Blog

MLS Regular Season

20 March 5:47 pm

Fire head coach Frank Klopas did his first media round-up of the week on Wednesday. Some choice quotes from this afternoon's session:

On Paolo Tornaghi's experience stepping in for Sean Johnson last season

"He basically came in at that point as a younger third keeper but he won that second position in preseason and the games that he played. We had a veteran guy as our number two, knowing that Sean had Olympic qualifying games, you saw that he was the one that started in the first game in Montreal.

"We have all the confidence in him, he’s played well and we know we’re going in a situation with World Cup qualifying and Sean being with the national team, its great for him but we have all the confidence in Paolo in moments like this to step in and do a good job because he’s very good ‘keeper."

On Bakary Soumare’s comments regarding his desire for a trade to the Fire

"With the salary cap and what teams want for players, it’s not always so easy. I know Baky very well, he spent a long time here and I saw that. It’s great when you treat guys in the right way, they feel this is always their team. There's always a lot of implications but you look into every situation for sure."

On the team’s outlook to bring in a striker before the summer transfer window

"We’re looking at everything. Any opportunity to see if we improve the team we’re going to look at it. You might feel there will be need somewhere, players might become available but the needs might be something different. We’re looking at all that but also knowing that it’s early in the season."

On the personality of Chivas USA coach Jose Luis Sanchez Sola

"I don’t know the guy. It seems like he has the team on the right track and they’re working hard and he’s done a good job so far. Other than that, I don’t know. He’s a competitive guy just like I am."

 

 
19 March 5:03 pm

So if you're like me, you were watching Sunday's SuperClasico between LA and Chivas to get a better understanding of the Fire's upcoming opponents.

Around the 40th minute, you were sort of shocked to see the Goats Joaquin Velazquez sent off by referee Ricardo Salazar for this play…

If anything, Colin Clark could have received a card on the play but nonetheless, Chivas was forced to play the remaining 50 minutes a man down and still found away to earn a 1-1 draw against the reigning MLS Cup champs. 

Flash forward to today and an Independent Review panel has rightly rescinded the red card and the one-game suspension that came along with it for this Sunday's match vs. the Fire.

This is the second time in MLS history that a red card has been rescinded. The New England Revolution's Fernando Cardenas saw his red card taken away after he was sent off in a 2-1 loss to Seattle last May.

What do you think? Is it good that the league is willing to rescind red cards when obvious mistakes are being made? Chime in below. 

18 March 9:43 am

Twitter is great for many reasons. Today's its awesome because we got an update on how the team's star center back is doing on his hamstring rehab in Germany...

See you next Tuesday, Arne!

16 March 5:30 pm

Select shots from Saturday's 0-0 draw vs. Sporting Kansas City
 

Credit: USA Today Sports Images

15 March 9:20 am

A nice reminder of June 29, 2012.

The Goal:

The Celebration:

The Despair:

15 March 9:17 am

The Fire head to Kansas City Saturday afternoon (2:00pm CT on NBC Sports Network) on the back of two losses to start the season. The team has yet to score a goal or secure point but face a KC team smarting after a loss in Toronto last week. Both will be looking to kick start their season with a big win. Here are some tactical things to look out for.

Right back – three games, three different starters?

With injuries to both Logan Pause and Steven Kinney, it is likely the Fire will have to start a third different right back already this season. Jalil Anibaba started on the right against LA and had a difficult time of things but looked much more comfortable in his natural position at center back last week against New England.

With Kinney out, its almost assured that Anibaba will partner with Austin Berry in the middle which means we will likely see Mike Videra or Wells Thompson on the right. Both played there for a bit of preseason and Videra played at right back for the Men in Red during the 2011 season.

READ: Videira or Thompson at right back?

Previewing Sporting KC

Wells is the more experienced player and like Pause, has played in numerous positions during his MLS career. In a hostile atmosphere away from home, communication between the defenders will be key.

KC are particularly dangerous down the wings and Patrick Nyarko will need to be on hand to help out either Thompson or Videra who will face constant overlapping by the KC wing-backs.

