Fire v Rapids match preview

The Fire appear to be catching another club at just the right time with the Colorado Rapids coming into Toyota Park at less than full strength. The Rapids weren't expected to contend for much in the West this season but at 5-5-5 they've overachieved amid a string of injuries and reliance on several young players. In this contest they'll be without several contributors who have logged starters minutes this season. Leading scorer Atiba Harris is suspended due to a red card and midfielder Hendry Thomas has been banned for one game by the MLS Disciplinary Committee. Coach Oscar Pareja has also been whacked by the MLSDC for his actions during a 2-1 loss to San Jose this weekend and won't be in attendance.

The Rapids are starting to get some players back however. Jamie Castrillon and Martin Rivero, two key offensive weapons are finally available after dealing with injuries. Both were second half substitutions against the Earthquakes (Castrillon's 2013 debut) and could be moved into starting roles in this match. Pablo Mastroeni was dealt to Los Angeles on Monday but he's not been much more than a part-time player this season.

The Fire were idle this past weekend but they now face a tough stretch of three games in the span of a week. Both Colorado and Chicago have upcoming MLS games on Saturday and the Fire also have the US Open Cup quarterfinal match to consider next Wednesday night.

Projected Line Ups

Rapids

Irwin; Klute, Moor, Wynne, Mullan; Powers, Sturgis, Rivero; Brown, Buddle, Castrillon

Fire

Johnson; Segares, Soumare, Berry, Anibaba; Duka, Pause, Alex, Nyarko; Rolfe, Magee

Colorado will move Marvell Wynne inside again in the absence of Shane O'Neill, who has started 8 games at centerback but is away with the USMNT U-20's in Turkey. Colorado generally prefers a 4-3-3 formation which could open up space for the Chicago attack like it did in the second half against Portland who runs it much better than the Rapids do. Deshorn Brown, Clint Irwin, Chris Klute and Dillon Powers have impressed as MLS rookies.

Referee

Edvin Jurisevic

Injury Report

Fire

OUT: Arne Friedrich (hip tightness), Steven Kinney (R quad strain)

Rapids

OUT: Diego Calderon (R knee surgery), Brenton Griffiths (R shoulder dislocation), Matt Pickens (L arm fracture); QUESTIONABLE: Jamie Smith (R groin strain)

Prediction

The Fire are riding a 5 match unbeaten run (including 2 USOC victories) and I don't see much reason to believe they won't make it six. They might have been a bit too reverential in the first half against Portland last week and the delayed start to the Columbus USOC match may have been partially the cause for a sluggish first half but they managed to get positive results in both games. An uncharacteristic quick start may put Colorado on their heels and make this one a little more comfortable than the last two matches. Colorado will be without important starters, their head coach, and they're trying to ease two more regulars back into the line-up. That's not even mentioning their issues in getting to Chicago in the first place.

Fire 2 Rapids 0

The rest of the league

There are three other games tonight. As always I'll take a blind stab at those as well.

Montreal 1 Houston 1

Vancouver 2 Chivas USA 0

Los Angeles 2 Portland 1

Season to date 65/138

 

Comments

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  • As we've said throughout this season w/ games like this, there's no reason for the Fire to walk away without points. Game should be theirs for the taking.

    On a sidenote, I think Portland beats LA tonight. :)

  • In reply to Jeff Krause:

    My thinking on that one.....Gotta lose some time.

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    I agree with Jeff, the Fire should pull out the points tonight. That being said, I'm still a little concerned about where our goals will come from when Magee isn't scoring every game. That said, he and Paladini on the field at the same time bring a LOT of emotion and passion to that lineup. Again, no reason not to get 3 points tonight.

  • In reply to Steve Sanders:

    Where the goals will come from when Magee isn't scoring is a legit question. I don't think we'll know the answer until July.

  • Line Ups

    Fire
    GK Johnson
    D Anibaba, Berry, Soumare, Segares
    M Nyarko, Larentowicz, Alex, Duka
    F Rolfe, Magee

    Bench: Tornaghi, Lindpere, Paladini, Pause, Thompson, Amarikwa, MacDonald

    Rapids
    GK Irwin
    D Mullan, Wynne, Moor, Klute
    M Powers, Castrillon, Sturgis
    F Brown, Buddle, Rivero

    Bench: Ceus, Mera, Wallace, LaBrocca, Cascio, Hill, Mwanga

  • VICTORY IS OURS!

    Sure they were depleted... I don't care.

    We are shaky in back... I don't care.

    They hit the post multiple times... I don't care.

    We should have had more... I don't care.

    We won. I care.

  • In reply to Modibo:

    This years wins remind me of the scene in hot tub time machine when Stu and Jacob get invited back to a girls room and Stu says "it's still a threesome"

  • In reply to john:

    HA!

  • They'll be lucky to make the playoffs with a defense like a sieve.
    At first it was the offense that sucked, now that's improving, the defese sucks, too many openings and gaps. Glad they won, but they'll have to tighen up the defese to be true contenders.

  • Defense was pretty awful and they played pretty sloppy overall, winning ugly is still wining though. Glad they got the win but just wish they would be able to maintain possession and control the game more.

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