Turf Talk…It’s all the rage
I’ve said it before but I’ll continue to write about this one until the Fire put the turf monster to bed. So again, the team’s last win on turf came nearly four years ago in a 1-0 victory at New England on June 27, 2010.
Twelve turf games have passed and the Fire are 0-9-3 on the fake stuff since. One of those three draws did come on the same Olympic Stadium carpet that the Fire and Impact are set to face off on Saturday.
Of course, a big chunk of that 12-game winless streak on turf came while Frank Klopas was Fire manager. Having already played two matches at Stade Olympique this season, Klopas also remains winless on turf, going 0-7-3 in 10 matches.
In case you were wondering, Fire head coach Frank Yallop is 6-17-12 all-time on turf.
Klopas on Facing the Fire
Earlier this week I spoke to Frank Yallop, Jeff Larentowicz and Mike Magee about what it’ll be like going up against former Fire head coach and club legend Frank Klopas for the first time with Montreal.
The trio had varying pleasantries in regards to Klopas and the former Fire manager had similar things to say about his old club:
“Chicago’s my home,” Klopas said. “It’s where I started my career. The Fire gave me an opportunity to be involved with the game. It has a special place in my heart, but now, my team is the Montreal Impact. This is where I work. I really love this city here, the fans have been great.”
Lovel Palmer’s MLS Century Mark
After a two-week suspension, Fire defender Lovel Palmer returned to the fray, logging 90 minutes at right back in last week’s 2-2 draw with Philadelphia. While Saturday’s game at Montreal is set to be just his fourth for the Fire, it’ll mark his 100th MLS regular season appearance after stays with Houston, Portland and Real Salt Lake.
In case you were wondering, Palmer's backline teammate Bakary Soumare is next up on the MLS century list as he sits at 94 games played ahead of Saturday's match.
Gonzalo Segares remains out
One player that still hasn’t appeared since that Portland match is left back Gonzalo Segares. The veteran Fire defender is still suffering from an ankle sprain suffered in the second half of that match but Yallop said Friday he hopes to have him back soon:
“Gonzalo’s still struggling. When I saw the actual injury on tape, it looked pretty bad. He got his ankle caught under him and twisted it the wrong way. If you’ve done that, you’re pretty sore and he’s still pretty sore. Time will heal that but hopefully he’s back in practice next week. We’ll see, but he’s not healthy yet.”
Segares’ absence has given opportunity to recently acquired defender Greg Cochrane to get on the field much earlier than he probably would have expected since coming to the Fire via trade from LA last month.
Cochrane talks about how he’s stepped into the starting role in this week’s game preview.
Di Vaio/McInerney Strike Rate vs. the Fire
The Fire dodged Jack McInerney when Philadelphia traded him to Montreal just before last weekend's game but it's likely they'll have to contend with him today when he makes his Impact debut. If he lines up next to Marco Di Vaio, the Fire will go up against the only two strikers in MLS that have scored three goals in their last four matches against the Men in Red.
No doubt the back line will be tested today.