Fire vs. Rapids: Match Preview

Crawford knocks ball from Mapp

Three weeks. That's how long it has been since the Fire took on D.C. United in what was their last MLS match. The Fire finally gets back to league play tomorrow night when they travel to Colorado to take on the Rapids (8 p.m. on Direct Kick) and the team (although they are certainly scuffling a bit, losers of 5 of their last 7...) is looking forward to it.

"We're happy to be back playing the regular season schedule," said defender Bakary Soumare. "We haven't been doing well against [the Rapids] and we're going to try to turn the tables around and try and come out of there with a result."

The Fire, which hasn't won in Colorado in 10 years, may have a tough time against the Rapids, who prior to last week's loss at Seattle had gone unbeaten in their previous eight games.

Adding to the challenge for the Fire will be the fact that the Rapids annual Independence Day tilt is a special one for them. The Rapids have only lost once in 13 games at home on the 4th of July and it is annually one of their biggest, most spirited crowds.
"Colorado is a good team," said Fire Head Coach Denis Hamlett. "They've been playing well at home and they're going to have a great crowd because it's the 4th of July, their biggest game."

If the Fire want to end their winless streak in Colorado and start to turn around the bad form we've been seeing from them they will need to improve on several things. Here are
a few that come to my mind...

**1 - Improve the finishing**

The Fire has only scored four goals in their last seven games. Four. And one of those came on a PK. So that gives the Fire three goals scored from the run of play in their last seven matches. That is a pathetic statistic for a team supposedly loaded with attacking talent.

For the most part, the Fire have been creating chances too, they just haven't been able to put them away.

"The onus is on us to finish our chances," said Hamlett. "That's the name of the game, you have to finish your chances and last game we didn't do that so hopefully we can get that part right [on Saturday]."

**2 - Improve the defensive communication**

The communication in the defense in last Saturday's match against Tigres seemed to be pretty bad. One sure sign of this was the fact that Fire defenders looked unsure who was marking who throughout the match.

The communication should automatically improve with the return of Bakary Soumare and the vocal John Thorrington to the lineup which is very good as if the Fire plan on leaving Colorado with a result this aspect of their game will need to pick up.

**3 - Prediction**

I don't think that the Fire will end their 10-year winless streak in Colorado, but I do think that they will put a close to their two game losing streak. I see the game ending in a 1-1 tie with Marco Pappa scoring for the Fire.

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  • Pappa is always a good pick to score. I'm not optimistic about tomorrow but will watch it regardless.

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