Chicago seeking rebound at Colorado Rapids

Midfield battle likely to be key as Fire, Rapids meet on Saturday

Cummings, Pause

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The Fire will be looking to bounce back from last week’s 1-0
defeat to the New York Red Bulls and pick up their first points of the season
when they travel west to take on the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods
Park on Saturday.

Historically, the Fire have had a nightmare playing in
Colorado. Prior to last year’s 2-1 victory at the Rapids, Chicago hadn’t won in
Colorado since 1999—a span of 10 matches. 

“I think that it’s always a challenge,” Fire head coach
Carlos de los Cobos said of playing at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. “But we need to prepare good
and go to Colorado [and] think that we can change the history, [so] we can
return to home with a good result.”

If the Fire are to return home with a good result, they will
need to stop several key Colorado players.  Forwards Conor Casey and Omar Cummings are always dangerous,
and the Fire’s back line will have to play well if they are to effectively limit
the skillful tandem.  In
particular, the Chicago defense will want to keep a watchful eye on Cummings, who
scored two goals in the teams’ last meeting.

The Fire will also want to keep a close eye on Colorado
central midfielders Jeff Larentowicz and Pablo Mastroeni. Larentowicz, brought
in this offseason from New England, and Mastroeni figure to put a physical
stamp on the proceedings and whoever gets the nod in the Fire’s central
midfield will have a tough test. 

It would be nice to see de los Cobos give Baggio Husidic and
Logan Pause the start in the center for Saturday’s match. Pause and Peter Lowry
started last week, but Husidic—who played well after coming on as a second half
substitute in Matchday 1—provides a more physical presence than Lowry and did
well at Colorado last year. Regardless of who starts in the central midfield
this week, they will need to play well against the solid pairing of Larentowicz
and Mastroeni if the Fire are to leave the Rocky Mountains with a result.