Fire vs. Wizards: Match Preview

Starting XI

The Fire and Kansas City are set to meet for the second time this season on Sunday (2 p.m. on TeleFutura) in a game in which both teams will be looking to get back into the win column.

"It's huge," said Fire midfielder Peter Lowry of the match. "Kansas City's going to be a tough challenge. They're going to be battling and hungry for some wins. It's going to be a tough test but it's going to be even more important for us to get back on track."
Kansas City - who hasn't won in the league since June 13th - fired former Head Coach Curt Onalfo after August 1st's 6-0 annihilation at the hands of FC Dallas and will be playing their first match under Interim Head Coach Peter Vermes.

The second place Fire - who carries a two game losing streak into the match - must be ready from the opening whistle as Kansas City will likely try to apply a lot of early pressure.

"They're going to come out hard," said Head Coach Denis Hamlett. "We have to be good with the ball and we have to be aggressive against them to sort of put them on their heels. I think the beginning will be tough but hopefully we can get through it and get ourselves in the game as it goes along."

The Fire will be without a boat load of players for the match as defenders Tim Ward, Gonzalo Segares and Daniel Woolard all went down last week and will be out for 3 + weeks. It remains to be seen whether or not center back Wilman Conde or midfielder John Thorrington will play in the match as both are listed as questionable with injuries of their own.

Not sure whether midfielder Cuauhtemoc Blanco will make an appearance in the match or not either. Temo is 36 after all, and after coming off a hard 90 minutes on Sunday and 55 minutes (at altitude...) in Wednesday's U.S. - Mexico game, I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't play at Kansas City. It would definitely be a big blow for the Fire attack should Temo be unable to play as he always provides the offense with fantastic passing, solid finishing, and a spark that no other Fire player brings to the table.

**Prediction -**

Despite Kansas City's awful play throughout the last two months - they've only picked up 2 points in their last five matches - I do not have a good feeling about Sunday's game for the Fire. Whether it's the injuries, the fact that KC should be energized by the new head coach/two weeks since their last game, or the Fire's recent form, I just don't see the team getting out of KC with a win.

That said, I still think that the Fire are talented enough to get a point from the Wizards and I'll predict a 1-1 tie with goals from Josh Wolff and Chris Rolfe.

No shout out to a commenter for this preview though, as I (somehow...) managed to get a prediction dead-on with the USA - Mexico score. Hopefully someone beats me this time around - and hopefully that someone picks a Fire win...

Comments

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  • I pick the Fire to win 3-1, goals by Patrick, Chris and Marco. This is a small field and Fire will stuff the midfield to do most of their defending. Maybe they can go with a 3-5-2...

  • I'll go with 2-0 Fire. The Wizards have had trouble scoring all season and they'll be without Claudio Lopez and Davy Arnaud due to cards.

  • I'll agree with the 1-1 draw but think Patrick will notch another goal.

  • Thanks for the blog Sam. Do you have an RSS feed for Fire Confidential? I'd like to add it.

  • In reply to fireman451:

    Thanks for reading Fireman451. There is an RSS Feed, you can find the link to it on the right hand side of the page just above the 'related posts on Chicago Now' box.

  • In reply to fireman451:

    2-0, fire. nyarko and thor.

  • In reply to fireman451:

    I heard through the grapevine that there was a nasty fight between Hamlett and Soumare at halftime of the Houston game last Sunday. Apparently Soumare adressed the team and told them that he was out the door but he was just waiting to be shipped out to another MLS side. Sam, could you dig into this a little bit and found what is going on?

  • In reply to Marcel:

    Yeah definitely. I asked Hamlett about Baky/reasons for subbing him out on Sunday and he didn't say anything but I'll try some other routes...

  • In reply to Marcel:

    What a coincidence, I was coming back to chicago this afternoon and ran into Soumare. I asked him if he was going to meet the team in Kansas and he told me he was going home to NYC for a few days. I have to say, what a first class act that kid, he is definitely the nicest athlete I have ever come across. Something unusual must have happened. After halftime, apparently Soumare was sitting in the stands right in front of the section 8 fans. It would be great if Sam could get at the bottom of this.

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