Wizards Preview

Fire hope to play spoiler against Kansas City

 

The Basics

Chicago Fire (8-11-8, 32 points, fourth in the Eastern Conference) vs. Kansas City Wizards (9-12-6, 33 points, third in East) at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill.

All-time record: Fire lead series 20-9-8.

TV Info

8:30 p.m. ET, CSN Plus Chicago, CLTV, MetroSports (local); MLS Direct Kick, MatchDay Live.

Game Intro

Though they’re only separated by one point in the standings, the Wizards and the Fire head into this match with completely different attitudes. 

Kansas City must play Tuesday like their lives depend on it. Ninth in the overall table, the Wizards need to win all three of their remaining matches and hope theColorado Rapids lose their remaining two if they hope to make the postseason for the first time since 2008.

Chicago, meanwhile, have been eliminated from postseason contention. Head coach Carlos de los Cobos figures to field a relatively inexperienced lineup against the Wizards, as he looks to see what he’ll be working with in 2011. 

Chicago Fire

The Fire will be looking to play spoiler Tuesday night. Even a point will knock KC out of the playoff hunt. But Chicago will be fielding a patchwork lineup, as Andrew Dykstra starts in place of the injured Sean Johnson (hyphema) for the second straight game.

Dykstra will also be working with a new defensive corps, as regulars Steven Kinney (ankle) and Gonzalo Segares (quad) are set to miss Tuesday’ match. Natural midfielder Bratislav Ristic will start at right back and Krzysztof Krol will man the left. 

The midfield will also be stretched thin, as midfielders Marco Pappa (international duty) and Mike Banner (achilles) will miss the match. John Thorrington (quad) and Patrick Nyarko (ankle) are questionable. 

“We need to put 100 percent effort on the field,” de los Cobos said.  “We need to respect our jersey and we need to respect our fans.”

Kansas City Wizards

The Wizards come into Tuesday’s match reeling. They've lost three straight MLS matches, most recently falling 2-1 to Seattle at home last Saturday. 

KC need to come out with a better effort against the Fire, who – despite their disappointing season – have played well in recent weeks. 

“Anything can happen and we just have to focus on our game in Chicago,” Wizards head coach Peter Vermes said after Saturday’s defeat. “We don’t have anything but getting some points there, and that means three of them.”

Heroes & villains

Kei Kamara vs. Kwame Watson-Siriboe: Kamara gave the Fire fits in the sides’ first meeting of the year, scoring two goals to earn the Wizards a point in a rainy May 15 match at Kansas City. 

Chicago center back Watson-Siriboe wasn’t on the field for that match – in fact, he didn’t even make the traveling roster – but he’s making the start Tuesday, and he figures to see a lot of Kamara. He’ll need to do a good job running with the speedy striker, making sure that he doesn’t get a lot of room to operate if the Fire are to have success. 

If Kamara can regularly break free from Watson-Siriboe (or any other member of the Fire defense) Kansas City should pick up all three points. 

Stat that makes you go “Hm…”

Since going on a 10-game run over two months (from July 14 to Sept. 22) where they took 21 of a possible 30 points,the Wizards have now lost three in a row.