Fire and Dynamo lose key players due to international duty

Friday's match between the Chicago Fire and the Houston Dynamo will be affected by the numerous World Cup Qualifiers taking place around the world this week, with each team losing multiple starters to international duty.

The Fire will be without starting defenders Gonzalo Segares and Bakary Soumare and will also be missing starting midfielder/forward Cuauhtemoc Blanco.  Houston will be without two of their top players as well, as forward Brian Ching and midfielder Ricardo Clark will miss Friday's game at Toyota Park due to their call ups to the U.S. team.  

The loss of Segares and Soumare really hurts the Fire when one couples it with the fact that another starting member of the back four, Wilman Conde, is doubtful for Friday's match with a shoulder injury.  We'll definitely be seeing a patchwork defense this week for the Fire, and one wonders if they will be able to perform better than the defense that gave up three goals against FC Dallas on Sunday.  

Expect to see Brandon Prideaux remain in the starting lineup in Segares's place at left back, with one (or both if Conde is unable to go) of Dasan Robinson and C.J. Brown getting the start in place of Soumare.

Fire coach Denis Hamlett will likely keep the attacking lineup similar to what was seen in Sunday's match (in which Blanco was also unable to participate).  The only attacking change that is somewhat feasible for Hamlett would be to insert Marco Pappa back into the starting 11.  Pappa's insertion would likely come at the expense of Chris Rolfe, Justin Mapp, or
Patrick Nyarko.

Look for Houston to slide Corey Ashe into Clark's starting spot and for either Chris Wondolowski or Ade Akinbiyi to start in place of Brian Ching.  

I think it's kind of a tossup as to which team has the advantage in this scenario.  Houston's attack will be taking a big hit with the absence of Ching and Clark, but Chicago's defense could lose more without Segares and Soumare.  

In the end, I see Chicago's normal reserves stepping up and playing better than Houston's.  Whether or not this advantage will translate into a Fire win remains to be seen, but hopefully the Fire will be able to put it together and take all three points.

I should be making it out to the Fire's practice tomorrow, so look for coverage on that coming your way soon.  

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  • "and one wonders"

    loosen up there, buddy. You're blogging here.

  • First off, if the last game is any indicator, I'm not as confident that the Fire bench will step up. Hopefully a week of practice will add some chemistry and some passing crispness previously unseen.

    The Pappa insertion had better come for Mapp and he'd better assume the Blanco role this week - Mapp deserves to ride the pine on the reserves team for his play so far this year. Man... I'm fat and old and could play better than that...

    But the bottomline is that the Segares for Prideaux trade on the pitch hurts the most. Segares is aggressive and makes strong runs into the attacking third and Prideaux is... well, he's Prideaux. Whatever the lineup is, hopefully the outcome is better this time around.

  • i look forward to these games. i think our bench is deep and above the rest of the league. im more intrested to see what color cleats rolfe has on. i liked the blue ones.

  • The dynamo have had a patchwork defense for the last 5 games and currently have only 1 of 4 original starters on the back line. Good news is that this group has only given up one goal. Although Ching will be missed Houston is excited to see one or both of the two forwards that they've signed in the last few months: Ade Akinbiyi and Dominic Oduro. Clark will be missed more than Ching because he influences the game for 90 min. Expect to see Mullrooney or Cameron step up to fill Clark's role in defensive midfield. Both are midfield that are currently playing defender.

  • give me your score dynamo, curious

  • I see 2-1 Houston. The dynamo's confidence is just soaring right now. The injuries on the back and the loss of Clark may cause some movement of players in the back; this and being on the road with cause the Dynamo to concede a rare goal. Houston is a team that never sits back, even on the road, and this aggression will be rewarded.

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