Fire v Chivas USA Match Preview

After defeating the Rochester Rhinos in US Open Cup play on Tuesday the Fire have travelled across the country to face a struggling Chivas USA team that has lost three in a row.  Since winning three of four matches in late April/early May  the Goats have gone 1-4-2 while allowing 12 goals in that span. 

Defensively, Robin Fraser has settled on a back four without veteran Jimmy Conrad, who hasn't played since the second game of the season due to a concussion.  The centerbacks in front of goalkeeper Dan Kennedy are Michael Umana and Heath Pearce.  Pearce has played every minute of every game after being acquired from FC Dallas and moved inside.  Rookie Zarek Valentin and veteran Ante Jazic are the right and left backs respectively.  That duo seems to be one that the Fire's outside wingers can exploit with speed.  Michael Lahoud has also started eight games in the back and could get a shot. 

The middle of pitch should be fairly evenly matched with Paulo Nagamura and Nick LaBrocca in central midfield against the Fire's combination which should see the return of Logan Pause.   On the outside Jorge Flores and Ben Zemanski aren't exactly dynamic and should prove to be good match ups for the Fire's fullbacks.  Chivas is not particularly deep but does have Panchito Mendoza back with them after a short stint in Mexico with the big goats. 

At the forward spot Chivas has gotten decent production from their top three front runners.  Justin Braun does provide an inviting target at 6'-3" and leads Chivas with 4 goals.  Marcos Mondaini, who served a four game suspension for his ankle breaking tackle on Javier Morales has scored 3 times.  The well travelled Alejandro Moreno has put 3 in the net as well but he is away at Copa America with Venezuela.

After playing with a patchwork back line in Rochester we should see the usual foursome on Saturday night of Jalil Anibaba, Yamith Cuesta, Cory Gibbs, and Gonzalo Segares.  Josip Mikulic is ready and fit but the Cuesta/Gibbs combination has probably played well enough to  merit continued starts although a misplayed ball against New York and a blown offside against New England which led to goals should plant the seed for replacement if mistakes continue. 

Team captain Logan Pause should be back in the line up after missing the last two games due to a concussion suffered in New England.  Pause has been training with Peter Cech-like  head gear as protection.  Daniel Paladini is out of this match with yellow card accumulation so the "attacking" mid spot will probably go to Baggio Husidic again.  Neither Husidic or Corben Bone have distinguished themselves recently in the middle so this may be a spot where Klopas does some experimenting .  Marco Pappa should be a starter along with Patrick Nyarko and Dominic Oduro but one of them will need to move forward in order to get them all on the pitch.   It's possible that we could see Pappa drop into a withdrawn forward role at some point ahead of Cristian Nazirit or Diego Chaves. 

Klopas has some options since both Oduro and Nyarko can also play forward.  Oduro has had some tough misses but overall his finishing has been better than advertised.  Nyarko's final touch is still a work in progress which probably makes him better suited to stay on the wings as a playmaker. 

Gibbs, Oduro, and Segares are all facing a one game ban upon receipt of a yellow card. 

Injury Report

Fire : OUT: Mike Banner M (L achilles tendinitis), Steven Kinney D (R achilles tendinitis), Marko Maric M (L deltoid sprain)

Chivas : DOUBTFUL : Jimmy Conrad D (concussion); QUESTIONABLE: Ante Jazic D (R calf strain); PROBABLE: Ben Zemanski M (R calf strain)

Referee: Andrew Chapin


Chivas has struggled at home going only 2-4-2 at the Home Depot Center.  Both teams are in desperate need of three points as they try to keep playoff hopes alive.  Dare I say another tie?

Fire 1 Chivas USA 1

The Rest of the League

Philadelphia 1 DC 1  - Dwayne DeRosario makes his debut with United but the Union generally play pretty tight defensively. 

Columbus 0 FC Dallas 2  - The Hoops are on a roll and Brek Shea seems to be scoring every week.

New York 2 San Jose 2 - The Red Bulls are in some flux and still need a goalkeeper and possibly another defender if they want to truly compete against the west.

Sporting KC 1 Portland 2 - KC is on a good run but Portland needs to regain their mojo at home before John Spencer has a meltdown.

Houston 0 Colorado 1 - A bit of a toss up but I'll go with the Rapids at home.


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  • I miss the old banner....this new layout is way to 'mac' for my blood. Anyhow....I don't see this Chivas match-up as an even affair. 3-1 Fire. Also, while Patrick CAN play in the forward position, he should not really ever be placed up there. His lack of tenacity and his failure to shoot when he should shoot, pass when he should pass and the overall lack of knowing when to do which almost certainly means he should not be in that position.

    I hope at some point we see Barrouch, Bone and Baggio in at the same time. The sum of the parts equal more than the individuals on their own.

    Contain Justin Braun and don't let Mondaini break anything on anyone on the Fire and we should be good.

  • In reply to giaco:

    I tend to agree with you....they are better than Chivas but they have proven that they can coax a draw out of just about everybody and anybody.

  • Here we go, here we go, here we go. I almost curious about the placement of, and passing between Nyarko, Pappa and Ordoro. I'd can see Ordoro going up top, based on previous starts at fwd. I'd like to see how he and Nazarit look together. Yet I do prefer the Speed Kills formation of Nyarko and Ordoro on the outside.... So let's see Pappa up top, I'm curios in general about him as a fwd. I'd like to see if his being closer to the goal, increases or decreases his long range shots, but more importantly, I'd like his goals scored to increase.
    Whatever gives Frankie and the boys the win, go Fire.

  • In reply to ChrisConnolly:

    Almost curious = am most curious.
    I'd can = I can
    Haha, 1st typos and 1st self correction on the new format.

  • i have to agree, i think the fire will probably see most of the possesion tonight but will end up tieing again. i also haven't been impressed with baggio this season. he seems to not want the responsibility of creating or trying to create like paladini does. i would rather see bone start in the center tonight. 13 days until we see(maybe) a new general in the center.

  • Cheesesteaks tie Voltzvagons, and keep each others point totals down, for a little encouragement.

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