The Fire have another golden opportunity to pick up three points at home with a struggling DC United in town this Sunday. At 1-9-2 (0-4-1 on the road with 1 goal scored) and a whopping -16 goal differential, DC United is sitting at the bottom of the MLS table. They've struggled to score and they're not very good defensively.....a bad combination.
The Fire have found it difficult to score themselves but they've managed to inject some optimism with the acquisitions of Bakary Soumare and more importantly Mike Magee. DC on the other hand seems to be headed into full meltdown mode with Dwayne De Rosario challenging Ben Olsen's coaching decisions last weekend after a loss to Portland at home. Olsen decided to start Carlos Ruiz in favor of De Rosario who has been largely ineffective so far this season. De Rosario didn't take kindly to it and publicly questioned Olsen by telling reporters, "“There is talent in this locker room, but I don’t know if we are using the talent to the best of its ability.” The two have reportedly patched things up but United appears to be in for a long summer.
Olsen for his part didn't hesitate to throw players under the bus either. “It’s embarrassing how soft we are, everywhere around the field,” he said after the Portland game. “We had just a couple individuals really show up and show that this really [expletive] matters. I’ve had it with that part. We’re going to get new guys in here because we are not good enough. It seems like we are always a player or two short every time I fill out my starting lineup. You can put that on me, but that is not going to continue." He later apologized for those comments, calling it an emotional overreaction.
Projected Line Ups
Johnson; Anibaba, Soumare, Berry, Segares; Nyarko, Pause, Larentowicz, Duka; Rolfe, Magee
Willis; Korb, McDonald, White, Riley; Kitchen, Augusto, Porter, DeLeon, Pontius; Ruiz
Sean Johnson is back with the Fire but Bill Hamid is still away with the USMNT. Olsen played De Rosario for 120 minutes in a USOC match on Tuesday so it remains to be seen if he'll start him in this game. DC defeated the USL Richmond Kickers on penalty kicks Tuesday night after playing through a scoreless regulation and overtime. Lionard Pajoy was the target man in that match. Former Fire defender Daniel Woolard also started the game and he could get the call again if Ethan White and Dejan Jakovic are unavailable due to injury.
DC released Panamanian midfielder Marcos Sanchez, who started six games this season and signed MLS veteran Sainey Nyassi. After playing 45 minutes on Tuesday he could also see some time in this one.
It will be interesting to see if Klopas goes back to two holding midfielders after playing with just one in the game against Charlotte on Wednesday. Pause played the first half and was replaced by Larentowicz to start the second. Alex started the USOC match in central midfield.
OUT: Arne Friedrich (L hamstring tightness), Steven Kinney (R quad strain); QUESTIONABLE: Daniel Paladini (L calf inflammation), Maicon Santos (L shoulder sparin)
OUT: Lewis Neal (pubic stress reaction), Marcelo Saragosa (R knee surgery); QUESTIONABLE: Dejan Jakovic (L groin strain), John Thorrington (L calf strain), Ethan White (L adductor strain)
United is on the ropes and the Fire must take advantage at home. Olsen may stick to his threat of shaking things up so just about any line-up variation is possible from them. Frank Klopas finally has an opportunity to settle on a starting eleven with Soumare and Magee in the squad and if Wednesday is any indication the Rolfe/Magee partnership should be able to do some damage against an already weak DC defense that now faces injury concerns.
Fire 2 DC United 0
The rest of the league
Toronto FC 2 Philadelphia 2
New York 2 Vancouver 1
Columbus 1 Houston 1
Sporting KC 1 Montreal 1
Colorado 1 FC Dallas 2
Real Salt Lake 1 San Jose 0
Chivas USA 0 Seattle 2
New England 0 Los Angeles 1
Season record 55/119
As expected, Sean Johnson has been named to the preliminary roster for the Gold Cup competition. Here's the complete run down for each country.