This match could very well be the last gasp effort in this season's attempt at any success and a late playoff run. Win and whatever slim hopes of postseason play are kept alive another day. Lose or draw and any realistic chances of capturing the eighth and final playoff spot are out the window.
Montero and Blaise Nkufo are one of the more formidable pairings up front in MLS. Nkufo was fairly silent against the Fire during their first meeting put he did manage to record a hat-trick in
The defense in front of Kasey Keller is likely to feature Patrick Ianni and Jeff Parke in the middle with Leo Gonzalez and Zach Scott on the left and right respectively. Gonzalez missed the first game due to a red card suspension. The usual starter at right back, James Riley is listed as questionable but he did make the trip and will be available.
Seattle did travel to Mexico on Wednesday night in CONCACAF Champion's League play and lost to Monterrey 3-2 after blowing a 2-0 lead in the 75th minute. Schmid fielded a B squad for that match with Fernandez and Scott being the only starters seeing big minutes. Nate Jaqua, Tyson Wahl, Michael Seamon, and Roger Levesque are other options on the bench.
On the Fire's side, Nery Castillo missed training due to a hamstring injury and his status for the match is unclear. Collins John seems to have supplanted Brian McBride as the starter if a one forward formation is the shape that Carlos De Los Cobos chooses. At this point in the season Fire forwards have scored a total of nine goals (if you count the two scored by Calen Carr in sub duty) and reliable or consistent service has been scarce. Montero has scored 10 by himself while assisting on 9 others.
If Castillo is unavailable De Los Cobos hinted at a five man midfield consisting of Marco Pappa, Patrick Nyarko, Logan Pause, Bratislav Ristic, and Freddie Ljungberg. Pause was initially listed on the early injury report as doubtful but he did train this week. John Thorrington will also be available although he claims to be not at 100% after yet another injury setback. I'm looking forward to this combination with Ljungberg as the point man in the attack. Injuries, absences, new additions, and mediocre play have kept De Los Cobos from settling on a consistent line up throughout the season and this five seems to be the best option at the moment.
In yet another de ja vu moment this season, Wilman Conde is unavailable due to his red card suspension last week. Conde missed the first
The back line will likely see Gonzalo Segares, CJ Brown, Dasan Robinson, and possibly Deris Umanzor at right back. De Los Cobos seems to prefer the Brown/Robinson combination in the middle over Brown and rookie Kwame Watson-Siriboe. Robinson is still dealing with a hamstring issue although he did train this week. Steven Kinney is still suffering from a quad injury and is questionable for this game.
The Fire have not scored a goal from the run of play since the
The Rest of The League
New York 1 Los Angeles 1 - I know it's hard to tell from visiting MLS' website but there is apparently a NY v LA match tonight. LA will be without Omar Gonzalez and the Red Bulls are missing Thierry Henry. That hasn't stopped MLS from promoting this game like it's the MLS Cup Final that they are praying for.
FC Dallas 1 Kansas City 1 - Both earned fortunate results on Wednesday night. FC Dallas was on the positive end of controversial offsides call allowing them to keep a 16 game unbeaten run going.
Real Salt Lake 2 Colorado 1 - Omar Cummings won't make the trip to Rio Tinto which likely means another record breaking result for RSL at home. If