5 THINGS: Former U.S. National teammates Klopas, Bliss face each other in Columbus

Klopas, Bliss appeared 10 times together for USMNT, tonight they go against one another

Happy Fire House East Day (#FHEAST) everyone! The Fire look to boost their push for the playoffs and deal a major blow to rivals Columbus Crew Saturday night in central Ohio (6pm CT on My50).

Here are Five Things You Should Know about the match…

As we head to Ohio, welcome to those fans in Wisconsin!

Saturday night’s game at Columbus will not only air on My50 in Chicagoland but also on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel in Milwaukee and Green Bay/Appleton (Channel 32) beginning with the TrueCar pre-game show at 6pm CT.

Stay tuned for more details on a broader partnership… Until then, welcome Wisconsinites!

Caution Watch

I wrote earlier this week about Gonzalo Segares tying CJ Brown for the club’s all-time record for yellow cards (51), which also seems to be an endearing mark for many in Section 8 Chicago.

Still, with the Fire in a playoff hunt, it’d be best if Segares waited to break that record a little longer as one more yellow card would mean his eighth on the season and an automatic suspension for Saturday’s game vs. Montreal.

Bakary Soumare, Jeff Larentowicz and Daniel Paladini all have four each and would also be suspended vs. Montreal if they pick up a yellow card Saturday night.

Klopas on Brian Bliss

As is commonplace when talking to the Gaffer about former teammates, Frank Klopas and Brian Bliss’ relationship “goes way back” to their days playing for the U.S. Men’s National Team.

The pair played for the side together 10 times from 1988-1995, with Bliss a part of the 1990 World Cup team while Klopas was on the 1994 side and were part of the U.S. team that finished a surprising fourth at the 1995 Copa America in Uruguay.

A few weeks ago, Bliss found himself in a similar situation to his former teammate Klopas in 2011 when he moved from Crew Technical Director to become the club’s interim head coach. Since taking over on the sidelines, Columbus has won two of its last three and given the team a belief it can still make the playoffs.

Asked this week about Bliss’ recent success as the team’s interim head coach, Klopas said, “Brian is an experienced guy that knows that team very well. It doesn’t surprise me. He’ knows the game, he’s been involved in the league a long time. He knows what he’s doing.”

Hockey-Style Sweep?

The Fire find themselves in position to do a hockey-style four-game sweep of the Columbus Crew in 2013 with a win Saturday night in central Ohio.

This used to be more of a norm but as Major League Soccer has grown, the need to schedule upwards of four games against a single opponent during the regular season has vanished.

Still, back in the early years of MLS, the Fire quite appropriately did the sweep of opponents four times between 1999-2003 and once already with Columbus.  See the table below…

Year Opponent Competitions
1999 Kansas City Wizards All MLS
2000 Columbus Crew All MLS
2001 Tampa Bay Mutiny All MLS
2003 LA Galaxy 3 MLS, 1 USOC

TrueCar Pre-Game Show

For those fans of The West Wing, tonight’s TrueCar Pre-Game show will feature a walk and talk with former Crew winger Dilly Duka on returning to Columbus and finding his form with the Fire.

Also catch Frank Klopas talking the emotions of last Saturday’s win over New England a look back at classic Fire matches at Crew Stadium.

Catch it LIVE at 6pm CT on My50 Chicago and Time Warner Sports in Wisconsin.