Fire play to 0-0 tie with FC Dallas after losing midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri

Shaqiri (tightness in left calf) was subbed out in the 19th minute at a cold and rainy Soldier Field.

SHARE Fire play to 0-0 tie with FC Dallas after losing midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri
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Fire striker Kacper Przybylko goes for the ball during the first half of Saturday’s game.

Courtesy of the Fire

It would have been understandable if the Fire had rested midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri. But after playing 155 minutes in two international friendlies for Switzerland, Shaqiri was back in the Fire’s starting lineup for their 0-0 tie Saturday against FC Dallas at Soldier Field.

Unfortunately for the Fire, Shaqiri lasted only 19 minutes.

Already missing captain Rafael Czichos because of health-and-safety protocols, the Fire were forced to go without their big-money designated player for the final 71 minutes after Shaqiri felt tightness in his left calf. He was replaced by Brian Gutierrez.

Shaqiri had played every second of his first four games with the Fire, despite a history of injuries that plagued him during his European career.

The Fire hope Shaqiri will be available for their game Saturday at Orlando City after choosing to play him against Dallas. Coach Ezra Hendrickson said he and his staff thought about keeping Shaqiri out but decided he was too valuable to sit.

‘‘We discussed it at length, but we decided . . . we needed him to play today,’’ Hendrickson said. ‘‘Maybe not the full 90 minutes, but we would at least start off with him on the pitch because he makes that much of a difference for us.’’

After his international duty, Shaqiri returned to training Thursday. Hendrickson said he practiced without incident Friday, but Saturday didn’t go as well.

‘‘It’s one of those things where you can’t really predict, but he’s a smart guy, he’s an experienced guy,’’ Hendrickson said. ‘‘He felt it getting tight, so he just felt it was best to come out.’’

The Fire had no choice to make with Czichos. They found out he was entering the protocols Friday, and that meant a new starting lineup for the first time this season. Federico Navarro got his first start in the midfield, and Mauricio Pineda moved from the midfield to the back line to replace Czichos.

The Fire are already a defensive-minded team, and that ethos was valuable for them with Shaqiri unavailable. Facing a Dallas team that didn’t dress U.S. men’s national team winger Paul Arriola and subbed on fellow USMNT forward Jesus Ferreira in the 63rd minute, the Fire registered their fourth shutout and remained unbeaten through five matches (2-0-3).

‘‘[Navarro and Gutierrez] battled hard, and we stuck together as a team and came out with a result,’’ midfielder Fabian Herbers said. ‘‘Unfortunately we didn’t get the win, but I think we’ll take the point and move on.’’

Hendrickson’s thoughts were also mixed after the Fire earned a point on a cold and rainy day without two key parts. Though the performance wasn’t the Fire’s best and Hendrickson didn’t like the lack of fluidity on the attack, he saw the point as a sign of progress.

‘‘I also told them it’s the sign of a team that’s . . . getting better when even on your worst night or a night when you don’t play your best [soccer], you find a way to get something out of the game and not lose the game,’’ Hendrickson said. ‘‘We were able to do that [today].’’

Now the Fire will wait for more news on Shaqiri, whose professionalism already has made an impact on Gutierrez.

‘‘He’s a really good pro,’’ Gutierrez said. ‘‘He’s always a good guy [and] a good mentor for us young people. He wants to win here, which is the most important thing.

‘‘When you see a player like that [who] wants to win and his quality, you get motivated and want to be there with him winning.’’

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