Look at this game as a weather gauge. On the one hand, the Colorado Rapids are a squad that are historically tough to beat at home. Going back to 2008, their record is 30-11-22 at Dick's Sporting Good Park but 17-31-16 on the road. On the other hand, this is a team that is in some flux with a new head coach, new defensive winger, new midfielder, and a new forward. Earlier this week I broke down which key Colorado players those are and where they are filling in. I also highlighted that Chicago is using the exact same lineup (sans Sean Johnson, plus Paolo Tornaghi) that racked up a 7-2-3 record to finish the 2011 MLS Regular Season.
If Chicago is going to be an elite team this year, these are the kind of games they will have to win. Colorado's home advantage should be a hardship to overcome. The Fire's teamwork is in mid-season form while the Rapids are still tinkering and trying new things out. For more preview reading, check out Mark Young who is looking for Marco Pappa to build on his solid performance last week but Young still has some healthy concerns about Pappa and Logan Pause. Stephen Piggott breaks down the main match-ups head coach Frank Klopas must take advantage of. Ryan Sealock talks Fire and gets some insider perspective on Colorado from Chris White of the Rapids' blog Burgundy Wave.
Your and our thoughts on the game and anything else even semi-Fire related are after the break.
Prediction: Chicago Fire 2- Colorado Rapids 1