The Fire come into this match on a bit of a roll and playing their best football of the young season. Carlos De Los Cobos seems to have found a line-up and formation that maximizes the talent on his roster. Chivas USA enters the contest coming off of a 3-2 victory against San Jose. Despite the three goal output last week Chivas USA has had trouble scoring goals for the better part of the last two seasons.
Chivas had been shut out in 3 of its first 4 matches this year before coach Martin Vasquez changed the positioning of his starting eleven and inserted rookie Ben Zemanski next to his Akron teammate Blair Gavin in central midfield. Gavin had been a starter since game 2 while Zemanski saw his first action during the 3-0 loss to Houston.
The success of Zemanski and Blair against San Jose enabled Sacha Klejstan to roam freely resulting in a more active attack. Vasquez used several combinations in midfield through the first four games before settling on Micheal Lahoud on the right side to round out the starters last week. Jorge Flores, Marcelo Saragosa, Jesus Padilla, Osael Romero have also seen starting minutes for Chivas.
Padilla and Justin Braun were the starters at forward last week although Chukwudi Chijindu came on as a substitute and found the back of the net. Padilla also roams back and forth in formations giving Chivas a one forward look similar to the Fire's. Maykel Galindo has struggled to find his 2008 form due to injuries which caused him to miss most of last year and time this year.
Defensively the back line starters have been fairly constant with Jonathan Bornstein on the left and Mariano Trujillo on the right. Centrally Michael Umana and Dario Delgado started against San Jose. Ante Jazic started the first three games before being lost to injury. The familiar and large Zach Thornton starts in goal.
The Fire will likely field the same starting eleven that handled Houston rather easily with the exception of left back where Deris Umanzor will play in place of the suspended Kryzstof Krol. One other starting change will probably see Collins John at the forward spot with Brian McBride relieving him in the second half. De Los Cobos has indicated that he will alternate the two from week to week.
Logan Pause is no longer listed on the injury report after a week of training but I can't imagine that De Los Cobos will start him today given the improvement of Husidic and Lowry in the middle.
Despite their success against the Earthquakes last week, Chivas USA has trouble finishing. Their three goal output last Saturday was their highest scoring night since October of 2008. I don't see the success continuing this week against a Fire side that seems to be finding its form. Prediction : Fire 2 Chivas USA 0
Last week's picks weren't as good as the previous round but if Kei Kamara could actually put a ball away from the one inch line I would've nailed the Galaxy's first loss of the year.
New York 1 DC United 1
FC Dallas 2 New England 1
Houston 1 Kansas City 0
Real Salt Lake 2 Toronto 0
San Jose 2 Colorado 1
Los Angeles 1 Philadelphia 0
Seattle 2 Columbus 1
Game Day Injury Report
CHICAGO FIRE -- OUT: FW Calen Carr (R quad strain); DF Steven Kinney (L hamstring strain); MF John Thorrington (L quad strain); DOUBTFUL: DF Dasan Robinson (abdominal strain)
CHIVAS USA -- OUT: Maykel Galindo (L ankle sprain); DF Ante Jazic (R knee strain); GK Dan Kennedy (L hip strain); MF Osael Romero (R ankle sprain)