Fire v Sporting KC match preview

Definition of Rivalry

:the act of: the state of being a:

:the act of rivaling: the state of being a rival: competition

Examples of rivalry

  1. there is a bitter rivalry between two groups
  2. a strong sense of rivalry

Definition of rival

  1. one of two or more striving to reach or obtain something that only one can possess
  2. one striving for competitive advantage


The preceding is the definition of the words "rivalry" and "rival" given in Merriam-Webster's online dictionary. While not everyone considers Sporting Kansas City to be a "rival" in the sense that they don't necessarily conjure hard feelings in the hearts of Chicago supporters, MLS is billing matches to be played this weekend as part of something they are touting as "Rivalry Week'.

Sure, it probably would have made more sense from a Chicago perspective to schedule a match between the Fire and Columbus, DC United, last weekend's opponent New England, or even FC Dallas  in order to give more meaning to the term "rivalry" this weekend but there are a few valid (and some equally questionable) reasons for explaining why the league would feature this match as a national showcase game in the middle of a slate of potentially contentious match-ups this weekend. Let's just assume that the obvious angle surrounding geographical proximity is a given in terms of justifying a legitimate rivalry. Let's also ignore that Columbus is the closest MLS city to Chicago.

Let's also get by the painfully blatant fact that the league (and apparently the front office in Kansas City) is attempting to artificially create rivalries in order to draw viewers to television programming which centers around NBC Sports Network's stab at a "Red Zone" type of program this Saturday while all of these rivalry matches are taking place. For the record, this is a good thing and an excellent concept if NBC can pull it off correctly but it's coming off as forced in the context of some of the rivalry matches.

True rivalries as football fans see them need to happen organically over the course of time with both sides experiencing the ups and downs, heartbreaks and triumphs that can only be attained through playing meaningful games against each other. Rivalries that are important to supporters can't be manufactured through sandwich promotions, snazzy television production, GIF's, or even league mandates that rivalries need to be pushed in order to generate the all important television ratings numbers that will eventually lead to MLS flourishing on a national level.

It's got to happen on the field, not in the television booth, or on the marketing desk. Otherwise, "Superclasico's" that have nothing classic about them will come off as contrived, made for tv productions with little authenticity behind them.

Sporting may be Chicago's rival in the broad Merriam-Webster definition of the word but in reality they're no bigger rival for the Fire than Houston or New York. They're an Eastern conference foe that the Fire need to beat. For now, the rivalry isn't really much more than that.

For now.

The actual game

Sporting KC has been uncharacteristically shaky defensively in the first two games of the season and they could be facing some of the same defensive issues that are plaguing the Fire. Both Aurelien Collin and Chance Myers are listed as questionable for this match. Give aways in the back led to scoring opportunities for Philadelphia in their opener and Robert Earnshaw punished them for sloppiness in Toronto last week. They're still dangerous offensively with Graham Zusi running the operation although they're playing a different style than they did last season.

Possible starting line ups


GK Jimmy Nielsen

D Sinovic, Besler, Collin, Myers

M Feilhaber, Rosell, Nagamura

F Sapong, Bieler, Zusi


GK Johnson

D Segares, Berry, Anibaba, Thompson

M Duka, Larentowicz, Lindpere, Nyarko

F Rolfe, Santos


Silviu Petrescu

Injury Report

Chicago - OUT: Arne Friedrich, Brendan King, Steven Kinney, Victor Pineda - QUESTIONABLE: Logan Pause

Sporting - OUT: Teal Bunbury, Jacob Peterson - QUESTIONABLE: Chance Myers, Aurelien Collin


It's tough to see the Fire going into Kansas City and coming out with three points given their form to start the season. Kansas City may be vulnerable at the moment but one has to question if the Fire can finish chances consistently. It will also take a herculean defensive effort given the injuries in back to keep Sporting at bay.

SKC 2 Fire 1

The rest of the league - RIVALRY WEEK!!!!

DC 2 New York 2

Toronto 1 Montreal 2

New England 0 Philadelphia 1

San Jose 1 Columbus 1

Colorado 0 Real Salt Lake 2

Portland 2 Seattle 3

Houston 2 FC Dallas 1

Chivas 0 Los Angeles 3

Record to date: 9/17


Filed under: 2013 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire


Leave a comment
  • What a mess the team is in. Imagine Seattle goes out and buys a tremendous world class player named Martin and we do basically nothing. The Estonian can shot but he runs like I do when I have goute and just cannot not create those pass throughs that make the game so lovely. At this point all the teams got more technical and the fire just pass forward to to supposed pivot guys and loses the ball.

  • In reply to brokerjohn:

    Don't worry....the Fire will get Martins from Seattle in 2 years. ;)

    But seriously....this team isn't that bad. They'll get better but it will take some patience.

  • I think we'd be a little less bent out of shape if it weren't that we're one of the three nationally televised "rivalries". Dal-hou or col-rsl are both truer rivalry games. But because we're a top market, we're national, which is great.

  • In reply to Fuegofan:

    If there's a "rivalry week" next season I wonder if all the match ups will remain the same or if MLS will try to manufacture other rivalries to suit whatever NBC wants to push.

    There are some genuine rivalries throughout the league and those are the games that's should be pushed in a "rivalry week". Of course rivalries can change from year to year based on coaches and players moving so it will be interesting to see if they cater "rivalry week" to fit those circumstances on an annual basis.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    There is no reality in marketing. It's anathema to a marketing specialist. For that reason alone, I ALWAYS ignore the marketing spin on principle.

