MLS Match Preview: Fire vs. Crew
CHICAGO FIRE vs COLUMBUS CREW
TOYOTA PARK, Bridgeview, Ill.
April 20, 2013 (WEEK 8, MLS Game #65)
7:30 p.m. CT (My50 Chi; FS-OH, MLSsoccer.com free stream of the week)
The Chicago Fire return home to face an old rival riding an unbeaten streak when the Columbus Crew come to Toyota Park on Saturday evening. The Fire come back to Bridgeview after seeing the Houston Dynamo make history with a 2-1 victory last weekend in Texas. The Crew are continuing their road swing after coming back for a 1-1 draw with the MontrÈal Impact last weekend in QuÈbec, extending their undefeated run to four games.
REFEREE: David Gantar. AR1 (bench): Brian Poeschel; AR2 (opposite): Jason Cullum; 4th: Chris Penso
MLS Career: 17 games; FC/gm: 25.6; Y/gm: 2.9; R: 8; pens: 1
DISABLED LIST: none
- SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
- SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: CHI: Daniel Paladini
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
ALL-TIME (47 meetings): Fire 22 wins (1 shootout), 74 goals … Crew 12 wins (0 shootout), 69 goals … Ties 13
AT CHICAGO (25 meeting): Fire 13 wins (0 shootout), 42 goals … Crew 5 wins (0 shootout), 32 goals … Ties 7
RETURN MATCHES: 6/22: Columbus Crew vs. Chicago Fire, 8 p.m. ET; 9/21: Columbus Crew vs. Chicago Fire, 7:30 p.m. ET
LAST YEAR (MLS):
5/26: CLB 2, CHI 1 (Gaven 9; Renteria 43; Berry 72)
6/23: CHI 2, CLB 1 (Pappa 2; Oduro 26; Tchani 36)
9/22: CHI 2, CLB 1 (Rolfe 23, 26; Arrieta 15)
- A year ago, the home team won all three meetings, the Fire winning the rubber match of the series at Toyota Park.
- The Crew havenít won at Toyota Park since the 2006 season, when they claimed a 4-1 win. In the nine meetings since in Bridgeview, the Fire have won five, with four draws.
- Coaches record: Frank Klopas vs. CLB: P5 W4 L1 T0 … Robert Warzycha vs. CHI: P13 W3 L6 T4
The Chicago Fire weren't able to build upon their first victory of the 2013 season, the Houston Dynamo getting a late goal for a 2-1 win Sunday afternoon at BBVA Compass Stadium. The Fire are in a tie for ninth place in the Eastern Conference with 4 points from 6 matches.
- The Dynamo took the lead in the 26th minute. Brad Davis turned Wells Thompson inside-out to get space and swing in a perfect cross from the left flank, and Will Bruin made no mistake, heading his shot inside the far post out of Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnsonís reach.
- But the Fire were level three minutes later. Houston was unable to clear a long throw-in and Daniel Paladini latched onto the ball, laying it past Corey Ashe to Chris Rolfe, who blasted a first-time shot to the near corner.
- The Dynamo hit for the winner in the 81st minute. Davis took a Kofi Sarkodie pass on the right flank and clipped in a cross that sailed through the box untouched before nestling in the far-side netting.
- Fire head coach Frank Klopas made one change to the team that got two late goals for a 3-1 win against the New York Red Bulls at Toyota Park. Gonzalo Segares returned to the team in place of Hunter Jumper.
- CHICAGO FIRE (4-2-3-1): Sean Johnson - Wells Thompson, Austin Berry, Jalil Anibaba, Gonzalo Segares - Jeff Larentowicz, Logan Pause - Daniel Paladini (Patrick Nyarko 57), Chris Rolfe, Joel Lindpere (Dilly Duka 85) - Sherjill MacDonald (Maicon Santos 60).
- While the Fire scored a goal for a third consecutive game after starting the season with three straight shutouts, they have now allowed 12 goals on the season, the most in MLS.
- "I just think when you give two goals it is difficult. We did create some chances and if we score the second goal it changes things, so that is why I kind of felt that we had a good opportunity to walk away with points. With the game winding down walking away with a point, you feel good on the road," said Fire head coach Frank Klopas.
- Chris Rolfe netted his first goal of 2013, after netting eight goals in 22 league appearances last year in his return to MLS.
