Five Things You Should Know About Friday's Game at Chivas USA
The Chicago Fire look to bounce back from a disappointing 2-1 loss on Saturday to Seattle tonight as the team visits C.D. Chivas USA Friday night at 10:00 pm CT at The Home Depot Center (LIVE on ESPN Deportes, ESPN 3 and 97.5 FM).
Perhaps it was a famous line Lyndon B. Johnson gave as he spoke about social programs in the 60’s or the opposite of Jim Mora’s tirade about the Indianapolis Colts making the playoffs in 2001, but you’ll notice today’s “5 Things” has a distinct theme to it…
1) I’M TALKIN’ CONNECTIONS… Did you know that at one point during the 2008 season, there were five current Fire personnel with Chivas USA? How is this so?
ANSWER: Assistant coaches Mike Matkovich and Leo Percovich were both into their first year serving underneath head coach Preki (how ironic that the pair will serve as co-coaches against their former club tonight as Frank Klopas serves a one-match touchline ban?).
Anyway, midfielder Daniel Paladini had just signed a developmental contract with the club in March that year while defender Dan Gargan signed the next month, shortly before announcing his brief retirement from the game. Striker Orr Barouch brings up the rear in this fun factoid, having begun his playing career in the Chivas USA Academy at the age of 16 that year.
PREVIEW: Fire vs. Chivas USA
2) I’M TALKIN’ DOMINANCE…The Chicago Fire are coming off a week in which the team suffered another loss to Seattle Sounders FC. I dislike writing those words as much as you do reading them and that’s probably because the rave green team from Cascadia is the MLS side the Fire have the longest winless streak against (seven games, 0-4-3).
The best remedy for that is facing a team that you have the longest unbeaten streak against the next week and that’s the case with tonight’s game vs. Chivas USA. The Fire currently ride a seven match unbeaten run (5-0-2) against the Goats heading into Friday’s clash.
The last time Chivas won? It was actually as Matkovich and Percovich served as assistants for them, with the Goats taking a 1-0 victory on June 19, 2008.
3) I’M TALKIN' BIG PAPPA… And why not? Marco Pappa represented himself to the Fire faithful with a brilliant substitute performance last week vs. Seattle. Coming off a match where the Guatemalan’s skill nearly earned him a hat trick in 29 minutes, what got lost in the “Olimpico” hype was the fact that the 24-year-old has quietly crept up the club’s all-time goal scoring chart.
With that stunning goal off the corner kick, one that won him MLS Goal of the Week, Pappa moved into a tie for seventh on the team’s MLS all-time goal scoring list with Nate Jaqua at 21. One more goal and he’ll tie Dema Kovalenko and Damani Ralph for fifth, two more and he’ll make that spot his own.
4) I’M TALKIN' ODURO… Dominic Oduro sits one goal away from entering the club’s Top 15 MLS goal scorers lists in a little over a year since being traded to the Fire. I can’t think of a better opponent for the Fire’s leading goal scorer to do it against than the Goats, given that it’s the team he’s scored more against that any other in his MLS career. The Ghanaian has seen five of his 30 career MLS goals come against Chivas and tallied in both fixtures against the side last season.
5) I’M TALKIN' (the need for) A WIN…The past two Mays have been a rough go of things for the Fire, with the team going 0-2-7 in nine combined competitive matches.
With Frank Klopas’ side having seven competitive games this May, starting a very busy and difficult month off the right way with a win Wednesday night should help to shake off the fifth-month jitters.
Jeff Crandall is the Team Writer for the Chicago Fire...Follow him on Twitter @JefeCrandall.