Fire v Toronto FC Match Preview : Must Win Time For Both Sides

This match is about as close to a must win as any MLS September contest can be.  Toronto FC, winless in their last four MLS matches, is currently sitting in 10th place only two points ahead of the Fire in the race for the final MLS wildcard playoff spots.  TFC has only eight matches remaining and only three of those are at home where the Canadian side has been very difficult to beat.  Toronto has a difficult task ahead of them given that their road record is a paltry 1-8-1. 

 

Dwayne DeRosario, Julian De Guzman, and Nana Attakora have all been released from national team duty in order to play in this match.  A welcome sight for TFC fans since every match is vital in order to keep any playoff hopes alive.  The trio was not available for this past weekend's 1-0 loss in Dallas.

 

During the first meeting between these two sides on May 8 the Fire provided their worst effort of the season to date, a 4-1 embarrassment which saw Toronto attackers parading through the Chicago back line with ease.  Toronto has since added a Designated Player in forward Mista, who has yet to deliver much on a consistent basis.  Maicon Santos and the ever dangerous Chad Barrett have seen the bulk of the starter's minutes over the last month but both are expected to miss this game due to injury.  O'Brian White has also seen time at forward when DeRosario has not come forward to fill that role. 

In midfield, TFC will be without Martin Saric who was shown a red card late in the Dallas match.  The likely starters are DeRosario, DeGuzman, and Joseph Nane with either Nick LaBrocca, Jacob Peterson, or Dan Gargan filling out the remaining spot if DeRosario is not up front. 

 

The backline of Nick Garcia, Adrian Cann, Ty Harden, and Maksim Usanov have started the last two matches although Attakora and Gargan have both seen considerable time.  Stefan Frei has started every match in goal.

 

The Fire have placed themselves in a position in which they can no longer afford further mistakes or mental errors.  Every minute of the remaining 10 matches must be approached with the intensity and concentration of a playoff final.  Although the team has listed no players on the current injury report, Carlos De Los Cobos will still not have his best selection at his disposal.  Apparently Marco Pappa will not be available for the match since the Guatemalan National team is in action tonight.  The same goes for Deris Umanzor.

 

De Los Cobos may also opt for a true two forward formation if Nery Castillo and Collins John are selected in the first eleven.  Castillo's natural position is that of the withdrawn or playmaking forward which moves Freddie Ljungberg back into the playmaking midfield role.  Assuming that Patrick Nyarko fills one of the midfield wing positions, the inclusion of both Castillo and Ljungberg into the starting line up probably moves John Thorrington into a wing position or the bench.  De Los Cobos faces a difficult decision between Logan Pause and John Thorrington in this formation.  Pause is best suited to fill the holding midfield role since his first inclination is to defend and err on the side of caution while Thorrington provides more bite offensively but does not defend as well as Pause.  Thorrington is also prone to the occasional hard tackle resulting in unneeded yellow cards.  With Nyarko on one side and Pappa unavailable Thorrington could move outside or Mike Banner can be utilized on the left side as he was this past Saturday against Los Angeles. 

 

Defensively Krzysztof Krol will resume the left back responsibilities after Gonzalo Segares' straight red card ejection.  Wilman Conde and CJ Brown will return in the middle while a healthy Dasan Robinson could supplant Steven Kinney at right back.  If Sean Johnson continues his current form it should be difficult for Toronto to find the net.  The Reds have only managed seven road goals this season. 

 

Injury Report

 

Fire : None Reported

 

Toronto : OUT: Fuad Ibrahim F (L groin), Emmanuel Gonzalez D (R knee), Amadou Sanyang M (concussion symptoms), Chad Barrett F (R hamstring strain); DOUBTFUL: Maicon Santos F (L knee sprain)

 

Referee

 

Ramon Hernandez

 

Prediction

 

Fire 2 TFC 0

Anything less than three points has to be considered a loss.  Actually losing to TFC in Toyota Park at this stage would essentially make the playoffs a dream. 

Comments

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  • absolutely have to beat the teams that they are contending the final playoff spots with - that means 3 or 4 must win games: toronto, seattle, san jose, and kansas city

    beating phily and chivas (both on the road) would be a big boost too, and very do-able

  • segares got an extra game ban for his red card punch

    i was actually kinda expecting that

  • In reply to CountChocula:

    http://www.chicagobreakingsports.com/2010/09/mls-increases-penalties-against-fires-segares.html

    An extra game is kinda harsh.

  • In reply to cesba:

    well he threw a punch. if it were a dangerous tackle or a DOGSO foul, it woulda just been 1 game.

  • In reply to CountChocula:

    Kinda debatable that a punch was thrown. It looks like he raised his forearm and took something of a swipe or more of a shove with the forearm. Either way it was a dumb move.

  • In reply to CountChocula:

    The Fire have to win at least 5 of the next ten games, plus 2 draws to make it into the playoffs.
    This is a fairly achievable goal, as long as they refrain from making any stupid mistakes.
    Hopefully, they won't have to use Banner, though he was adequate in his last game.

  • In reply to CountChocula:

    I say Fire lead at half then in last 15 minutes stop playing and stay on their side to TFC to come back and tie game 2-2.
    Starting line up
    Collins McBride
    Nery Thor Freddy Patrick
    Krol Conde Brown Steve

  • In reply to Adam25:

    would be nothing different that we have seen this year. would love to see chicago keep piling on the pressure even with a lead for once

  • In reply to Adam25:

    That is not a good lineup at all. That is basically a 4-6 formation. Logan has been the only player on the team that we absolutely know what he is going to do and we need him to do that job. We can't say that for any other player on the team. If we dont play Pause we will lose 3-1.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    Logan Pause will be starting no doubt about that but Pause is just a guy not a difference marker. Pause is a serviceable player but he is also replaceable; the whole starting eleven will not collapse if Logan doesn't play.

