Fire v FC Dallas match preview

With only three games remaining it's time for yet another "must win" situation for the Fire. A reduced MLS schedule because of international competition leaves a good portion of the league idle this weekend but Chicago and their most likely challengers for the final spot are in action. The Union are in DC, New England and Montreal face each other but the Columbus Crew are on break. Philadelphia's last minute victory over Toronto FC may have helped them secure a spot, or at least avoid losing it depending on how you look at it but the Fire are still alive. The victory last weekend in the nation's capital bumped their chances up slightly and the unpredictability of MLS parity should provide for an exciting close to the season.

Projected line ups

Fire

Johnson; Segares, Berry, Soumare, Anibaba; Duka, Larentowicz, Alex, Nyarko; Magee, Anangono

FC Dallas

Fernandez; Benitez, Hedges, John, Acosta; Jacobson, Michel; Castillo, Diaz, Jackson; Cooper

Without Egidio Arevalo Rios in the lineup, Frank Klopas will have an opportunity to reunite Jeff Larentowicz and Alex in central midfield. The pairing enjoyed some success together before Rios arrived and that would seem to be the logical choice if the Fire are to looking to generate anything offensively from the middle to start the match. Teaming Logan Pause and Larentowicz wouldn't provide much going forward and may result in the same stale display evident in the first half against Montreal two weeks ago. FC Dallas' defense can be exploited and coming out conservatively may not be enough to pressure them into mistakes.

It seems David Ferreira has lost his starting spot to Mauro Diaz. The former MVP didn't even get off the bench last week against RSL. Kenny Cooper has a history of scoring against the Fire so he will be one to watch. Blas Perez is unavailable due to international duty with Panama. Goalkeeper Raul Fernandez did not accept a call from Peru and should be back in the line-up after missing the last game with an injury. Jackson did provide some spark against RSL last week and could provide a challenge with pace on the outside.

Referee

Kevin Stott

Injury report

Fire

OUT: Brendan King (L hamstring strain), Mike Videira (concussion symptoms)

FC Dallas

OUT: Eric Hassli (lower back sprain), Ugo Ihemilu (concussion), London Woodberry (R knee injury); QUESTIONABLE: Peter Luccin (stained L hamstring)

Prediction

Both teams are shaky defensively so there should be no shortage of opportunities for either side. However, the Fire can't allow Dallas to control the ball as much as DC did last week. There are indications that Schellas Hyndman will be out as coach once the season concludes and FCD is virtually out of the playoff race in the West sitting 7 points behind Colorado with only three games remaining.

It would appear that the "Hoops" have called it a season already. They are 1-3-1 in their last five matches and have won a paltry two games in their last eighteen (2-8-8) contests. A Fire win or draw would reclaim the Brimstone Cup (yes - it's still a thing) and this appears to be a winnable match despite Chicago's struggles on the road.

The Fire will likely need to win this match in order to keep pace with Philadelphia. The Union face DC United in Washington.

Fire 2 FC Dallas 1

The rest of the league

Montreal 1 New England 1

DC United 1 Philadelphia 2

Portland 3 Seattle 2

Season record 140/299

Don't forget USA v Jamaica in World Cup Qualifying this afternoon at 5:30.

 

Filed under: 2013 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire

Comments

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  • "Teaming Logan Pause and Larentowicz wouldn't provide much going forward and may result in the same stale display" - isn't this exactly what we are hoping for? A stodgy, sluggish, conservative midfield? Based on what we've seen so far this season it seems to be the norm at least.

    "Hey, you two in the middle: whatever you do out there, don't actually DO anything! Just be there!"

  • Dallas may be hard up to win, but they can still play a close game. Between that and our defensive lapses, I'm calling tie.

    Dal-Chi TIE
    Mtl-NE Mtl
    DC-Phi TIE
    Por-Sea Sea

    Mostly-season record 76-117

    Next week I think I've got a dinger of a pick...

  • In reply to BrianC.:

    You picking TFC next week? ;)

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Bigger. I had one of those dangerous intuitive flashes that if it panned out would be one of those "well, nobody saw that coming" picks. So...

  • I can't see it unless we win out.

  • Fire have struggled mightily on the road, especially against teams they should beat. FC Dallas is pretty much in the same spot in the West as the Fire are in the East, so I figure the advantage of being at home balances out against them being without Perez.

    This one has draw written ALL over it.

  • In reply to Jeff Krause:

    I'm with you, boring draw as this features 2 defensive teams that also are roughly only scoring 1.3 goals per game.

  • Sean Johnson has been called in for the final US World Cup Qualifier on Tuesday. He'll depart tomorrow and will not miss any games for the Fire.

  • Most important game of the year with ten minutes left and Thompson and Paladini are in. I'm not sure this is where I would want to be.

  • In reply to billj:

    Odd subs indeed

  • It worked just barely. lol. Credit where it's due. Good job guys. I hate Montreal.

  • I couldn't believe Magee's goal. I bet Rolfe couldn't either. When you're hot, you're hot I guess.

    But serious props to our D for getting into the attack over the past couple games - Baky and Anibaba put in pretty decent goals (Anibaba in particular). I wish that we would have had the foresight to leave a center back covering the Frankenstein that is Kenny Cooper instead of Segares, though. And SJ looked pissed to lose his clean sheet, with good reason.

    But overall it was great to see us take it to Dallas, put points up first, and let them chase. In some it was like the DC game, the difference being that if you take the standings at face value, Dallas is a much better team even after shipping 3 goals. Not sure we could put in 3 against a better team in the first place, but even if we did I'm not sure we'd have the concentration to hold a lead against a determined and competent opponent.

  • I liked the possession at the end of the game. The Fire would stop a Dallas attack and did not give the ball away easily. They actually almost scored a few times. I thought McGee could have passed a few times instead of shooting. I love the ability of Anongono to hold the ball with his back to goal. I think I saw/heard Frank screaming at the end of the game for the guys to press Dallas instead of sitting back and bunkering down. I think that and the team's ability to retain possession at the end of the game was why they were able to pull this one out. Montreal has a rough week ahead with two games and long travel. I think this helps the Fire. They could leap over Montreal by Sunday night.

  • It was great to see the team close this one out and not to have what happened against HOU, SEA, and MTL happen again. It pains me to see where we could be in the standings if we didn't give away the 5 extra points that we should have had in those games. We would have 51 points, a playoff spot all but secured, and actually have a chance at the supporters shield. But since we can't go back and change that, I hope we can take care of our business the rest of the way and that won't matter.

    As far as from here on out goes, MTL is fading fast. I think there is a chance we pass them and a small chance to even pass HOU. We will see.

  • In reply to DavidP:

    Montreal is in trouble.

  • Happy to be wrong on this one. Fire played well, and defense was fairly stout. Questionable PK call, but I thought the no call on JLA was right. Loving the Montreal free fall, although I don't really care who makes the playoffs as long as the Fire do. I keep holding onto hope that the club is hitting its stride at the right time, rather than backing into the playoffs like 2012.

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