After a roaring start KC has cooled off, scoring four goals on opening night, but just two since then. However, the Wizards, have taken advantage of the cozy confines of Bank of America Ballpark, registering two wins and a draw, while losing all three of their road matches this season. A familiar name, Josh Wolff, is still looking for his first strike this season, and has faired well versus his old comrades in red, with five goals in fifteen matches. Davey Arnaud will be available after serving a one game red card suspension resulting from a collision with goalkeeper Pat Onstad. For the Chicago Fire, the repeated message from training this week was: keep the cocentration the entire ninety.
During the loss in Toronto, the Fire allowed three goals in the second half, despite having the wind on their side. This might be a good thing for the future. It seems like the Men in Red were humbled a bit in the 4- 1 loss. When they applied more pressure up front, they left their backside exposed. Lesson learned...this club is not gifted enough offensively to push the pedal, without worrying about defensive assignments. I like the simple explanation from Wilman Conde, "to fight up top, we must be smart in the back and maintain order." So I expect to see less freelancing from the Fire, and a more patient cohesive attack.
The loss in Toronto should also help motivate this group. That loss was a punch between the eyes that will not be forgotten this week. And, this is a group with pride - how would you like to look CJ Brown or Brian McBride in the eyes after a missed assignment or missed tackle. I would expect a more determined effort this match and a stronger reaction to adversity than we saw in the final forty five last week.
Chicago Fire have faired well at Community America ballpark, the temporary home of the wizards - the Fire haven't witnessed a loss in three previous matches there. Also, the Fire carry a dominating record of 20-9-7 all time versus KC. This should be a low scoring match, and second balls will be crucial with the smaller dimensions. As described by Logan Pause, "it's a roll up your sleeves, get down and dirty type match." This weekend will tell us alot about the Fire, we all look forward to their reaction, and how they respond to a humbling loss.