Fire v DC United match preview

DC United went through an overhaul this offseason in an attempt to reinvent themselves after a historically bad 2013. So far the result of those changes has been a repeat of the same outcomes however. An 0-2 start after an opening day 3-0 slapping from Columbus at home and a 1-0 road defeat at Toronto shows very little improvement from this year to last. That can be expected with the amount of turnover in the roster and change in the starting eleven but they haven't shown much in terms of hope for the immediate future either.

Midfield play has been woeful and they've only been able to muster three shots on goal. Yes.....three shots on goal...as a team. DC has allowed more goals in two games than attempts that they've been able to get on frame themselves. They did manage to maintain a 62-38 possession advantage against TFC last weekend but did absolutely nothing with the ball in attempting a measly six shots on goal. Only two of those tries were on target.

Defensively their four man midfield with Perry Kitchen acting as the sole holding mid with Luis Silva at the top and Nick DeLeon and Davy Arnaud on the outside was picked apart by the Crew. Toronto had some success creating chances as well although they only scored once. At some point Ben Olsen, who should be one of the first coaches on the hot seat this season, will need to get Kitchen some help. How he does that without detracting from an already anemic attack is a problem with no easy solution.

From the Fire's end it seems likely that Frank Yallop will keep the starting eleven similar to the one that drew against New York last weekend. Lovel Palmer has one more game to sit out due to suspension and Gonzalo Segares still has not healed from an ankle injury suffered against Portland. Patrick Nyarko is available after serving a one game mandatory red card ban but Harry Shipp will be hard to displace from the eleven.

Possible line ups

Fire: Johnson; Cochrane, Soumare, Hurtado, Watson; Joya, Larentowicz, Alex, Shipp; Magee, Amarikwa

Top subs: Duka, Rolfe, Nyarko, Ianni

DC: Hamid; Cristian, Parke, Boswell, Franklin; Arnaud, Kitchen, Silva, DeLeon; Espindola, Johnson

Top subs: Martin, Jeffrey, Attakora, Porter

The Fire need to find a bit more width and Joya isn't a natural outside player. If Dilly Duka is fully fit, Yallop could slot him back into the line up on the left side. Nyarko will probably need to earn his way back in considering Shipp's progress and two difficult outings to start the season. He could be dangerous off the bench if he's back on form. Matt Watson and Greg Cochrane were good enough against New York to get on the field again this week.

Fabian Espindola and Eddie Johnson would appear to be a tandem capable of creating some chances but both have been next to invisible through two games. A lot of that may have to do with the lack of service from midfield where they are missing Chris Pontius' presence due to injury. Arnaud ran into the considerable cranium of Michael Bradley last weekend and Kyle Porter could step into his place.

Injury report

Fire - OUT: Steven Kinney (hamstring strain); QUESTIONABLE: Gonzalo Segares (ankle sprain)

DC - OUT: Chris Pontius (L hamstring), Jalen Robinson (L hamstring), Chris Korb (L knee surgery), Conor Shanosky (L wrist)

Referee

Jair Marrufo

Prediction

Winning on the road is not easy in MLS but it's better to catch DC early rather than later in the season when they've had a chance to blend in all of their changes. If the Fire can pressure them up the middle with Alex getting forward in link up play with Magee and Shipp they'll force Silva to drop back and get Kitchen some help. Olsen will need to adjust what they've done over the first two games if they want to turn things around.

I don't think this is the week that happens.

Fire 1 DC United 0

The rest of the league

Philadelphia 2 Montreal 1

Colorado 1 Sporting KC 1

Vancouver 2 Houston 1

FC Dallas 1 Portland 0

Real Salt Lake 1 Toronto FC 1

Seattle 2 Columbus 1

San Jose 1 New England 0

New York 1 Chivas USA 0

Season Record 8-17

Filed under: 2014 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire

Comments

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  • Fyi, you have joya listed as a starter and top sub.

    Poor Kinney.....sheesh.

  • In reply to Tweaky:

    Thanks....one of those Joya's should have been a Duka. Corrected.

  • Week 4 picks:

    Phi-Mon Mon
    DC-Chi Chi
    Col-SKC KC
    Van-Hou Hou
    Dal-Por Tie
    RSL-Tor Tie
    Sea-Clb Sea
    SJ-NE SJ
    NY-Chv NY

    Tough week for picks.

    Season record 11-14

  • In reply to BrianC.:

    Eleven ain't bad so far!

  • I would start Duka over Joya. Duka is a better wing. Joya could come in for Alex to give a different attack. I am thinking that Joya will get forward more than Alex and will be able to work off of a Shipp pass better than Alex. Over the long run I see Joya taking Alex's role. He has a far greater upside.

  • In reply to Krasov:

    I agree with that in full.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    You made my weekend!

  • Totally changing the subject, how did the new season ticket card work? Did it slow down the entrance to games?

  • In reply to Krasov:

    I'm not sure....heard there were some people with issues but I haven't seen a big outcry about it.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    My wife and I have two tickets on our card and we entered with no issues or delays. The person at the gate slid the card through a card reader and it printed two tags with our seat locations. It took no more time than the old method, where they scanned the bar code on the printed tickets.

    I wish that the card had a wider range of utility besides 20% off concessions (no beer, bad) and at the fan shop (good). Seattle switched to the card system 2-3 years ago. Their card gave fans a craft beer and a sandwich for $10 as a pre-game meal, a discount on all concessions, and a point system that resulted in rewards once enough points were accumulated. At TP, a craft beer costs an extortionate $9.50, so that's a pretty wide gulf in the value of STH benefits.

    My buddy who sits with us said that he got a sandwich at a concession stand and the server had no idea that they were supposed to swipe the card to give him 20% off on the sandwich.

    So there was some good and some bad; they have to work harder to smooth out the glitches.

  • In reply to StaryByk3:

    Thanks for the input StaryByk3!

  • In reply to StaryByk3:

    When the news was released of the STH card, I recall something mentioned along the lines of loyalty points, but I don't know if it was just for renewing or if purchases were a part of it.

  • Didn't post my picks here for this weekend, but I'm not doing well thusfar. Last week pulled me from the dungeon, this week's kicking me back.

  • In reply to Jeff Krause:

    Picking MLS winners is hard.

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