Logan and co. will be desperate for three points after last weekend’s disappointment against Seattle | Photo credit: ESPN LA
Match Preview: Chicago Fire at Chivas USA (Home Depot Center)
Friday, May 4 (ESPN 3)
Tactics is at once the easiest thing to comment upon and the most difficult thing to get right; I would venture that this is an absolute truth for pundits. For managers, the axiom is a little iffy. A manager can see a string of luck, good or bad, that overrides any tactical tweaking or consistency. On the bad side we see Aron Winters experiencing this every day in Toronto and Peter Nowak getting an earful every week, while on the good side Ben Olson is quietly making a case for manager of the year, Peter Vermes is mining gold, and people still think Sigi Schmid is a grandmaster and not some high-rent Hans Backe. The point is, tactics for the supporter and pundit is a vast arena of speculation, one that demands engagement but where you can’t honestly expect to ever be right. Too many variables. But tell that to the sport betting crowd. Continue reading
With three precious points appearing to be cruelly slipping away from the Chicago Fire, as well as any hopes of qualifying for the playoffs, the men in red dug deep and snatched a late and dramatic winner against Chivas USA to secure a 3-2 win at Toyota Park on Saturday afternoon. Continue reading
May 28th, 2009. With the Chicago Fire flying high in the East, three points in California against Chivas USA seemed like a certainty. 16 minutes in, however, that notion became a little less certain. Paulo Nagamura somehow beat Jon Busch with a shot from distance to give the home side the lead. But less than ten minutes later, William Conde was fouled in the box and Cuauhtemoc Blanco easily dispatched the resulting penalty kick. The Fire would find themselves behind once again just ten minutes after their equalizer. Bacary Soumare conceded a penalty and Busch was unable to stop Maykel Galindo’s spot kick. With the Fire still trailing in the 61st minute, the tide of the match changed drastically as Jesse Marsch was sent off for a second yellow card. Former Chicago Fire goalkeeper Zach Thornton came up huge in goal on a number of occasions for Chivas, but the men in red were not to be denied an equalizer as Patrick Nyarko tallied the Fire’s second equalizer of the night in the 89th minute. And with time running out and three points seemingly out of the picture, Mariano Trujillo needlessly shoved Brian McBride inside the penalty box to present the Fire with a chance to steal all three points deep, deep into injury time. And once again, Blanco made no mistake from 12 yards out to secure the win and stretch the Fire’s unbeaten run to an impressive 12 games.
Relive that memorable match below:
Nothing would make this July 4th weekend more perfect for the Chicago Fire than three points when they take on Chivas USA at the Home Depot Center on Saturday. The win over Columbus has already begun to feel like ages ago as the Fire have once again found it difficult to convert draws into wins. Meanwhile, their opponents on Saturday have recently struggled to even earn a draw and have lost their last three matches.
Chivas USA: D-W-L-L-L
Five things to watch for:
1) Top scorer – After a highly successful season last year, Justin Braun has continued where he left off and has been an essential figure in this Chivas USA side. He’s scored four goals already and is one of the team’s main go-to-guys.
2) Full concentration – The Fire looked solid for the majority of the 90 minutes last weekend and came agonizingly close to earning all three points. A defensive error ultimately cost them the win. Against Chivas USA, the Fire can’t afford to shut off defensively at any point in the match against a team who is just as hungry for a win as the Fire.
3) Heath Pierce – Arguably one of the most important players for Chivas USA, Heath Pierce has started every league match this season and has often been the driving force of this team. He’s been sharp defensively this season and has even chipped in with three assists. The Fire will certainly need to keep tabs on Pearce.
4) Midfield shuffle – With Daniel Paladini suspended for an accumulation of yellow cards, look for Baggio Husidic to pair with Logan Pause in central midfield, who is due to make his return from injury this weekend. Pause will need to focus on controlling the midfield while a lot of pressure will be on Husidic to provide attacking impetus. Will they be able to deliver?
5) Open the floodgates – After going over two months without a goal, Diego Chaves finally found the net in the Fire’s midweek clash with the Rochester Rhinos in the third round of the US Open Cup. His goal was enough to send the Fire through to the quarter-finals and another goal today will be just as well received. Likely to be paired with Nazarit. Can the two forwards cause problems for Chivas USA’s defense? More importantly, can the Fire finally improve its play in the final third? We can only hope so.