VANCOUVER, CANADA - AUGUST 7: Jonathan Leathers #25 of the Whitecaps FC tries to tackle Gonzalo Segares #13 of the Chicago Fire during the second half of MLS Soccer on August 07, 2011 at Empire Field in Vancouver, BC, Canada. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
Ok everyone, let's try this again. After a disappointing game on ESPN last weekend, the Men in Red should be ready to go tonight when we face off against the Whitecaps. For those that may have missed it, Marco Pappa will unfortunately miss the game due to a respiratory illness. This should provide for a bit of a different look in the lineup. Although Frank Klopas has recently stated that he feels he has player rotation all set, it would certainly seem that there are some tired legs that need to be rested (Dominic Oduro for one, as Tweed pointed out in his wonderful article). The question now becomes whether or not we see a different lineup tonight to get some players much needed rest. After all, it would be better to rest players tonight ahead of a very big Eastern Conference matchup Wednesday vs. New York. I guess we will find out soon enough.
One other note (and a big one at that) is the trade that happened yesterday between Vancouver and New York. The Red Bulls sent over Dane Richards and allocation money to Vancouver in exchange for Sebastien Le Toux. This trade has instant ramifications for the Fire as both teams involved happen to be the next 2 teams we are playing. Le Toux never did seem to settle in properly in Vancouver, and Dane Richards seemed to be an odd man out in New York. Both players will be available for selection this weekend. I don't expect Dane Richards to start tonight given the quick turnaround on the trade. I definitely think we could see Le Toux feature against us on Wednesday though.
The Whitecaps are coming into the match on their 4th game in 10 days. Fatigue should definitely be a factor. Throw in the fact that Le Toux is now gone, and the chance for 3 points is there for the taking. Even without Marco Pappa, I believe we can get the job done. Although this same sentiment didn't work out so well against a weakened Galaxy side, I think the Fire will come out tonight looking much better. I am going to go with a 2-0 Fire win. Goals from Rolfe and Alex with his first goal. As usual, lineups will be posted when announced. Please join us tonight for the fireworks.