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Chicago Fire vs. Houston Dynamo - MLS #4 - Three Questions...sort of


After yet another agonizing bye week for the Fire in this young 2012 MLS season, it's finally that time again. I am back to prep you for the Fire's Sunday night showdown with the Dynamo with our customary 3 questions exchange. Instead of having 6 total questions like we usually do, Zach Woosley over at Dynamo Theory was kind enough to answer the 3 questions that we had for him. However, he declined to submit questions to us so we could answer them for Dynamo Theory. So, the 3 questions piece will be a bit shorter than all of us are used to, but it will still have some good tidbits for the game tomorrow.

It seems like eons ago that the Fire last played a MLS match, dropping a disappointing 2-0 decision in Colorado. The Men In Red are hungry to bounce back from that game and show everyone it was just an off night. Throw in the fact that the Dynamo will have a severely weakened midfield, and there is no reason why the Fire can't get all 3 points. Additionally, the Dynamo last played an MLS match on March 23rd, so one would have to figure they would be quite rusty. The Fire must come roaring out of the gates and take advantage of these 2 huge factors.

As always, we will have a gamethread going for the match. The last gamethread was very fun, and we got a few new faces in the thread talking about the game with us, which was even better. We urge you to join us, even if you will be watching the game on TV.

For those that need the info, the broadcast starts at 6PM CST, and you can catch the action on Comcast SportsNet or Galavision. This game will likely mark the first start for Arne Friedrich given the Cory Gibbs injury blow. Definitely not something you want to miss. Now, without further ado, follow me after the break for the 3 questions...

Hot Time In Old Town Asks Dynamo Theory

1. The Dynamo will be very shorthanded in the midfield when they face the Fire Sunday. With Brad Davis likely out, as well as Adam Moffat and Colin Clark due to suspensions, what will the Dynamo miss the most from these players and what will they need to do to compensate for these gaps? (via Rudy Gomez)

You can't replace Brad Davis' ability to create goal opportunities and you can't replace Adam Moffat's experience and tenacity, but you can at least fill the gaps left. There's nobody on the roster than can fill in for Davis, but Kinnear will have a couple options that should at least be able to help the offense move forward and get the ball in the box. It could provide the interesting effect of not giving the Fire a single guy to key on defensively, especially with a true right winger playing out right (Colin Clark is left footed). Fortunately, the Dynamo added Nathan Sturgis in the offseason so he should cover fine for Moffat. In the end, they need a cohesive team effort, with everyone stepping up to make up for not having their usual guys in the lineup.

2. Tell us about the Brian Ching situation. He seemed to be a fan favorite and was inexplicably left unprotected in the 2011 MLS Expansion Draft. Although he became a member of the Montreal Impact for a short while, he was traded back to the Dynamo. What happened with this situation, and what are your personal thoughts on it? (via Ryan Sealock)

Ching was left unprotected because the Dynamo honestly didn't believe Montreal would take him. They wanted to protect a player like Danny Cruz who they were later able to trade for value, rather than losing in the draft. After the initial anger about the pick, I quickly realized that is really was the right move by the Dynamo. There was no reason to protect a guy making nearly $500k, especially when he's at the end of his career with dodgy knees. In the end it worked out well for Houston as they got their captain back and a discounted rate, with the only cost being a conditional draft pick. People can complain about that all they want, but that's a much lower cost than losing someone like Cruz for free. The Impact thought they might be able to get Hainault out of a desperate Dynamo team, but they underestimated Canetti and Kinnear's resolve.

3. What two key matchups do you think will determine who wins the game Sunday night? (via Ryan Sealock)

Corey Ashe or Jermaine Taylor vs. Dominic Oduro. There's a chance Ashe might move back into the midfield to cover for Davis, so if he does, Taylor will have to deal with Oduro's speed. I tend to think Ashe will stay at left back and we can enjoy watching two fast guys run around for 90 minutes.

Grazzani & Pappa vs. Nathan Sturgis. With Moffat out, Sturgis will be tasked with helping manage the Fire attacking midfielders. He'll have help from Cameron and Boswell, but he's the first line of defense and how much the Fire are allowed to control the midfield will go a long way towards determining how this match plays out.