MLS Preview from The Sports Network|
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
(All times Eastern)
Colorado (5-5-5) at Chicago (3-7-3), 8:30 p.m.
Bridgeview, IL (Sports Network) - The Chicago Fire will close out a three-game
homestand when the club welcomes the Colorado Rapids to Toyota Park on
Chicago has taken four points from its previous two matches on home soil
thanks to a 2-0 defeat of D.C. United and a 2-2 draw with the Portland
Timbers, who are unbeaten in road play this season.
Factor in a 1-1 draw at Real Salt Lake on May 25 and the Fire are undefeated
in their last three league contests.
It is a fine run of form for a club that has struggled mightily this season.
Before its current unbeaten run, Chicago had not managed to claim points in
consecutive matches. The change in fortunes can be traced to the arrival of
Bakary Soumare and Mike Magee.
"It's fantastic. I think the two moves that we made, you can see the big
difference on the field already," said Fire head coach Frank Klopas after the
club's draw with Portland on June 8. "We're not that far off. I do feel we
need to add a couple more pieces but Mike (Magee) and Baky (Soumare), you can
see the impact they've had on the group and the difference they've made on the
field but overall tonight, from a team standpoint, the most important thing to
me is the team and it was fantastic the second 45 minutes. Now we've got to
have that kind of urgency and mentality the whole game."
Both Chicago and Colorado harbor aspirations of making the postseason this
term, though the Rapids have far less ground to make up. Chicago enters
Wednesday's match sitting 10 points back of spot in the playoff window while
Colorado sits just outside the playoff picture in the Western Conference due
to goal difference.
The Rapids saw their six-game unbeaten run come to an end last time out with a
2-1 home loss to the San Jose Earthquakes.
Colorado, which fell behind due to a Steven Lenhart goal in the 11th minute,
played much of the match with 10 men after Atiba Harris was sent off in just
the 18th minute. And while Sam Cronin extended San Jose's lead in the 52nd
minute, the Rapids battled back and managed to claim a consolation goal
through Nathan Sturgis in the 67th minute.
"I thought we had to recognize the effort of the players in the second half,"
said Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja after the match. "That was an excellent
job. Unfortunately we came up short, we couldn't get the points that we needed
against a rival that obviously is fighting with us in the conference. So
frustrating the first half. We all know it, players know it, coaches know that
the first half wasn't good but I think that the response was very good in the
Colorado's trip to Toyota Park marks the first or a three-match set away from
Dick's Sporting Goods Park as the Rapids look to improve upon their 2-2-3 road
record this season.
06/18 15:16:56 ET