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Friday Night Lights: Fire vs Sporting KC, MLS #32, Preview

Men in Red will have only 16 field players available for this one as the 2014 season sprawls toward its close

One guaranteed feature of tonight's game will be Peter Vermes freaking the f**k out at the officials. It's a stable feature of every Sporks game, home or away! Enjoy.
One guaranteed feature of tonight's game will be Peter Vermes freaking the f**k out at the officials. It's a stable feature of every Sporks game, home or away! Enjoy.
Gary Rohman-USA TODAY Sports

When: Friday October 10th at 7:30PM CST

Where: Sporting Park, Kansas City, Kansas

Where to Watch: My50, MLS Live

Hey, What Happened?

A game that featured the two bottom teams of the Eastern Conference squaring off at Toyota Park on Sunday was basically what everyone expected, a bland 0-0 tie. It was a battle of two teams that had nothing to play for - and that is how both teams played, as if there was nothing to win. Neither side looked very threatening, as there were half-chances but neither team really took the bull by the horns. It was just a summation of the season all in one game, as the Fire were just not good enough (yet again) for the 18th time this season and, by the looks of things, will set a record that will take a very long time to be broken.

Hey, What's Happening?

Tonight, Yallop takes his drawing soldiers to Kansas City to take on Sporting Kansas City. SKC - who sit third in the Eastern Conference - are looking to take all three points so they don't fall any further in the standings; they are only three points above the fifth-place Columbus Crew. As the season draws to a close, Yallop will be looking for his Fire team to build on something positive, like (for example) a win in Kansas City. On the other side, Peter Vermes will be looking to right the ship before the playoffs start - Sporting has only won one of its last seven.

Hey, What Should Happen?

Defensive pressure is KC's game: There is only one thing that SKC is going to try to do to the Fire tonight: They are going to try shove the game right down the throat of the Men in Red. With their 4-3-3 formation relying heavily on a high-pressure defensive system to generate their offense, SKC will look to overwhelm the Fire's defense and create opportunities from turnovers. Players like Dom Dywer, Graham Zusi, CJ Sapong, and Paolo Nagamura will look to disrupt any kind of ball movement from the back four of the Fire and force them into a long ball game. This is how SKC played the Fire in their last meeting, when the Fire managed only 34% possession, completed only 257 passes, and had only 6 shots the entire game. That game finished 1-1 due to errors from both side's back four, but I do not see the same result happening this time around.

Uncertainty for the Fire XI: What is Yallop going to do with his lineup? Razvan Cocis is done for the year, Gonzalo Segares is suspended, and Robert Earnshaw isn't ready to come back yet. So what does this mean? We could see a lineup similar to the one that Yallop played versus Philly last week. Look for Alex to play left back again, with Jeff Larentowicz in the back four and Logan Pause getting another start in the center of the midfield. On the wings will be Patrick Nyarko and possibly Sanni Nyassi or Grant Ward, and Florent Sinama-Pnogolle and Quincy Amarikwa up top. What other choices does Frank Yallop have when the roster of field players you have to choose from is down to only 16 players available? Yeah, you read that right - 16 players. Not much for depth going into this one.

Hey What's Going to Happen?

SKC will look to get this one over with quickly and it could get ugly. After that dull 0-0 draw versus the Impact last weekend I see no hope for the Men in Red to win this one. They may end up with another draw, but I highly doubt it. I can see this one getting out of hand a little, with SKC winning easily 4-0. Let's face it: the Fire aren't good enough to hang with the big boys of the Eastern Conference and SKC needs the win more than we do. As always, I hope that Yallop and company prove me wrong about this one, but chances of that happening are slim.