Fire vs Wilmington Hammerheads: Match Preview (Follow the game on Twitter)

Los Angeles Galaxy v Chicago Fire

[Here is a little piece I wrote for the Tribune](http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/soccer/fire/chi-30-fire-jun30,0,1016521.story) previewing tonight's Fire U.S. Open Cup match against the Wilmington (N.C) Hammerheads of USL-2.

But I wanted to take a more in depth look at the match (especially the lineup) so here are a few more thoughts that I had...
**What will the Fire do about the hole in the Central Midfield?**

With John Thorrington injured, Logan Pause with the U.S. team and Cuauhtemoc Blanco (who is certainly capable of playing CM) suspended for the match I'm wondering who
Denis Hamlett is going to turn to in the center of the midfield.

We could possibly see Baggio Husidic and Tim Ward in the middle but Ward may have to play right back (out of pure necessity due to injuries in the back) in which case we could possibly see Chris Rolfe (or even Daniel Woolard) in the center of the midfield.

**Will the Fire play their big names?**

Without having talked to anyone on the Fire about this (I wasn't able to make it to practice yesterday... my bad) I would guess that if he doesn't have to play his big names, then Denis Hamlett won't.

I'm thinking that Brian McBride won't be taking the field tonight and that both wingers (Chris Rolfe and Marco Pappa) will be given a rest as well.

However, I do think that the Fire's backline will (again out of necessity due to injuries) feature some regulars. Bakary Soumare could make his return tonight and Wilman Conde could very well play. Also, Tim Ward will almost certainly see some action (whether that's in the central midfield or right back spot remains to be seen...).

**Could Calen Carr make his return?**

When I talked to Carr a couple weeks ago he said he was ready to play and that he was looking to get into some SuperLiga and Open Cup matches. With SuperLiga having come and gone and Carr not getting in I think tonight may finally be the night when Carr returns to first team action - 11 months since he was injured.

If Carr does return I wish him (along with the rest of the Fire) all the best tonight.

**Prediction:**

This is a tough match to call simply because of the two big unknowns: the quality of the Hammerheads and the Fire's lineup. But I will offer a pretty blind guess and say that the Fire will win by a score of 2-0 and advance to the 4th round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

**Twittercast!**

As tonight's match won't be shown on TV or heard on the radio the gracious people at the Fire will be providing match updates via twitter. You can follow the Fire on twitter (and follow tonight's match...) by [clicking here](http://twitter.com/chifiresoccer).

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  • 'nother fire loss. i'm starting to wonder why this team isn't doing better than it is with its talent level and depth. i know hamlett is the easy answer. i'm definitely a tad frustrated with this team.

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