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Chicago Fire vs New England Revolution Preview

By Ben Schuman Stoler in Arts & Entertainment on Aug 18, 2010 5:40PM

Ever since our season preview this spring, we've maintained that the Fire have enough talent to succeed this year. The issue was whether the talent, and first year coach Carlos de los Cobos, could harmonize to get the most as a team. With much hyped midseason moves that brought even more talent to the squad now behind us, the harmonizing question is more pressing than ever. The chemistry, the formation, and the starting lineup have all been tweaked in the weeks since the All-Star break, but, besides an explosive opening half in Los Angeles, nothing's really clicked.

So tonight (7:30PM, My50) is another opportunity for the Fire (5-5-6) to kickstart a second half run to the playoffs. It's another opportunity to see newboys Nerry Castillo and Freddie Ljungberg and returning left back Gonzalo Segares get fit and familiar with the coach and the team. But most of all, it's yet another opportunity for de los Cobos to show he has the tactical foresight to balance the team and line them up in the most useful positions. It won't be easy against the New England Revolution (6-9-3), who come into Toyota Park tonight even with the Fire on points and rolling on an eight game unbeaten streak. The last time these two teams played, in a Superliga group stage match, the Revs won 1-0. They'll be facing a very, very different Fire team tonight.

Team notes:

  • Fire goalie Sean Johnson is absolutely on fire. The rookie won back-to-back MLS Saves of the Week and was the hero last week in holding New York scoreless.
  • 17 year old Victor Pineda signed to a professional contract this week, making him the the Fire's first homegrown player since the MLS created the (sort of ridiculous) rule in 2006. It means we have a talented youngster that an expansion team can't pluck from our coffers, which is good, and it also means we're beginning to bring up professionals imbued with the Fire style and ethos, which is better.
  • Quickies: Patrick Nyarko is still out with concussion symptoms but John Thorrington is back in the mix...Freddie didn't practice yesterday to rest...Technical Director Frank Klopas opened a new sports bar, Pitch, last week...Castillo threw the first pitch at the Cell last Thursday...the Fire and Revolution have a, erm, less than friendly history - remember last year's playoffs, or this gem from 2002, or, maybe the best of all, this 2008 domination.