Fire v Crew Preview

The Fire can get back into the Eastern Conference mix with a win in Columbus or they can fall ten points behind the conference leader with a loss.  Columbus has been close to unbeatable at home over the last several years but they have been beaten once in Crew Stadium this season (a 2-0 loss the LA in which the Crew dominated possession).  Robert Warzycha's line-up has been fairly consistent this season featuring the many of same players MLS opposition has been accustomed to facing since Sigi Schmid roamed the sideline.

 

Will Hesmer has started every match this year in goal.  The backline should have Frankie Hejduk back from injury at right back with Gino Padula on the left side.  MLS best XI defender Chad Marshall and Eric Brunner are the centerbacks.  The Crew also should have Danny O'Rourke back and able to fill in if Hejduk can't go. O'Rourke can also fill in at midfield.

Brian Carroll and Eddie Gaven have played the majority of every of match this year in central midfield.  Gaven has scored three times to place second on the squad behind Guillermo Barros Schelotto.  Robbie Rogers plays the left side while Warczycha has mixed up the opposite side with Emilio Renteria, Adam Moffat, and occasionally Emmanuel Ekpo (who has played on both flanks). 

 

As always the Crew attack is fueled by Schelotto's creativity and guile.  GBS leads the Crew with 5 goals, although one should have been disallowed after a handball last week against DC United.  Schelotto is usually in the withdrawn forward spot with either Jason Garey or Steven Lenhart ahead of him.  Both Garey and Lenhart have struggled this year only managing one goal between the two in league play. 

 

The Fire are coming off a disappointing US Open Cup loss on Tuesday thereby avoiding a rematch with the Crew next Tuesday night in Peoria.  Tim Ward is nearly ready to return and is no longer on the injury report but it's unlikely that he will see much time yet.  Robinson, Conde, Brown, and Krol should be the starters again this weekend unless De Los Cobos really gets adventurous and likes what he saw from Conde in midfield against Charleston. 

 

Justin Mapp is also not on the injury report but he did not dress for the Open Cup match after being scratched last Sunday during warm ups.  Baggio Husidic left the New England match early and was not available Tuesday although he is also not listed on the injury report.  If Husidic can't go, I'd expect Peter Lowry and Logan Pause to team up in holding midfield spots.  Marco Pappa and Patrick Nyarko are locks with the only other wildcard being who fills out the other spot and who plays the central role if Mapp isn't available.  Mike Banner and Corben Bone are the options.  De Los Cobos seems to see something in Banner but I'd like to see Bone get a shot. 

 

The Fire are very limited at forward with Collins John not being available for another 2-3 weeks.  Brian McBride is going to have to log some heavy minutes in the near future unless the club fills the roster spot vacated by Julio Martinez with a forward.

 

Prediction

The last 5 regular season matches between these two sides have ended in 2-2 draws and the Crew are nearly unbeatable at home.

Crew 2 Fire 1

 

Injury Report

Columbus

Probable : Frankie Hejduk (R hamstring strain), Gino Padula (L hamstring strain), Danny O'Rourke (R patellar tendonitis)

 

Chicago

Out : Calen Carr (R quad strain), John Thorrington (L quad strain)

 

MLS Weekend Predictions

Real Salt Lake 2 New England 0

FC Dallas 2 Kansas City 1

San Jose 1 DC 0

Philly 1 Chivas 1

Colorado 2 New York 1

LA 1 Seattle 0

 

Media Watch

The Sun Times continued their excellent soccer coverage (rolling eyes) with one page of World Cup coverage in the Friday edition.  This was of course preceded by FOUR (yes, four) pages of LeBron James speculation.  There was no mention of the Fire's match up with Columbus and the agate page did not even include the MLS tables.

  

Despite the pitiful local coverage there are some media members providing thoughtful writing.  Here's an excellent piece from ESPN.com's Bill Simmons. 

 

World Cup TV ratings continue to be more than impressive.  This is very odd considering that nobody in America cares about soccer.  ;) 

 

 

Fire Confidential World Cup Bracket Contest

Now that the Netherlands has upset Brazil several contenders for the top prize have been dealt a serious blow.  The current leader heading into Saturday's matches is elgatochicago.

 

Designated Players

Looks like the New York Red Bulls are unveiling a new designated player on July 14.  I'm guessing it's not Cuauhtemoc Blanco.   

 

Columbus

I'll be at the Fire v Crew match tomorrow checking in some time in the afternoon. 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

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  • The Trib also buried two amazingly dramatic results on page 4. They were too busy with a clever little "Woodunnit" piece about King James. Thankfully, they stuck some snarky piece in the editorial page grudgingly admitting that Americans have taken to the Cup. They then attempt to explain how this could be because 'America is not a soccer nation' (followed by a veiled xenophobic reference to the metric system). My question is who decided this was the truth? In fact, it's more their sincere hope than any reflection of reality. When the question was why everyone in Chicago didn't adore hockey it was due to the fault of the imbeciles that weren't jumping on the Hypes bandwagon. When soccer ratings/attendances don't reach stratospheric heights, it's because the game is only inferior and Americans (and Dave Martin's Canadians) who have miraculously discovered this truth.

  • I say tie game 0-0

  • Overall Record: 46-39-16

    My Week 14 Picks:

    Houston over Toronto FC. Tied 1-1
    Real Salt Lake over New England. RSL 5-0
    Columbus over Chicago.
    FC Dallas over Kansas City.
    San Jose over DC United.
    Chivas USA over Philadelphia.
    New York over Colorado.
    Los Angeles over Seattle.

    Fire/Crew score: Crew 2-1

  • I say, we are leading and or tied, and Dykstra gives up another one at the end.

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