now face an 11 day period between their match with Colorado.

@socceratz thanks Thomas. We need to play 90 minutes how we played the last 30. We will learn from this game and improve for the next.

— Gonzalo Segares (@supersega13) June 9, 2013

The club will go in search of three points to try and start closing ground on the six clubs ahead of them as they are looking to build some momentum in the remainder of June.