This is where I typically open up with some witty paragraph introducing the article and making a brief note about the state of the site. Well, I've got nothing, folks. Let's get straight to the important stuff:
1) Chin to Chicago?
This won't do much to quell those who believe I'm a closet Sporting Kansas City supporter, but SKC commentator Callum Williams recently tweeted about how Orlando City striker Dennis Chin is currently on trial with the Fire. The OCFC official website followed up with an update of their own, and it appears Chin will be training in Chicago for the rest of the week.
According to the USL website, Chin scored 11 goals in 24 appearances this season for Orlando City, who were knocked out of the USL Pro playoffs in the semifinals, losing a heartbreaker 4-3 to the Wilimington Hammerheads.
Chin is a 6'3" 25-year-old striker who's spent his entire career in Florida to this point. He played for the Central Florida Kraze of the PDL from 2006 to 2010 before joining OCFC in 2011. He is currently under contract until 2014, according to the club's website.
Could the Fire use a little more attacking firepower off the bench down the stretch?
2) Thank you, New England
If you happened to miss the MLS action on Wednesday night, it's not the end of the world since we've got you covered. Once again, the Portland Timbers failed to build on some positive momentum they created at home when they traveled to Dick's Sporting Goods Park to take on the Colorado Rapids. The Rose City side was totally outclassed by the home side, who won 3-0. The Timbers once again sit at the bottom of the MLS Western Conference standings. Ouch.
But in a result that was much more relevant to Chicago Fire fans, the Columbus Crew fell at the hands of the New England Revolution. With a win, the Crew could have leapfrogged the Fire into third place in the Eastern Conference. Instead, the Revs wore down the visiting Crew before getting two second-half goals to snap their ten-game losing streak.
The Crew were probably the hottest team in the league coming into the match, winning their last four matches. Argentine striker Federico Higuain was the main player leading the charge as the yellow team moved from playoff afterthought to right into the thick of things.
But New England is not an easy place to travel to, despite their recent struggles. As some of you might remember (and others have tried to forget), the Fire also dropped a 2-0 decision to the Revs back in June. This happened during the same week that the Men in Red were bounced from the U.S. Open Cup by the Michigan Bucks (I'm really sorry I had to bring that up, I really am).
The results were similar. In that June match-up, both teams had early chances before the Revs found two second-half goals to put away the Fire. The Men in Red travel to the Northeast in their second-to-last match of the season on October 20 and will be looking for some Gillette Stadium revenge. But that result is far from a sure thing. Plus, the way things change so frequently in MLS, trying to predict beyond a team's next match is a crapshoot.
But for the moments, thanks New England. Congrats on snapping your streak. Perhaps this will put some of the far-fetched Baltimore rumors to rest.
3) Stars and Stripes FC and the return of WCQ Madness
Right before the United States Men's National team takes on Jamaica in Kingston, our colleagues at SB Nation had a small surprise for us: the creation of Stars and Stripes FC, the new USMNT blog. Needless to say, we're really excited.
In case you missed the last World Cup qualifiers in June, the United States opened up their road to 2014 with a less-than-impressive 3-1 over Caribbean minnows Antigua and Barbuda before a late Marco Pappa goal was enough for Guatemala to steal a point in a 1-1 draw in Guatemala City.
Now the Nats have a home-and-home with the Reggae Boyz. They play Friday night in the Caribbean before hosting their CONCACAF rivals in Columbus on Tuesday, September 11 in what will surely be an emotionally-charged match.
If you follow MLS closely, you'll recognize some of the names on the Jamaica roster. Examples include defender Jermaine Taylor plays for the Houston Dynamo, midfielder Dane Richards from the Vancouver Whitecaps and striker Ryan Johnson from Toronto FC. Actually, Jamaica has nine MLS players on this current squad whereas the USMNT only has five. Kind of bizarre, right?
A draw in Jamaica and a win in Columbus seems to be what most people are predicting, and I think that's a safe bet. Then again, if the Red, White and Blue can somehow win both, it would essentially clinch a spot in the final CONCACAF qualifying round.
So that brings to our question of the day: What do you think will happen? Is a major setback right around the corner or will the USMNT rise to the occasion?