Who: Chicago Fire vs. New England Revolution What: SuperLiga 2010, Group B, Matchday 2 When: Saturday, July 17, 7:00 pm ET Where: Toyota Park, Bridgeview, Ill. TV Info: Telefutura (Spanish); MLSsoccer.com & SuperLiga2010.com (English)
Who: Chicago Fire vs. New England Revolution
What: SuperLiga 2010, Group B, Matchday 2
When: Saturday, July 17, 7:00 pm ET
Where: Toyota Park, Bridgeview, Ill.
TV Info: Telefutura (Spanish); MLSsoccer.com & SuperLiga2010.com (English)
The MLS Eastern Conference rivals will meet for the second time in 2010 on Saturday. In their first meeting, midfielder Marco Pappa’s terrific long range goal gave the Fire a 1-0 victory over the Revolution on June 27 at Gillette Stadium.
The Revs followed up their loss to the Fire with a 5-0 loss to Real Salt Lake on July 2. But it seems New England’s fortunes have turned since their blowout defeat at Rio Tinto Stadium and they now find themselves in the midst of a two game winning streak.
An impressive 2-0 victory over the LA Galaxy last Saturday and a 1-0 win over Pumas UNAM in the SuperLiga opener on Wednesday will have Steve Nicol’s side heading into Toyota Park full of confidence.
The Fire, on the other hand, have headed in a different direction since their victory in Foxborough. Chicago lost a July 3 matchup in Columbus, fell to Real Salt Lake 1-0 at Toyota Park on July 8, and were demolished 5-1 by Monarcas Morelia in Wednesday’s SuperLiga match. To make matters worse, Chicago’s roster is currently decimated by injuries.
A 5-1 defeat will take the wind out of anyone’s sails, but for Fire defender C.J. Brown, Wednesday’s blowout loss to Morelia was particularly painful. The Fire original said he’s “never felt anything like this before” and that their performance that day wasn’t “the Fire I know.”
While those are certainly harsh words, they accurately sum up the way the currently feels. Morale is low and the team desperately needs a boost. They’ll be hoping it comes in the form of a win against the Revs, as a loss on Saturday, coupled with a Morelia win or tie, would end the Fire’s hopes of getting out of the SuperLiga group stage.
The Fire will likely have seven players unavailable for the match due to injury. Patrick Nyarko (concussion), Logan Pause (quad), Baggio Husidic (groin), Dasan Robinson (hamstring), John Thorrington (quad) and Calen Carr (quad) didn’t train on Thursday and likely won’t make the roster Saturday.
Collins John (gastrointestinal illness) has been training with the team but isn’t quite ready for a return to game action.
New England Revolution
New England come into this game hot and, fortunately for them, they’ve caught the Fire at a low point.
As if the Revs needed more confidence heading into Saturday’s match, they’ll come into Toyota Park knowing that they can win without their best lineup.
Steve Nicol made four changes to the lineup on Wednesday night, but his players still produced a 1-0 victory. Faced with another quick turnaround before Saturday’s match, that ability to interchange players and still pick up a win could prove important.
“It’s just a case of balancing between getting people on the field and being competitive,” Nicol said after Wednesday’s match. “I think we managed it.”
Should New England leave Chicago with a win, the team will clinch their spot in the SuperLiga semis with one group stage game remaining.