The Fire did what they had to do in exposing a suspect Philadelphia back line last week and created numerous opportunities to score over the course of last week's match. They only thing they didn't do was finish their chances. On Wednesday night, the Union actually played a decent first half against the Los Angeles Galaxy only allowing a Zac MacMath own goal in a 1-1 stalemate at the break.
What happened in the second half of that match was an entirely different story. The Galaxy uncovered gaping holes in the Philadelphia defense en route to a 4-1 laugher. So did the Fire last Saturday afternoon but there was no one laughing at Toyota Park. Chicago will get another opportunity in this game with the Union playing their third match in seven days and should approach this one with the same attacking mentality employed last weekend.
John Hackworth juggled some pieces around in the second half with disastrous results. Not only did the backline appear gassed but substituting Conor Casey and Antoine Hoppenot for Sebastien LeToux and Danny Cruz changed the momentum in play to the favor of Los Angeles. One change from the Fire game that seemed to work against Los Angeles was the decision to start Kleberson in midfield so I'd expect that the Brazilian will get another start in this match.
Bakary Soumare looked to be running on fumes late in the game Wednesday night but Jeff Parke appears to be close to a return so it will likely be back to the bench for the former Fire defender. The Fire should continue to push the attack by going right at Ray Gaddis on the left side. He was largely absent or out of position during much of the Galaxy's romp through the Philly defense in the final 45 minutes two days ago and he was victimized by Patrick Nyarko on more than one occasion last weekend.
MacMath; Williams, Okugo, Parke, Gaddis; Cruz, Kleberson, Carroll, Daniel; Casey, McInerney
Johnson; Segares, Anibaba, Berry, Thompson; Duka, Larentowicz, Pause, Lindpere; Rolfe, Nyarko
Philly will have Sheanon Williams back and Jeff Parke could return so the going may not be as easy as it was in the last match. The remaining Farfan may also get a call ahead of Keon Daniel as Kleberson slides into a central role.
Frank Klopas has no reason to change the Nyarko/Rolfe combination up top since it is the best available combination at the moment and the tactic actually worked last weekend (well except for that pesky scoring detail). Sherjill MacDonald has returned to training and is apparently no longer contagious (at least because of illness) so it will be interesting to see if he is in the 18 without a full week of practice, especially considering the latest injury to Maicon Santos.
Jeff Larentowicz is back after serving a one game red card suspension so he'll undoubtedly return to the middle with Logan Pause. Dilly Duka started on the right last week and played relatively well. I'd prefer to see Daniel Paladini start ahead of Joel Lindpere but Paladini is now listed as questionable.
OUT: Michael Lahoud (lower abdomen strain); QUESTIONABLE: Jeff Parke (L hamstring strain)
OUT: Arne Friedrich (L hamstring tightness), Steven Kinney (R quad strain); QUESTIONABLE: Hunter Jumper (R groin strain), Maicon Santos (R shoulder sprain), Victor Pineda (R ankle sprain), Daniel Paladini (L calf inflammation)
The Fire desperately need a result after blowing three points against this same club one week ago. A trip to Real Salt Lake looms next so a loss here and things could really get ugly.
Fire 1 Union 1
The rest of the league
Toronto 2 Columbus 1
Vancouver 1 Portland 1
Houston 2 New England 0
Seattle 2 FC Dallas 1
San Jose 2 Colorado 1
New York 2 Los Angeles 2
DC United 0 Sporting KC 2
Chivas USA 0 Real Salt Lake 1
Season record 46/101
Forlán to MLS?
I posted this story in the comments section last night and it's worth posting again. Uruguayan forward Diego Forlán has expressed an interest in playing in the United States. The World Cup veteran told Sport 890 in Uruguay that a rumored move to Liga Mx this summer was all rumor and speculation. He went on to say that he "would love to play in MLS."
"I'd like to go to MLS, but there haven't been any offers. There never have been, but I'd like to go (to the US). It's a country that I like very much and I've been there many times on vacation. I'd love to go," said Forlán.
If ever there was an opportunity to bring in a world class player who would make an immediate impact on and off the pitch while also satisfying the core fan base....this would be it. Although he has one year remaining on his deal at Internacional in Brazil, Forlán indicated that he doesn't rule out something coming up like an offer to the club or to the player.
Forlán reportedly has an offer from Queretaro in Mexico for somewhere in the neighborhood of $3 million per year but he dismissed that as rumor, saying he hasn't been contacted about a deal.