The days of heated rivalry seem to be past but this is still an important match for both clubs. The Fire need to win at home against Eastern Conference rivals following five consecutive draws. The Revolution have won twice but a Fire win would push Chicago past them in early jockeying for the top five spots in the conference.
The Revolution have had problems finding the back of the net this season. They have been shut out four times in six starts. In fact, they didn't score a goal until round 4. A 2 goal outburst against San Jose featured one of those markers coming as a result of a San Jose own goal. "If you watched the DC game they had a ton of chances and didn't score," said Frank Yallop about the Revolution's recent struggles. "They're still creating chances which is a dangerous thing because all of a sudden they can finish those. They created three or four really good chances and got zeroes in DC and didn't score and that's the game."
Following the April 5 DC game there was some improvement, albeit slight. A 2-0 home victory versus Houston wasn't exactly an offensive fireworks display from New England either. A sixty-eighth minute score by left back Kevin Alston and a stoppage time garbage goal from Jerry Bengston provided the highlights for the Revolution.
Possible line ups
Johnson; Cochrane, Soumare, Hurtado, Palmer; Shipp, Larentowicz, Alex, Nyarko; Magee, Amarikwa
Top subs: Anangono, Duka, Ianni, Joya
Shuttleworth; Alston, Soares, Farell, Barnes; Dorman; Fagundez, Kobayashi, Nguyen, Sene; Bunbury
Top subs: Caldwell, Bengston, Tierney, Davies
Jose Goncalves suffered a right quad injury in the first half of the Houston game leaving a big hole in the back for the Revolution coming into this match. The injury moved Andrew Farrell from right back to center back and moved Darius Barnes into the picture. They played well enough to limit the Dynamo to zero shots on target but Yallop feels they can attack the back four.
The Fire's line up will probably feature the same eleven that drew a point out of Montreal considering that effort was probably the best overall performance of the season. Dilly Duka is back in full training after dealing with a hamstring problem that kept him out of last week's game.
OUT: Steven Kinney (hamstring strain)
OUT: Jose Goncalves (R quad strain); QUESTIONABLE: Kelyn Rowe (L hamstring strain), Donnie Smith (L foot contusion), Chris Tierney (L hip irritation)
Jay Heaps employs a 4-1-4-1 formation that is fairly predictable. Nguyen and Kobayashi have been the focal points offensively with Fagundez not showing the form he displayed in 2013. Sene is a heavily left-foot reliant player and Bunbury doesn't create for himself as the target man. Kelyn Rowe has caused problems for the Fire in the past but he has been out with a hamstring injury.
With Goncalves out, the Revs struggling to score, and the Fire seemingly in the midst of finding their best combinations this game isn't a certainty but a Fire win should be expected. If for no other reason than they're due, I'm going with:
Fire 2 Revolution 0
The rest of the league
Philadelphia 2 Houston 1
Colorado 2 San Jose 0
Vancouver 1 Los Angeles 1
Columbus 2 DC United 0
Sporting Kansas City 2 Montreal 1
FC Dallas 2 Toronto FC 1
Real Salt Lake 1 Portland 0
Chivas USA 1 Seattle 2
Season record....a brutal 16-37
Benji Joya and Victor Pineda have been called to the USMNT U-21 camp to be held in California from April 20-24.