New York Red Bulls vs Chicago Fire 07-18-2012 - Preview

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New York Red Bulls
1 - 0
Final
Chicago Fire
MLS Regular Season
July 18, 2012
1:00pm EDT
Red Bull Arena

Preview: Red Bulls ready for Fire's heat in midday match

NEW YORK RED BULLS vs CHICAGO FIRE
RED BULL ARENA, Harrison, N.J.
July 18, 2012 (WEEK 20, MLS Game #182)
1 p.m. ET (MSG+; CSN-Chi)

The New York Red Bulls and Chicago Fire meet in a vital Eastern Conference matchup in a rare midweek matinee when the clubs face off Wednesday afternoon at Red Bull Arena. The clubs are separated by just one point in the East, with New York sitting in third place, just a point out of second. The Red Bulls are coming off a 2-2 home draw Sunday with Seattle, while Chicago recorded a 1-0 home win against Vancouver over the weekend.

REFEREE: Edvin Jurisevic. SAR (bench): Steven Taylor; JAR (opposite): Paul Scott; 4th: Jose Carlos Rivero
MLS Career: 46 games; FC/gm: 22.4; Y/gm: 3.7; R: 4; pens: 5

DOWNLOAD FULL GAME GUIDE HERE (PDF)

INJURY REPORT:
NEW YORK RED BULLS – OUT: MF Teemu Tainio (R knee sprain); FW Jose Angulo (R knee sprain); DF Heath Pearce (R hamstring injury); DF Jan Gunnar Solli (R hamstring injury); PROBABLE: GK Ryan Meara (R hip injury)
CHICAGO FIRE – OUT: DF Cory Gibbs (R knee meniscus repair); MF Steven Kinney (R Achilles tendinitis); QUESTIONABLE: MF Marco Pappa (upper respiratory infection)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: CHI: Arne Friedrich (through July 18)

WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD:
NY: Joel Lindpere, Dax McCarty
CHI: Marco Pappa, Gonzalo Segares
SEA: Eddie Johnson, Fredy Montero
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS:
NY: Mehdi Ballouchy
CHI: Dan Gargan, Sebastian Grazzini, Pavel Pardo

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (41 meetings): Red Bulls 11 wins, 47 goals … Fire 21 wins, 66 goals … Ties 9
AT NEW YORK (20 meetings): Red Bulls 8 wins, 28 goals … Fire 9 wins, 29 goals … Ties 3
FUTURE MATCH: 10/6: New York Red Bulls vs. Chicago Fire, 3:30 p.m. ET (NBC Sports)
•    The teams are meeting for the second time this season. The Fire claimed a 3-1 victory on June 17 at Toyota Park.
•    Over the last five seasons, New York has defeated Chicago just once – a 1-0 win March 27, 2010 at Red Bull Arena. Since the 2008 season, the Fire are 6-1-3 vs. the Red Bulls.
•    The Red Bulls have never won at Toyota Park. In nine all-time meetings in Bridgeview, the Fire have won six, with three draws. New York’s last road win vs. Chicago came May 31, 2005, when the MetroStars posted a 3-1 victory at Soldier Field.
•    Coaches record: Hans Backe vs. CHI: P3 W0 L1 T2 … Frank Klopas vs. NY: P6 W1 L2 T3

LAST MEETING (MLS)
6/17: CHI 3, NY 1 (Nyarko 4; Segares 68; Rolfe 81 – McCarty 55)
•    The Fire opened the scoring in the fourth minute. Sebastian Grazzini corraled a loose ball, cut to the left of the area and floated a left-footed cross to the right side of the box, where a wide-open Patrick Nyarko powered a header past New York goalkeeper Ryan Meara and into the back of the net.
•    But 10 minutes after halftime, the Red Bulls tied the game when Dax McCarty’s header from a Mehdi Ballouchy’s corner kick slipped through to the back of the net after the midfielder found a pocket of space in the area.
•    The Fire regained the lead for good in the 68th minute when Gonzalo Segares sent a rolling ball goalward than Dominic Oduro just clipped back away from goalkeeper Meara, Segares racing on ahead of a defender to smash the ball into the goal.
•    Chicago's Chris Rolfe sealed the win in the 81st minute when he tapped in Nyarko’s goalmouth cross, after Nyarko had turned the corner with a juking run on the right flank.
•    CHICAGO FIRE (4-2-3-1): Sean Johnson - Dan Gargan, Austin Berry, Jalil Anibaba, Gonzalo Segares - Logan Pause, Pavel Pardo - Patrick Nyarko, Sebastian Grazzini (Chris Rolfe 61), Marco Pappa (Hunter Jumper 85) - Dominic Oduro (Rafael Robayo 76).
•    NEW YORK RED BULLS (4-1-3-2): Ryan Meara - Brandon Barklage (Connor Lade 71), Markus Holgersson, Wilman Conde, Roy Miller (Mehdi Ballouchy 46) - Heath Pearce - Jan Gunnar Solli, Dax McCarty (Victor Palsson 89), Joel Lindpere - Dane Richards, Kenny Cooper.

NEW YORK RED BULLS
The New York Red Bulls made it three games without a victory, Seattle Sounders FC coming back for a 2-2 draw Sunday at Red Bull Arena. The Red Bulls are in third place in the Eastern Conference, with 32 points from 19 games.

