Repeating the "must win" mantra is getting a bit old because all five remaining games could very well be critical for the Fire's playoff hopes. Seeing that this match is one of only two remaining home games it's easy to understand why the Fire need maximum points on Saturday night. A win would incredibly pull them to within three points of third place Montreal but a loss would do some serious damage given that Houston and New England play each other and the winner of that contest could create an insurmountable distance from Chicago.
Projected line ups
Fire: Johnson; Anibaba, Berry, Jumper, Segares; Nyarko, Larentowicz, Rios, Duka; Magee, Anangono
Impact: Perkins; Brovski, Nesta, Ferrari, Camara; Warner, Bernier, Mapp, Arnaud, Romero; Di Vaio
The Fire defeated Montreal 2-1 at Toyota Park back on August 10 and the Impact's creator Felipe did not start in that match. Montreal was limp offensively in that game until Felipe entered the match and made it a contest. Chicago will catch a break again as the Brazilian is out of this one due to card accumulation. Andrea Pisanu, Andres Romero, and Daniele Paponi are all options who have seen playing time for Montreal.
The big question for the Fire is who will start in place of the suspended Bakary Soumare. Frank Klopas moved Jeff Larentowicz into a centerback spot in Columbus after Soumare was shown a red card and the coach says both Larentowicz and Hunter Jumper are options to start there in this game. Jumper played well in his last start in Soumare's place against Sporting Kansas City and you would think he'd be the automatic choice but the Fire coaching staff may be leary of his inexperience against Di Vaio's craftiness while toeing the offside position. Moving Larentowicz out of his natural spot could weaken central midfield however. A combination of Alex and Egidio Arevalo Rios seems more logical than Logan Pause and Rios if Klopas is looking to push the game offensively and Larentowicz is moved into the back.
Patrick Nyarko talked about not being quite at 100% yet in the latest Fire Confidential Podcast so the starters on the outside could see a combination of Nyarko, Dilly Duka, Joel Lindpere, or even Alex again out wide. Juan Luis Anangono seems to have taken over a starting spot over Chris Rolfe but the latter could see some time at right mid as well.
The Fire should attempt to push against a questionable Montreal defense.
Montreal has been up and down after a hot start to the season. The Impact are 4-6-3 on the road but they've lost their last two MLS contests at home. They also played a Tuesday night CCL game which featured a mix of mostly bench players with a few starters.
This playoff chase for the fourth and fifth spots likely won't be decided until the final weekend of the season.
Fire 2 Impact 1
The rest of the league
Picking MLS winners is hard.....
Sporting KC 2 Philadelphia 0
Toronto FC 1 DC United 2
Vancouver 1 Real Salt Lake 2
New England 2 Houston 1
Portland 2 Los Angeles 2
FC Dallas 2 Columbus 1
Seattle 2 New York 0
Chivas USA 2 San Jose 2
Season record 133/278 48%
Fire Confidential Podcast
After a brief break we've got a new Fire Confidential Podcast complete just in time for pre-game listening. Patrick Nyarko joins us and talks about the playoff hunt, concussion scares, and being fouled continuously.
You can click here or listen on the right rail.
- Just in case anyone was wondering. No there will be no coaching change right now. Jesse Marsch is not taking over any time soon.
- There will be a front office change or two in the near future although there doesn't appear to be any rush in making an announcement as the club continues to search for and interview candidates for a prominent position on the technical staff.
- The Fire announced a deal to air games in Cheese land. This should help get some exposure with our neighbors to the north.
- Egidio Arevalo Rios has been named to the provisional squad for Uruguay's upcoming World Cup Qualifiers. He is likely to miss the October 12 match in Dallas.
- The winner of the Third Kit contest will be announced on October 8 at a 16th anniversary party to be held in Toyota Park's Stadium Club. Let's hope it's the Flag kit.
Eastern Conference Standings
|1||New York Red Bulls||51||30||1.7||15||9||6||47||36||11||27||15||20||-4|
|2||Sporting Kansas City||48||29||1.66||14||9||6||43||28||15||28||14||15||1|
|5||New England Revolution||40||29||1.38||11||11||7||41||33||8||25||12||16||-4|