The Fire open their home season tomorrow night against a side that quite frankly is not very good. The Earthquakes were hammered in their home opener by Real Salt Lake 3-0. Anything less than three points for the Fire will be a major disappointment considering that San Jose will likely start two rookies on the back line. Ike Opara (the third pick in the draft this year) will team with Jason Hernandez at center back while rookie Steve Beitashour will likely see his first action of the year at right back in place of the red carded Chris Leitch. Veteran Ramiro Corrales will start on the left. Depending on which side Pappa and Nyarko line up, either one should present a big problem for San Jose.
The opposing midfield is only slightly more impressive with Arturo Alvarez, 36 year old Brazilian Andre Luiz, Javier Robles, and Bobby Convey manning the midfield for the Quakes. Both Convey and Robles were substituted at half time of their debacle against Real Salt Lake. Brandon McDonald and Joey Gjesten were the substitutes who could also see time this weekend. Ryan Johnson and Cornell Glen are the likely pairing up top.
While it would be fun to see Jon Busch get the nod in goal, I'm sure we'll see Joe Cannon instead.
Logan Pause is still questionable and John Thorrington is out for another few weeks while Wilman Conde has returned to training and should be available. Carlos De Los Cobos has also hinted at starting Baggio Husidic if Pause is unable to go.
Update: It seems Frank Yallop will do some juggling and may start Alvarez at forward with Johnson.
My prediction is 2-0 Fire.
Saturday is a busy day if you're not going to the game (the Fire is expecting a pretty large crowd) since all 16 MLS teams are in action. Here's my take on the other 7 matches:
New York 1 Chivas USA 0
DC United 1 Philadelphia 0
New England 1 Toronto FC 0
Kansas City 2 Colorado 1
Los Angeles 1 Houston 1
Columbus 2 FC Dallas 1
Real Salt Lake 2 Seattle 1