- "I was very happy for him," Sherjill MacDonald said. "Not only for him, but for the team, because we know if this guy is confident, we know we're going to score a lot of more goals, and he's going to give a lot of more passes to score. Everyone knows, when Rolfe has his confidence high, he's a fantastic player. It's good for the group…Maicon scored, Rolfie scored, so I think next game, [it's] my turn. I feel like it's coming. I have a good feeling. I've been working very hard, so hopefully it's going to pay off."
- Daniel Paladini continued his hot scoring run, setting up Chris Rolfe's first goal of the season in the Fire's 2-1 loss at Houston on Sunday. Paladini has a goal and three assists over the last two games, having been involved in each of Chicago's goals in that time.
- "We didn't have a lot of options," Klopas said. "I think they played well. Danny was involved with all of the goals…We did a very good job defensively. That block of eight got behind the ball and defended really well."
- Paladini again played a wide role, with Joel Lindpere on the opposite flank, and Logan Pause slotting into a holding midfield role. Patrick Nyarko returned to action after missing the New York match, coming on for the final half hour in place of Paladini.
- "It's going to be interesting," Nyarko said. "This is when you wish you were not a coach and you just leave it for the coaches to make those decisions. But it's good for the team, healthy competition."
- Following a setback in his return to fitness, center back Arne Friedrich will now be sidelined indefinitely. "I trained for two weeks, and my legs were always pretty tight," he said. "Then I had a setback, and now I feel pain again, so I have to be patient. I have to work on that. Unfortunately, I can't promise when I'll be back."
The Columbus Crew stretched their undefeated streak to four matches, coming back for a 1-1 draw with the MontrÈal Impact on Sunday afternoon at Stade Saputo, in a game delayed a day because of a snowstorm. The Crew are in fourth place in the Eastern Conference with 9 points from 6 matches.
- The game's two goals came four minutes apart, and both of the spectacular variety. The Impact pulled ahead in the 68th minute when Sanna Nyassi's failed volley attempt on the edge of the box turned into an assist for Marco Di Vaio, who ripped home a thunderous shot from some 22 yards out.
- But the Crew were level in the 72nd minute. Dominic Oduro showed impeccable control in latching onto a deflected cross and looping it in front of Hassoun Camara, before sending a left-footed finish to the top right corner of Troy Perkins' goal from the left side of the box.
- Crew head coach Robert Warzycha made no changes to his team for a second consecutive week, keeping the group that came back for a 1-1 draw with Philadelphia Union at Crew Stadium.
- COLUMBUS CREW (4-2-3-1): Andy Gruenebaum - Josh Williams, Chad Marshall, Glauber, Tyson Wahl - Danny O'Rourke (Kevan George 82), Agustin Viana - Eddie Gaven, Federico Higuain, Ben Speas (Jairo Arrieta 72) - Dominic Oduro (Ethan Finlay 77).
- The Crew extended their undefeated streak to four games – playing to a third draw in that time – in the in the 1-1 draw at Montréal on Sunday, a game delayed a day because of a snowstorm.
- "To get a point here, especially with the conditions we had; staying an extra day, playing a noon game, you never know what to expect, so I thought we did a great job and we can build off of that," said goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum.
- The Crew's Dominic Oduro netted his second goal in as many games and his third of the season in hitting for the equalizer against the Impact. Quite coincidentally, both goals have come in the 72nd minute.
- "This is one of those goals that I think I will cherish in my MLS life. It felt fantastic; it's not every day that you score a goal like that," said Oduro. "I thought we played well and it gave me an opportunity to bend a goal like that. I have to keep my confidence up and hopefully score some goals again. That goal was a relief for us, to tell us we were doing something really good and I was glad I was at the end of it." Said defender Chad Marshall: "That was pretty much an individual effort. He put the team on his back."
- The Crew allowed the opening goal for a third game this season; they have two draws and a loss in those games. In the three games where they've scored first, they are 2-0-1.
- "We would like to not go down first, start the game better and be on the front foot for a change," Eddie Gaven said. "But we know we have a good team and even if we don't have the best start there's no panic."
- Federico Higuaín was able to pass a pregame fitness test after suffering a left calf contusion, with the extra day before the game, and played the full 90 minutes.
- "You look across our lineup and you see a lot of offensive weapons that can really make a difference," goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum said. "Whether it's Ben Speas going at people, Dom's speed, [Higuaín's] playmaking ability. You get the feeling we're never out of a game. In years past, it hasn't always been the case."