When: Saturday September 13th at 7:30PM CST
Where: Toyota Park, Bridgeview, Illinois
Where to Watch: Toyota Park stands, My50 Chicago, TWCSC Wisconsin
Hey, What Happened?
Inconsistency. That was the word used to describe the Fire's performance last week in Foxborough when they lost to the New England Revolution. A forgettable 20 minutes was followed by 10 minutes of "Who is this Fire team?" that had a Nyassi header go inches wide, followed by a Nyassi goal, and to end it with a Nyassi off the post. Things were looking bright for the Fire on turf. Then the Revs fought back and showed why they are one of the better teams in the east. Fagundez was able to sneak in behind the defense to latch on to a Nguyen through ball and that was all that she wrote for the Fire's good form. What followed in the second half was just awful, as Charlie Davies was able to get behind the defense on the counter and slot the game winner under Johnson into the back of the net.
Hey, What's Happening?
Tonight, the Fire host Toronto FC in a game that each needs to win - less than three points for either side could mean the end of the playoff dream. Fortunately, the Men in Red welcome a struggling TFC side into town; they are winless in their last five games and only have three wins in their last 15. The Fire aren't any better, though, as they have three wins in their last 16 games. Coupled with TFC's bad form is the fact that Ryan Nelson has been replaced as head coach by Greg Vanney, and TFC's star striker, Jermaine Defoe, has reportedly asked to leave the club. Will the Fire pile more misery on the Reds from the north or will TFC make the Men in Red feel more blue by taking away all of their playoff hopes?
Hey, What Should Happen?
The Fire have got to find a way to put in a complete game or close to a complete game. I can't think of a game this season where the Fire actually put in a performance that could be considered dominant. Last weekend it was the same as it has been all season long - the Fire gave up possession in hopes of possibly getting something done on the counter attack. This week is the perfect scenario for them to dominate at least one game this year. The Men in Red have to take advantage of it, despite being short handed up top - Magee is done for the year, Earnshaw is still injured, and new signing Florent Sinama-Pongolle is still awaiting his P-1 visa. That means we have to rely on Nyassi and Quincy Amarikwa to lead the line up top, with Matt Fondy the only option off the bench.
The Fire have the chance to take advantage of a team that has more or less imploded and looks set to miss out on the post season dance yet again. The Fire have to be able to take advantage of the fact that TFC's defense is just not good. They have talent in every part of the field except for the back line. It has been their Achilles heel all season long. Needless tackles and poor marking has been the talk of the defense for TFC and the Fire can really take advantage of it. The one thing I noticed while watching TFC play Philly last weekend is that Toronto does not play like a team. Numerous times did I see errant passes in the midfield finding the other team and no one actually talking to each other. The Fire should press in the midfield in order to make TFC create mistakes like they did versus the Union. My opinion is that this game is for the taking for the Fire and they have to in order to still see some sort of playoff hope.
Hey What's Going to Happen?
You've got one team that is going through its yearly implosion and the other team that can't find any sort of consistency to save its life. One team has big names and tried to build a squad around those big names while the other tried building through depth but ended up on the shallow end of the talent pool. So what happens when TFC and cf97 square off against each other when it seems as though both teams can't get anything going? Well I'm going to say that this one ends in a draw. Perhaps a 0-0 or 1-1 finish as both teams play unspectacularly to 'entertain' the Chicago faithful.