Fire v Wizards Match Preview

The Fire are now mathematically eliminated from playoff contention and they can officially eliminate the Kansas City Wizards with a win or tie at Toyota Park.  Although Kei Kamara has managed to find the net 10 times this season, the Wizards have struggled to score for most of the season.  They've actually scored three less goals on the year than the Fire have.  In order to qualify for the playoffs the Wizards need Colorado to lose their remaining two games while KC needs to beat the Fire, Revolution, and Earthquakes. 

Jimmy Nielsen has been solid in goal all season, starting every MLS match and playing every minute to date.  Defensively, the Fire have had their struggles but Kansas City has allowed only two less goals than Chicago despite Nielsen's efforts.  The pairing of Jimmy Conrad and Shavar Thomas in the middle is supported by Michael Harrington and Roger Espinoza on the outside.  Conrad was one of the top defenders in MLS at one point but time seems to be catching up to him. 

In midfield, the combination of Jack Jewsbury, Craig Rocastle, and Davy Arnaud has produced seven goals and 5 assists.  Ryan Smith, a former Arsenal player has provided three goals and seven assists on his own.  Not exacly impressive numbers over a thirty game season. 

The forwards can be dangerous however.  Kamara has the ability to create his own shots and rookie Teal Bunbury has shown some flashes.  Another option is former Fire, Josh Wolff. 

The Fire continue to struggle with injury issues and line up changes even with three matches left.  Sam Stejskal provided this update going into the game. 

Andrew Dykstra will start for the second consecutive match as Sean Johnson has not fully recovered from the eye injury suffered last week in practice.  The back line looks like it will include Krzyzstof Krol and Bratislav Ristic on the outside and CJ Brown and Kwame Watson-Siriboe in the middle.  Wilman Conde is back from yet another yellow card suspension and is available but Steve Kinney is out with an ankle injury and Gonzalo Segares is dealing with a quad injury.  Dasan Robinson has been ruled out with a quad strain. 

Midfield will see yet a few more changes from the side that defeated Columbus on Friday night.  The only sure bet seems to be Logan Pause at the moment.  Marco Pappa is with the Guatemalan national team and Patrick Nyarko is questionable with the ankle issue that was brought to light last week.  Peter Lowry was effective against the Crew and should see some time as could Baggio Husidic.  This game should also provide an opportunity to finally get an extended look at Corben Bone in MLS play.  John Thorrington is still out with yet another quad injury.

Carlos De Los Cobos has hinted that Freddie Ljungberg will continue to play the withdrawn forward role behind either Brian McBride or Collins John.  It appears that Nery Castillo will start the game on the bench for the second consecutive match and Calen Carr could see some time in midfield due to the injury situation. 

Local TV

The game will be broadcast on CSN Plus and CLTV.

Referee

Ricardo Salazar

Prediction

The Wizards and Fire tied in Kansas City on May 15 as the Fire blew a 2-0 lead and allowed an 89th minute equalizer. 

Kansas City was beaten by Seattle on Saturday night so both teams are playing on short rest.  The absense of Nyarko and Pappa hurts after a fairly cohesive display on Friday night so this one is tough to call.

Fire 1 Wizards 1

Injury Report

Fire

OUT: Mike Banner M (bilateral achilles tendinitis), Dasan Robinson D (R quad strain); QUESTIONABLE: Sean Johnson GK (hyphema), John Thorrington M (R quad soreness)

Wizards

OUT: Zoltan Hercegfavi M (R knee spain/torn ACL); PROBABLE: Teal Bunbury F (foot contusion)

Comments

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  • i hope at some point we see castillo again - either that or terminate the loan if thats possible. seems silly to have a DP that is riding the bench. see if he can get into form or drop him

  • In reply to CountChocula:

    I would imagine that he will get back on the field before the season is over.

  • In reply to CountChocula:

    Has it become possible for players in MLS to choose that they want to follow a good offer to another club. Like, suppose the Fire choose to offer Le Toux or Braun a designated player contract, could their respective clubs block such a move from happenning.The Fire would of course offer monery and trades as replacement to the clubs. I'm just curious as to the possibilities of major player transfers within MLS.

  • In reply to fire1020:

    That possibility does not exist yet in MLS. Since players are technically signing contracts with the league free tranfers/free agency doesn't exist in the form that we're used to seeing in other sports. Trades are possible but it's highly unlikely that you would see guys like the names you mentioned involved in trades.

  • In reply to cesba:

    Thanks

  • In reply to cesba:

    I noticed that the Fire got a mention in the Trib's Sports Society Column courtesy of a visit from Edward Norton.

  • In reply to cesba:

    hi g,,,just wonderin,,,why play friendlys (U.S.) if world cup is 4 years away? I see everyone is doing it so gotta be a reason.

  • In reply to cesba:

    sorry if thats a stupid question,,,as you know,,,soccer is pretty new to me

  • In reply to bert:

    Countries start playing friendlies in order to start planning for the next four year World Cup "cycle". The cycle includes various tournaments (such as the 2011 Gold Cup for the US) and the beginning of CONCACAF qualifiers. In order to get a look at new players and begin shaping rosters for the World Cup, friendlies are played to allow coaches to determine which players are good enough to play internationally and which will be included in tournament and qualifying rosters.

    Friendlies are also pretty lucrative ;)

  • In reply to cesba:

    thanks bud

  • In reply to bert:

    Jay DeMerit says he's looking to come to MLS

    http://www.mlssoccer.com/news/article/demerit-time-right-join-mls

  • In reply to cesba:

    Give him the contract.
    Trade some draft picks to get the allocation spot, trade conde's rights to vancouver or something.
    Please Frank, let's get a CB and a Forward and a Center Midfielder. (to presumably replace Conde, Brown, McBride and Thor)

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