It's time once again for the regular 3 questions exchange here at HTIOT ahead of tomorrow's matchup with Sporting KC. The Fire will look to beat SKC again in this 2012 season, following up a 2-1 Fire win at Toyota Park on May 12th. I worked with Alex Englen over at The Daily Wiz on this exchange. I was able to get our questions answered, but have not been submitted questions yet by Alex. If he gets them over to me I will update the article once the content is produced.
Tomorrow is going to be very fun for Fire fans. We will likely get our first look at newcomer Alex, as he will be traveling with the team and available for selection. Chris Rolfe could get his first start as well. Although recently extended Sebastian Grazzini will not be traveling with the team, we will have a bit more on that soon here at HTIOT. The Fire will look to keep their recent good form up and notch another 3 points to keep climbing up the standings.
We will see you here tomorrow for the gamethread. Until then, enjoy the 3 questions.
Hot Time In Old Town Asks The Daily Wiz
1. Sporting KC is coming off a 4-0 thumping at the hands of the Union. Which player had the worst performance of the match and do you think they will bounce back vs. the Fire? (via Rudy Gomez)
I've got to say one of the worst performers against Philadelphia for SKC was Aurelien Collin. Which is surprising considering he's been one of the team's most consistent performers throughout all of June. Not only did he seal the win for Philly when he pulled down Hoppenot in the box in the 80th minute, he also left a lot of the Union's attackers onside by not stepping up with the rest of the back line for the offside trap which lead to many dangerous opportunities for Philadelphia. The thing about Collin is that with Matt Besler having been out injured against Philly it was evident that he didn't trust Matt's replacement Lawrence Olum. At certain points in the match he was essentially trying to play two positions at once, so with Besler still expected to start the game on the bench in spite of his recovery from an appendicitis, Olum is still expected to start alongside Collin. I just hope Vermes has been able to recognize Collin's level of uncertainty with his center back partner and address it at training.
2. After taking a 1-0 lead against the Fire back in May, Sporting KC collapsed in truly remarkable fashion to pick up a red card in their third consecutive match against the Fire and give up two second half goals for a 2-1 win. Is Sporting KC currently spooked by their "rivals"? (via James Coston)
I'm not really sure what you mean by "spooked". Both times Sporting has gone up to Chicago in the past two seasons they've certainly gotten questionable red cards. Not to mention the one this year was in May, which has historically been just an awful month for SKC in terms of the results. But I'm not here to make excuses, Sporting KC will be entering Friday's match knowing they've reached the semifinals of the USOC, and have put the horror at Philly behind them. With what is expected to be a standing-room only crowd at LSP on Friday Sporting KC are anything less than spooked. They know what they have to do to get the win against a tough Chicago side and they will certainly be up for the opportunity to stick it to their MLS neighbors from up north.
3. Has the club been able to effectively rotate forwards Teal Bunbury, Kei Kamara and CJ Sapong? (via James Coston)
I'd say so. Very rarely will we see all three of them start together but with Kei having been on a whirlwind of a traveling journey recently we've seen a forward line of Jacob Peterson, Teal Bunbury, and CJ Sapong. CJ has impressed me throughout the season while Teal has kind of hit a slump lately, and well Kei, is just Kei. But yeah, they've rotated them very well. Kei and CJ are currently at 5 goals on the season each and Teal is on 2. The bigger question for SKC though is whether or not they can incorporate some of the younger forwards into the system, i.e. Soony Saad and Dom Dwyer.
Bonus Question: Now that we are a good chunk of the way into the season, what do you feel is SKC's biggest strength? What is the biggest weakness? Did you foresee this strength/weakness heading into the season or is it an unexpected turn of events? (via Ryan Sealock)
Our biggest strength is the ability to find the net consistently unlike last year while our biggest weakness is our overall depth at the center back position. Both of these things were easy to identify early in the season.
Alex, how about your score prediction for Friday?
2-1 Sporting KC win.