The last match between these two clubs was only was four weeks ago and neither side was able to field their best eleven, missing several key players. The Fire "rested" Sebastian Grazzini and the Crew were without Milan Mirosevic, who will miss this match although he was able to participate in Columbus' 0-0 draw against the Revolution last weekend. Andy Gruenebaum continues to play well in goal but Robert Warzycha will be without centerback Carlos Mendes. Schererville, Indiana native Eric Gehrig could get the start in his place next to Josh Williams. Sebastian Miranda and Nemanja Vukovic are the outside backs.
The Crew is also missing Dilly Duka due to an hamstring strain and Danny O'Rourke is doubtful with an ankle injury. Duka started on May 26 against the Fire and was replaced late in the match by Chris Birchall. Kevan George and the former Galaxy midfielder are the options at the holding spot. Tony Tchani, who is more of a central player than he is a winger where the Crew use him and Bernardo Anor started in that 2-1 victory on the outside with Eddie Gaven serving as a second striker.
Gavin and Justin Meram are options up top behind Emilio Renteria but the Crew don't really have a playmaker when Mirosevic isn't in the line-up. Even when he is on the field, the Chilean has only managed one goal in eleven games for the Crew. This should illustrate how difficult it is to find successful midfield playmakers in MLS.
Speaking of playmakers, Sebastian Grazzini may have two games remaining in his Fire career if the club does not pick up his option. The combination of Grazzini, Pavel Pardo, Logan Pause, Marco Pappa, and Patrick Nyarko looked very good against New York last week and should continue to start together in this match. One possible could change could see Chris Rolfe in the first eleven behind Dominic Oduro but I think it's more likely Rolfe comes off the bench again.
There should also be no changes to the starting defensive unit of Sean Johnson, Dan Gargan, Austin Berry, Jalil Anibaba, and Gonzalo Segares. Arne Friedrich's return to the line-up has apparently been pushed back to June 29 as the German defender continues to work on improving his fitness.
CHICAGO FIRE -- OUT: DF Cory Gibbs (R knee meniscus repair); MF Steven Kinney (R Achilles tendinitis)
COLUMBUS CREW -- OUT: FW Tommy Heinemann (L knee surgery); GK William Hesmer (R hip surgery); DF Chad Marshall (concussion); MF Kirk Urso (R adductor tendonitis); DF Rich Balchan (sports hernia rehab); MF Dilly Duka (L hamstring strain); DF Carlos Mendes (R ankle sprain); MF Milovan Mirosevic (L adductor strain); DOUBTFUL: MF Danny O'Rourke (L ankle sprain)
Columbus is 2-2-3 on the road with only 4 total goals scored but they are currently on a six game run without a loss. The Crew don't play an attractive style and they're sure to withdraw and play for a draw in this one given their apparent lack of firepower.
The Fire have another opportunity to put some distance between themselves and an Eastern Conference competitor that quite frankly they should beat. Chicago is a better side.
Fire 2 Crew 0