The Fire can get back into the Eastern Conference mix with a win in
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
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 Schelotto is usually in the withdrawn forward spot with either Jason Garey or Steven Lenhart ahead of him.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
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
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.
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
Probable : Frankie Hejduk (R hamstring strain), Gino Padula (L hamstring strain), Danny O'Rourke (R patellar tendonitis)
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
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.
Looks like the New York Red Bulls are unveiling a new designated player on July 14. I'm guessing it's not Cuauhtemoc Blanco.
I'll be at the Fire v Crew match tomorrow checking in some time in the afternoon.