  • Starting Line Ups


    GK Nielsen
    D Jerome, Collin, Besler, Sinovic
    M Nagamura, Rosell, Feilhaber
    F Zusi, Bieler, Sapong

    Bench: Kronberg, Opara, Gardner, Olum, Lopez, Convey, Saad

    GK Johnson
    D Segares, Berry, Anibaba, Videira
    M Nyarko, Larentowicz, Paladini, Duka

    Bench: Tornaghi, Jumper, Thompson, Alex, Amarikwa, Santos, Lindpere

    Paladini gets the start ahead of Lindpere....could Klopas be switching back to a 4-2-3-1?

  • 270 minutes without a goal. Book it.

  • Anybody else having trouble understanding this guy "Robby."? You'd think NBC could get somebody we could understand.

  • In reply to nery:

    I have no problem whatsoever understanding him.

  • 3 observations at halftime.

    1. MacDonald is woefully slow
    2. The inability to show any sort of possession is worrisome.
    3. KC play for each other. When they lose possession, they work hard to regain it. The Fire just hope someone gets on the end of a pass.
    If KC were sharper today it would be ugly.
    Let's see what Frank does at halftime...

  • In reply to DerSting:

    Also, KC always seem to have 4-5 players in and around the box while attacking. We seel lucky to have 2 or 3...

  • Not seeing how Paladini is an upgrade over even an over the hill Lindpere. It's begging to look like Lindpere's bad season last year was not an anomaly.
    I strongly disagree with Krause and Guillermo's contention that this team is better than its shown. I think it is what it is and you can't hope to have a good team based on a run this team had towards the end of the season last year...before they Slumped again at te very end.
    I believe the run they had was the league getting caught off guard by the new Rolfe/ McDonald partnership. It's apparent the league had caught up with them since then. If we believe we will win withoth othet teams castoffs we will never win. Our scouting sucks and now the team is paying for it.

  • In reply to MikeRUZE:

    The folks truely in control of the running of this team see it as strictly a business. If we believe we will win with other team's castoffs, they will happily continue to sell it to us.

    This is a city that has continued to support the loveable losers, and has supported them very well in the last 30 years. See what fruit it has born for Cubs fans.

  • In reply to MikeRUZE:

    That short run was 17 wins.....just sayin'

  • Hate to say it but really losing interest in this team and its style of play. I was unable to watch the game cause the channel wasn in my package..and I wasn't the least bit upset and didnt miss it. If they don't improve I will not continue to pay for boring mediocrity

  • In reply to MikeRUZE:

    it was entertaining enough, but the fire are for the most part sloppy and slow. lots of uninspiring play from the fire thus far. kc was without question the superior side, we were lucky to escape with a point.

  • Happy for a result, but the team appears mediocre at best. I'm quite unimpressed with the entire midfield and forward groups besides Nyarko and Rolfe.

  • At some point someone has to fix the Fire's inability to connect passes. It was painful. My son's U12 team connects more passes in midfield. Larentowicz has to be allowed to go foward otherwise the Fire will never have the numbers in the box. Crosses to no one lead to no goals. Again.

  • 270 minutes without a goal. Poor passing. Silly offsides. Players playing out of position in the third game of the season. Poor team spead. Fitness issues. I'll hang in there because the alternative is watching baseball, which is the most God awful spectator sport ever invented, but I'm not fooled by the fact that this is a team that needs a lot of work. What I've seen in three matches is not encouraging. The only thing going for me is at least I'm not a Kansas City fan, because they have to be kicking themselves for not winning this one..

  • KC controlled possession, but (at least in person) they played incredibly sloppy as well. The result that came about was exactly the result that was deserved by both sides. MacDonald's inability to do nearly anything striker-ish this season has put a pretty big burden on Rolfe to create anything and everything, including quality shots. I personally thought this was going to be another 45 minute outing for Mack, and I really don't see how it wasn't. His runs and decision making was Bush League at best.

    The backline looked far better today, but Vidiera was getting smoked on the right side. I counted at least two 1st half plays where Vidiera got absolutely dusted down the sideline. His first half distribution out the back was horrendous as well. He was constantly playing balls over the top to absolutely no one. They weren't even balls the forwards could run on to. We're talking no-one-within-30-yards balls.

    The Fire have looked better in each successive game thusfar this season. They continued that trend in some respects today. That said, three games without scoring a goal is inexcusable. The chances they have gotten should have at least yielded a goal per match. How they haven't gotten on the board yet 3 weeks into the season is beyond me. This team does have talent, but something has to break soon with regards to their horrible finishing.

  • That was embarrassing! The inability to complete ANY passes was mind-boggling. The Fire has 4 legitimate soccer players: (1)Chris Rolf (definitely man of the match since he had the entire burden of trying to pretend that the Fire HAS an offense).(2) and (3) Anibaba and Berry (how many points can a team accumulate from 0 - 0 draws?) (4) Sean Johnson. The rest of this assembly of leftovers and retreads should be flushed. Nyarko is salvageable but not a presence to be shouted about.
    I would love to blame Frank for assembling this mess but he had to have had some help from the front office -- lack of money. However, the mark of a good coach is the ability to find inexpensive talent -- "Billy Ball".
    BTW, my opinion would be the same even if they had stolen the game on a last minute counter. It is just a totally incompetent team -- awful passing, trapping, shielding and overall awareness. What in the name of God has happened to the Fire of old? When Arne Frederich gets back the defense will be the only competent element on the field. Lots of bunkering and 0 - 0 ties.
    If management had any guts they would tell the world that they are starting over -- sign the entire U-20 NT.

  • Which one, the US or the Uruguayan?

    I hope Frank has them do lots of basic U16 passing and transition drills this week. I have seen high school teams pass better and work harder for each other than that sorry display.

    Even with Pause and Friedrich back, this team generates little offense. I hope Chivas gifts us a couple of OGs, it seems like it is the only way they are going to score ithe next couple of games.

Leave a comment