Fire v Toronto FC match preview

Throw out all the "must win" clichés you want but this game is exactly that. If the Fire expect to make the playoffs they will need to continue beating the lower level clubs and Toronto FC definitely qualifies as such. At 4-13-10, they're only ahead of DC United for the dubious distinction of worst record in the league. The Fire cleaned up against them last season with three wins and that dominance will need to continue if Chicago wants to capitalize on the "game in hand" advantage it has against the other playoff contenders.

In the middle of yet another front office upheaval and a trade to offload forward Maxi Urruti, who the recently fired Kevin Payne spent months courting Toronto FC's annual circus makes the Fire organization look like a well oiled machine. A 2-4-7 record at home tells you just how bad this club is. With nothing to play for other than possibly looking competent enough to earn an invite back in 2014, Toronto FC shouldn't provide much resistance. If the Fire can take a lead like they did in Seattle they should be able to coast if they don't take their foot off the pedal (like they did in Seattle and against Houston).

Toronto's last five games include losses to Seattle and Columbus, draws against DC and New England, and a 4-0 drubbing this past weekend in Portland.

Projected line-ups

Fire

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

Toronto FC

Bendik; Elmer, Agbossoumonde, Caldwell, Eckersley; Convey, Hall, Russell, Rey; Weideman, Earnshaw

The line-up above is the eleven that Ryan Nelsen trotted out in Portland and there may be change or two. Ashtone Morgan is a possibility at left back, Doneil Henry has seen time at centerback, and Jonathan Osorio started in midfield in the draw at home against the Revolution. Bright Dike, the young forward acquired from Portland in exchange for Urruti is also an option. Earnshaw got off to a good start in MLS but has battled some injuries and has disappeared since April. None of this should frighten anyone.

Patrick Nyarko has come off the bench since returning from suffering through concussion symptoms but the Fire will need to work him back into the line-up at some point soon if they are to maximize their potential in the attacking third. If Nyarko is fully fit he should be in the starting group. This will be especially important if Mike Magee isn't able to start after being taken off at half time in Seattle due to a groin issue. Klopas said Magee was removed as a precaution. If he can't start and Nyarko isn't on the pitch, the Fire are limited creatively. The duo of Chris Rolfe and Juan Luis Anangonó failed to do much in the second half on Saturday. Perhaps they'll have an easier go against a weaker TFC side but Magee's presence is obviously critical to the rest of the season so he may begin this one on the bench.

Referee

Geoff Gamble

Prediction

The Fire don't make anything easy for themselves and Klopas may need to mix and match some spots with a more difficult opponent coming to Toyota Park on Saturday. If you're a playoff team, you've got to beat teams that simply aren't as good as you.

Fire 2 Toronto FC 1

Dos A Cero

USA has officially qualified for the 2014 World Cup by virtue of another 2-0 win over Mexico and Honduras' 2-2 draw against Panama. There is still something to play for however as the US can still finish at the top of the group. It will be interesting to see if Juergen Klinsmann makes any changes to the squad for the final two games on Oct. 11 against Jamaica and Oct. 15 in Panama.

Egidio Arevalo Rios and Joel Lindpere are headed back to Chicago after stints with their respective national teams and should be available Saturday. Rios played 90 minutes in Uruguay's 2-0 win over Colombia and they are still very much in the picture for next year's World Cup. Estonia has been eliminated. Lindpere did not play in a 5-1 loss to Hungary yesterday.

 

Filed under: 2013 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire

Comments

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  • Not a big deal, but I believe the Panama-Honduras final was 2-2; Jamaica and Costa Rica drew 1-1.

  • In reply to Mateu:

    You are correct.

  • If you could put Rios in for Pause, Magee in for Rolfe, and Jumper in for Sourmare this would be the strongest lineup the Fire could put on the field if Nyarko is up to par. This should be the Fire's lineup for the rest of the season but I doubt that Frank would start such a lineup,
    due to his nearsighted approach in managing the team.

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    I'm inclined to agree. I've been thinking the same. The only caveat would be that we really haven't seen enough of Jumper to be sure he's better than Soumare. But he's looked solid enough in the two starts he's had, I have to wonder why we haven't seen more of him to find out.

  • I mentioned this on another thread, but Lindpere had an awesome chip assist to Zenjov against the Netherlands on Friday. It was a brilliant game.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jG7JLeGJ9Mc

  • Could Jurgen bring "Jamaica Sean Johnson" to start the US-Jamaica game?

  • In reply to Roti2000:

    I loathe those ridiculous nicknames that guy hands out. I've heard Johnson isn't a big fan of that one either.

  • I'm going to miss this game. Wednesday nights are my night to exercise the hockey skates. I'm counting on the guys to put this one away without my active support but I'll be checking for the results the moment I get off the ice. Go Fire!

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    At the 43 minute is anyone playing soccer besides Duka, why is Rolfe still in the starting lineup? The Fire look pathetic, no excuse for the dismal level of play.

  • In reply to Ron Stone:

    I don't know if Rolfe's in an extended funk or if he's done, but he's been worse than useless for months now.

  • In reply to Ron Stone:

    No ... from either team. What a brutal game! If it ends in a tie both teams should get 0 pts!

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    Frank is a moron by taking out Duka instead of Rolfe or Alex.
    If the Fire don't make the playoffs., the reason why is spelt
    FRANk.

  • Uninspired vanilla soccer from a team fighting for a playoff spot. I found myself channel surfing during the game and found the home shopping channel more engaging and with better commentary.

  • Not wasting another minute watching this crap team this season. How pathetic is it to be outplayed by a team whose announcers spent half the game speculating about off-season rebuilding?

    Larentowicz, Soumare, Rolfe, Paladini, Anangono and Klopas should all be cut tomorrow. Even Magee was awful this game.

    We don't have any academy players that can see time over these bozos?

  • Guys, FYI the sky IS falling! WTF effort was that. No motivation... No emotion... At least from where I was watching. I lay this squarely on the head of the team. A good coach has his team up for a game like this. No excuses. The team just looks so listless and unprepared. No imagination. No creativity. Yet I bet we'll hear the same from the post game comments. INSANITY. Same shit game after game... No changes... What's the worst that can happen? Same sh. it.

  • Nyarko is not back in form as yet, Magee seemed somewhat out of sync, should have started Amarikwa instead of Alex, would have done better with a healthy Nyarko and if Rios was available the result might have been better, but still the team they had on the field should have cleaned Toronto's clock in the first place. Only positives for the Fire were Duka and Johnson, the pace by the Fire for most of the game was dismal, didn't look like a team fighting for a playoff spot, really would like to see Pineda come off the bench rather than some of the clowns they put in for subs.
    If the Fire , in either event of making the playoffs or not making the playoffs should fire Frank and Leon, if they still can't figure out the
    what players make the most dynamic lineup they're useless.
    Larentowicz at times appears to be confused on what side he is playing for, made many horrible passes tonight.

  • Was that my Fire, or the Mexican National; team in Fire jerseys?
    At least the Mexican National team got their coach fired. We should be so lucky,

  • I can't understand for the life of me how you sub out both Dilly Duka and Patrick Nyarko before the 70th minute. Just no idea.

  • 'Twas a great night to be skating!

  • So whatayasay? Shall we all take tomorrow off to build a platform for the guillotine in Toyota Parking Lot in advance of the arrival of the Revolution?

    Doesn't look like King Andy's got the balls to pull of his "big move." Perhaps we should behave inspirationally.

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