Pressuring KC – copy the Toronto model

Sporting KC lost 2-1 in Toronto last week falling behind 2-0 after only twenty minutes. TFC pressured Sporting from the first whistle and it worked extremely well, with SKC constantly giving the ball away.

TFC’s first goal of the game came from pressuring and ganging up on the Sporting KC players. Folks will remember the goal stemming from a bad pass between Matt Besler and Aurelian Collin, but the reason the center backs had the ball at all was because TFC forced Sporting all the way back to their defenders.

TFC clearly flustered Sporting and the pressure prevented SKC from being able to get the ball to their danger men Claudio Bieler and Graham Zusi. Toronto was unable to keep up the pressure for more than the first half and in the second, KC was able to impose their game.

If the Fire can start in a similar fashion to TFC last week and sustain the pressure throughout the game (a tough ask, I know) it would go a long way towards allowing SKC to dictate the tempo, something they will look to do as the home team.

Testing Jimmy Neilson – difference between chances and half chances

A lot of the talk after the first two games of the season was that the Fire created many chances, but were unable to finish them. If we examine the amount of genuine saves Carlo Cudicini and Matt Reis actually had to make though, the numbers are very small, both have to overexert themselves on only one occasion, with the rest of the shots being hit right at them.

Both times the Fire forced the opposition ‘keeper into making a fine save was from shots outside the box. When the Fire do get the ball in the box, the team as a whole needs to start showing a bit of composure instead of rushing shots.

Muzzling Zusi – double teaming and picking him up when he comes inside

For the past few seasons, Graham Zusi has been Sporting’s best player by some margin. Zusi is dangerous because he can hurt you in so many different ways.

He’s comfortable playing outside on the wing and is just as effective when he switches wings as he did against TFC in the second half last week. Zusi also links very well with SKC’s outside backs, especially Chance Meyers who overlaps Zusi on a regular basis and picked up a lot of assists doing so last season.

Coach's Take: Sporting KC

 

READ: A look back on the 2012 win at Sporting

 Zusi also likes to cut inside, opening up more space on the outside for the wing-backs to move into. For the most part, TFC did a good job stifling Zusi last week and they did so mainly by double teaming him when he had the ball.

As I said in my Week One preview, a lot of emphasis will be on the Fire wingers, Dilly Duka and Nyarko to track back and help out Gonzalo Segares and whoever the team starts on the right.

 Zusi’s crossing is arguably his most dangerous weapon and with targets such as Bieler and Sapong lurking in the box, the less crosses the Fire allow, the better.

Prediction:  The games in KC have been tight affairs recently, and I don’t see this one being any different. 1-1 Fire with a goal from Chris Rolfe.

Stephen Piggott is a contributor to Chicago-Fire.com. Follow him on Twitter @irish_steve.

14 March 2:51 pm

Hoping this match from July 4, 2001 in Kansas City is a good omen for the weekend. Peter Vermes should remember the game well, he played all 90 minutes in defense.

Fast forward to 57 seconds in...

11 March 4:28 pm

A lot of cool media around Section 8 Chicago's tifo from Saturday... One more piece is this movable GIF file done up by our web maestro Nick Sintich:

11 March 10:17 am

Fire Homegrown forward Kellen Gulley has headed to Georgia to begin training with the NASL’s Atlanta Silverbacks this week.

Fire head coach Frank Klopas mentioned throughout preseason that the team was looking to send the 18-year-old forward out on loan this year and it appears that the club is working towards an agreement with the second division side.

Signed from the Mississippi Fire Juniors in August 2011, Gulley has yet to make his competitive debut for the club. The potential move should serve him well in gaining playing time as he continues to develop. 

Coached by former FC Dallas head coach Brian Haynes, the Silverbacks open their 2013 NASL Spring campaign vs. Fort Lauderdale Strikers on April 13 at Silverbacks Park. 

10 March 11:42 am

Klopas on 1-0 Loss to New England

 

Nyarko reacts to 1-0 loss to New England

 

Austin Berry on 1-0 loss to New England

 

Gonzalo Segares on 1-0 loss to New England