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Welcome to the Windy City: CHI v PHI, MLS #4, preview Pt II

Conditions for today's game unfavorable to flowing football; ESPN audience more likely to see a primal battle

Hey, at least it won't be raining like this today - but it'll be a seriously blustery environment.
Hey, at least it won't be raining like this today - but it'll be a seriously blustery environment.
Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

One of the many fascinating aspects of football is its malleability; the game played by kids in an alley is understood to be the same as the game played in a muddy bog, which is the same game played on artificial turf; they are all football. But they will look terribly different of necessity - the tiny flicks and shifts of the hard-surface game are useless in the bog, and so on.

Which is to say, don't expect a whole lot of lovely subtlety on display at Toyota Park today. Here's today's wunderground.com forecast for Bridgeview:

Time Temp. Feels Like Dew Point Humidity Conditions Precip. Liquid Precip. Wind Cloud Cover Pressure
4:00 pm 44 °F 35 °F 29 °F 56% Partly Cloudy Partly Cloudy 0% 0 in 22 mph SW 79% 29.83in
5:00 pm 45 °F 37 °F 32 °F 59% Partly Cloudy Partly Cloudy 1% 0 in 21 mph SW 80% 29.81in
6:00 pm 46 °F 38 °F 33 °F 60% Partly Cloudy Partly Cloudy 3% 0 in 21 mph SW 93% 29.78in
7:00 pm 46 °F 38 °F 36 °F 68% Partly Cloudy Partly Cloudy 24% 0 in 20 mph WSW 95% 29.8in

If you're not into looking at forecast grids, here's the deal: It's already wet, and it's gonna be cold and very, very windy. This is a warm front moving into the region, but the warm part isn't here yet - it's just howling winds as the vanguard of a near-complete overcast which will turn to rain some hours after the game is over.

What this means for the football

As capricious as soccer can be in the best of cases, today's game should be a Chaos Carnival - the wind will be less a leveller than a randomizer. If the field is well-drained, it should be possible to keep the ball, but longer passes will be an adventure. Shorn of some its subtlety, this game is likely to become more of a test of will and opportunism.

The traditional Scandinavian approach may find some expression today, with small raiding parties of attackers coming rapidly ashore rapidly in an attempt to hit defenses before they can set up. While the conditions may force the play to be unlovely, it could be interesting to see how Harry Shipp and/or Fernando Aristegueta - players whose key advantages are mental - adjust to the natural conservatism bred by this weather.