The Chicago Fire will look to bounce back from Sunday's 2-1 home defeat vs. Sporting KC as they visit Vancouver Whitecaps FC tonight (5:30pm CT on My50). Here are Five Things you should know about tonight's game....
Suspension and Injury Report
So, we know the Chicago Fire will be without the services of starting left back Gonzalo Segares and midfielder Daniel Paladini for Sunday’s match.
The club’s de facto left back, for almost his entire tenure with the Fire, Segares is suspended due to yellow card accumulation while Paladini of course picked up a red card late in Sunday’s match against Sporting KC.
In case you missed it, Paladini will also be unavailable for Saturday’s game against D.C. United after the MLS Disciplinary Committee handed down an extra game suspension on Saturday.
Segares will likely be replaced by debutant Fire defender Shaun Francis who officially signed with the team hours before Wednesday’s friendly vs. Club America. The Jamaican international came on at halftime of that match and played reasonably well.
In terms of injuries, the Fire remain mostly healthy with only Logan Pause and Steven Kinney on the Athletico Injury Report. Pause moved Friday from being listed as “Out” to “Questionable” and with Paladini out, could play a part Sunday.
The Fire captain has been dealing with a lower back injury suffered in the team’s 2-1 win at Columbus on June 22.
Turf not so nice
Athletico Coaching Corner
It’s no secret that the Fire haven’t been good on turf recently. In fact, the team holds the league’s longest current drought without a win on an artificial surface at nine matches (0-7-2).
The side’s last league victory on turf came on June 27, 2010 in a 1-0 win at New England.
As part of my “Fire New Year’s Resolutions” back on January 1, I said one of the team’s goal should be to win two of the three matches they play this season on turf.
I still stand by that and this is the first of three matches on the surface that will come over the course of the next couple months.
Vancouver’s Home Record and woe to Cascadia
Part of the Fire’s lack of success on turf is that three of the four teams that play on the surface are in Cascadia, a region the Fire have also never won in (going 0-6-1 across all competitions).
Add to that the fact that Vancouver is unbeaten at home this season (6-0-3) and a victory tonight at BC Place would be a fantastic achievement for the Fire.
Camilo vs. Magee
With 11 goals to his name, Fire forward Mike Magee enters Sunday’s match as the league’s joint leading goal scorer along with Montreal’s Marco Di Vaio.
Magee has tallied a goal or assist in each of his nine competitive matches since joining the Men in Red via trade from LA in May.
Meanwhile, Vancouver’s Camilo sits just one goal behind Magee and Di Vaio, tied for second with Philadelphia’s Jack McInerney in the MLS Golden Boot race.
Early Goal, First Goal
The Fire’s biggest problem this season has been giving up the first goal in 14 of 17 MLS matches. More recently, the problem has been giving up a goal so early in games, with the Fire conceding inside the first 20 minutes of each of their last four league matches.
Like last season, they showed a knack for coming back to win against Colorado, Columbus and San Jose but were found out a little bit on Sunday by giving up two goals to Sporting KC inside the first eight minutes of the match.
If the Fire can figure out a way to get past the mental mistakes early on in games, this is a team that’s capable of giving anyone in the league trouble.