Fire v Sounders - Match Preview

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.  Seattle defeated the Fire 2-1 on a late Fredy Montero goal on August 28.  Fire defenders would be wise to realize that one of the leading scorers in the league over the last two seasons probably should be marked on every play. 


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 Seattle's 4-0 trouncing of the Crew in Columbus last weekend.  Seattle is 5-0-1 in league play with Nkufo in the line up since adding him as a Designated Player in July. 

Seattle's best midfield options are all available and feature speed on the wings.  Steve Zakuani did not start the August 28 game due to injury but he is fully fit now and ready opposite Sanna Nyassi.  Osvaldo Alonso was particularly successful against former teammate Freddie Ljungberg on the first go round.  Nathan Sturgis is the other central midfielder while Alvaro Fernandez is also a starting option (usually outside) for Sigi Schmid. 


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 Seattle match with yellow card accumulation.  Upon his return, Conde will be promptly be suspended again once he receives his next yellow card.  Any takers on an over/under bet for the minute that's issued in the San Jose match?


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. 




Jasen Anno




The Fire have not scored a goal from the run of play since the Houston game on August 21.  Thorrington's goal against Seattle was from the penalty spot and John's strike against Los Angeles was from a free kick.  The latter was 272 game minutes ago.  Toyota Park hasn't exactly been a fortress, the Fire are 3-2-6 at home while scoring only 12 goals.  With only four home games remaining and against my better judgment, I'll go ahead and continue to insist that the Fire have to begin establishing the ability to (at the very minimum) collect points at home. 


Fire 1 Seattle 0


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. 


Philadelphia 2 Chivas 1 - I saw an article on this week that suggested Chivas still has playoffs hopes although they need a bigger miracle than the Fire does.  A Union win and a Fire loss will push the expansion side ahead of the Fire in the table.  For the record....that ain't good.


San Jose 1 Toronto 1 - San Jose will have played 3 games in seven days when they host the Fire on Wednesday.  Toronto seems to have a little adrenaline going after ditching Preki and Mo Johnston. 


Houston 0 DC United 1 - Hard to believe these were two of the best teams in the league a few years ago.  Even harder to believe that the Dynamo have only won ONCE in their last 16 MLS matches.  Anybody know who that win was against?


Columbus 2 New England 1 - The Crew are battling through injury issues and the Revolution are on life support.  2010 will mark an MLS post season without a Fire v Revs match up. 


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.  Kansas City was the benefactor of several comedic errors made by the Dynamo.  The Fire need some help from FC Dallas in order to keep the Wizards within reach.


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 Colorado manages to win this one, they will likely be out of reach. 




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  • wouldn't it be great to see a high scoring fire blow-out? come on fire, throw us a bone

  • In reply to bert:

    From your keyboard to God's ears. A Mike Banner hat trick would really turn the knife.

  • In reply to bert:

    my best man at my wedding (26 yrs ago) and his family will be at the game...his boy will be on the field with his team...they came along way to be at this game so im praying for a good outcome

  • Yes....I believe players are paid when serving yellow/red card suspensions. The cards do come with automatic league fines though.

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