The Fire is set to take on Mexican side Tigres UANL in their third (and final) SuperLiga group stage match tomorrow night. Tigres, who play in the northern Mexican city of Monterrey, are interestingly enough the official team of the publicly owned university in the Mexican state of Nuevo Leon. Tigres qualified for SuperLiga action by finishing in 7th place in the
combined 2008 Clausura and Apertura standings. Normally a team in the
7th spot wouldn't qualify for SuperLiga play but because 2nd place
finishers Chivas and 6th place Pumas declined to take part in the
annual tournament a spot opened up for Tigres.
Tigres head into Saturday's match with a 1-1-0 record in SuperLiga action, which puts them in third place in Group A. Tigres was able to defeat Chivas USA 2-1 last Saturday but they fell to fellow Mexican team San Luis 3-1 on Tuesday at Toyota Park.
Tigres has been fielding a very young, inexperienced side for SuperLiga play. Tigres, who elected to leave their first team (and head coach...)in Mexico during the tournament, started only one player over the age of 21 in last Saturday's match against Chivas USA.
Due to the extreme youth of the side that Tigres will likely field against the Fire, I am expecting a win for 'The Men in Red.' I'm thinking that the Fire will continue their modest two-game winning streak in style on Saturday night, and my final score prediction is 2-0 to the Fire. I see the goals coming from Cuauhtemoc Blanco (who Denis Hamlett said would play in the match) and forward Patrick Nyarko.
More importantly though, I think that the Fire youngsters (who should see some significant p.t. again on Saturday) will step up and perform for the second straight match.
Some other notes...
Jon Busch and Logan Pause should still be with the Fire for the match (the U.S.'s Gold Cup training camp doesn't open until Tuesday) but defender Gonzalo Segares will be missing due to international obligations with Costa Rica.