  • In reply to CountChocula:

    Extremely harsh, to bad the league doesn't come down on incompetent calls and officials.
    There was some contact, but the play seemed more of a dive, Segares is too smart to commit
    a flagrant foul in the box.
    The officiating is probably the weakest aspect of MLS.

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    The league really should revisit their policy towards grading officials. USSF grades them after every match and occasionally issues reports on individual matches but their overall grades are not publically available. Seems to me there should be more accountability with some of these guys.

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    He swung at his head. He made contact with his hand to the guys face. The ref was in good position to see the play happen and made the call. If it was the other way around we, the fans, would have been going crazy for their to be a pk for us. Players will embellish every time they go down, doesn't mean there wasn't a foul.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    He threw a forearm no doubt. It's hard to tell if it actually landed but it was a pretty dumb move either way. It was a foul in the box, therefore a legit PK call IMO but the additional match suspension is pretty harsh.

  • In reply to cesba:

    He swung at a players head and made contact. He has to get more than 1 game. Straight reds are usually more than one game in every league. EPL he would have gotten a 3 match suspension. Sure the guy rolled around a bit and probably made it worse than it really was, but that was that guys job in that situation. He felt the hit and went down and got his team a PK and a red for probably our best defender in the 20th minute.

  • In reply to cesba:

    FYI.....Pappa started last night for Guatemala.

  • In reply to cesba:

    The Fire will win this game. it will be intense, and I will be at my seats. the addition of Freddie tonight will be the reason we win. You need pause and thor on the field. Pause has had a great last few games. Thorrington is the heart and soul of the midfield. I expect our lineup to look like this.

    John

    Castillo/Pappa---------------Ljungberg----------------Nyarko

    ----------------Thorrington--------------------------
    --------------------------------Pause-----------------
    Krol-----------Conde-------------Brown---------Kinney
    --------------------Johnson-------------------------------

    We win 3-1 today with the 3rd goal coming in the last 10 min. Let's go! Hopefully Nery can show us some good stuff today. We need to see more shooting from our attacking players. Go Fire!

  • In reply to jking:

    good lineup, with mcbride & carr as subs in for castillo and either nyarko or john depending on fatigue, injury, or quality of play

    and definately need to see more attacking, more shots on goal!

    lets win this one by two goals or more!

  • In reply to CountChocula:

    DLC may want to play Castillo more as a forward than a left mid.

  • In reply to cesba:

    sure, play castillo as a forward with Collins john, put nyarko on the left and thor on the right, freddie in the middle, pause behind

  • In reply to CountChocula:

    I'm all in for that line up but what happens when Pappa comes back Saturday?

  • In reply to cesba:

    that depends on how well the midfield plays tonite

    so far i think thorrington has been making a big difference if he can stay healthy. i'd take pappa as 1st player off the bench for now

  • In reply to CountChocula:

    Git sum tonight, Fire...no prisoners!!!!

  • In reply to CountChocula:

    you gotta go all out and take chances,,that may backfire and hurt but ya gotta do it

  • In reply to CountChocula:

    Is Real Salt Lake the best MLS team ever? Here's a quote from Andy Williams......

    Williams, in his 13th season, has been around the block and is now with his sixth team in the league. The Jamaican midfielder has had success at many of the stops along the way, but perhaps enjoyed the greatest success with the Chicago Fire in 2003.

    That year, the Fire won the US Open Cup, the Supporters

  • In reply to CountChocula:

    Ring of Fire Inductee and USMNT head coach Bob Bradley will be in attendance tonight.

  • In reply to cesba:

    Please don't allow BB any where near the team!! Boycott the Bob and Bruce National Team

  • In reply to CountChocula:

    Maybe he'll cap Sean. Is he eligible for the USMNT?

  • In reply to CountChocula:

    score early and often,,,if you get caught with your pants down and get scored on so be it....need a lead towards the end of the game because i hate that "here we go again" feeling...go ALL IN

  • In reply to CountChocula:

    Didn't MLS say that they would consider experimenting with goal-line tech and extra officials? Anything less than a win tonight would pretty much end any lingering playoff hopes. The conservative lineups are not getting it done:

    John McBride
    Nyarko Ljungberg Castillo
    Pause Thorington
    Conde Brown Krol

    Maybe not this offensive, but the one forward is not working out.

  • In reply to CountChocula:

    exactly,,conservative play isnt getting 3 pts

  • In reply to bert:

    fire must TAKE the 3 points

    you want em, take em! make toronto leave chicago in a daze

  • In reply to bert:

    Sam's line up notes....Castillo and John will start up top with Ljungberg in midfield.
    http://www.mlssoccer.com/news/article/castillo-john-start-top-chicago

  • In reply to cesba:

    me likey!

    also should fit castillos style better, eh?

  • In reply to CountChocula:

    Yes. That should suit Castillo's skills.

  • Yeah but there weren't many options up front until now. John and McBride got a brief shot but then John struggled with illness for a big chunk of the first half. Nyarko was playing well at mid and the only other forward was Dimitrov.
    The 4-5-1 was probably the best option considering the circumstances.

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