HIGHLIGHTS: NY 2, SEA 2

LAST MATCH
•    Sounders FC jumped out in front in the 16th minute. Right back Adam Johansson hit a perfect cross from deep on the right flank and Alvaro Fernández raced in and hit a sliding first-time effort that new Red Bulls goalkeeper Bill Gaudette could not reach.
•    But eight minutes later, the Red Bulls pulled level. Forward Kenny Cooper hit a bending shot from outside the penalty area that Seattle goalkeeper Bryan Meredith parried into the path of a wide-open Sebastien Le Toux, who finished with ease from close range.
•    The Red Bulls took a 61st-minute lead when Joel Lindpere made a run that just beat the Seattle offside trap. He collected a pass from Brandon Barklage and cut inside Seattle defender Jeff Parke before unleashing a low, left-footed shot to the near post.
•    Sounders FC pulled level six minutes later. Seattle midfielder Brad Evans hit a low cross from the right that an open Fredy Montero one-timed into the back of the net from the heart of the area for the equalizer.
•    Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe made five changes to the team that fell 2-0 to the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium. Bill Gaudette and Sebastien Le Toux were given their Red Bulls debuts, and Thierry Henry, Rafa Marquez and Markus Holgersson all came back into the side, in place of Ryan Meara, Stephen Keel, Wilman Conde, Mehdi Ballouchy and the traded Dane Richards.
•    NEW YORK RED BULLS (4-3-1-2): Bill Gaudette - Brandon Barklage, Rafa Marquez (Wilman Conde 21), Markus Holgersson, Roy Miller - Joel Lindpere, Dax McCarty, Connor Lade - Thierry Henry - Kenny Cooper, Sebastien Le Toux.

TEAM NEWS
•    The Red Bulls played to a fourth draw in their last seven games. They have won just once in that span, dating back to May 23.
•    “Quite a rough start defending-wise. They could play in between our defense a little too easy," said Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe. “But after some adjustments, we just improved in the second half. We should’ve won it.”
•    Goalkeeper Bill Gaudette, acquired from the LA Galaxy the day before the match, started against Seattle. Rookie Ryan Meara had played every minute in goal in the first 18 games for New York.
•    “It’s tough when you come into a new environment, there’s no way around it,” Gaudette said. “It wasn’t the easiest situation to come in and kind of just jump in there. The guys really don’t know me, don’t know my style, don’t know much about anything [about me]. It was a little interesting.”
•    Sebastien Le Toux opened his account in his first game with the Red Bulls following his trade from Vancouver, scoring the opening goal. It was his first goal in league play since June 20, the last of his six goals with Whitecaps FC.
•    “I didn’t really think about it,” Le Toux said. “It went pretty fast since two days ago. I came late. (Saturday) was my first day with the team. I feel like my mind was really off tonight, but I’m really happy to score my first goal in my new uniform. I’m just disappointed that we didn’t win.”
•    Said Red Bulls captain Thierry Henry: “Sébastien had a great game. Scoring a goal in his first game for us was great. Bill also played well.”
•    Henry returned to the starting lineup after a match off, beginning the match in a deep-lying central position behind the front two of Kenny Cooper and Le Toux.
•    “I think with another balance in midfield (with) the other three guys, to play Thierry behind these two, I think it’s possible,” said Backe to the New York Post. “But you need more box-to-box players around Thierry. Then I think it’s definitely a possibility.”
•    Said Henry: “At the beginning we tried something that clearly didn’t work, because we were not touching the ball. And then I went to see the boss and decided to go back to a 4-4-2 and then we were in better shape I thought. We started to play way better.”
•    Rafa Márquez made his return to the Red Bulls lineup after a two-match absence, but lasted just 21 minutes before he was forced off with a calf injury.

CHICAGO FIRE
The Chicago Fire rebounded from a home defeat, getting the game’s lone goal for a win against Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday evening at Toyota Park. The Fire are in fourth place in the Eastern Conference with 31 points from 19 games.

HIGHLIGHTS: CHI 1, VAN 0

LAST MATCH
•    The Fire took the lead after 10 minutes when Pável Pardo connected on a curling free kick from just beyond the top of the area.
•    Chicago played the final 21 minutes a man down after defender Arne Friedrich was sent off after seeing two yellow cards from referee Jose Carlos Rivero in the space of two minutes, but the home side held out for the win.
•    Fire head coach Frank Klopas made one change to the team that fell 2-0 to the LA Galaxy at Toyota Park. Alex came into the midfield in place of Marco Pappa.
•    CHICAGO FIRE (4-2-3-1): Sean Johnson - Jalil Anibaba, Arne Friedrich (sent off 69), Austin Berry, Gonzalo Segares - Logan Pause, Pavel Pardo - Patrick Nyarko (Rafael Robayo 78), Alex (Dan Gargan 71), Chris Rolfe - Dominic Oduro (Corben Bone 65).

TEAM NEWS
•    The Fire won for the fifth time in their last six games at Toyota Park. Their six home victories are one off the most in MLS, behind D.C. United and Seattle Sounders FC.
•    “Everyone knows what the goal is and that’s what we’re shooting for,” said Fire head coach Frank Klopas. “We’re not happy with nine wins. It’s about game after game after game. You can’t get too high or too low after games. We have a difficult match in New York and then we have to keep going. We have to reach our goal in the end.”
•    Pavel Pardo’s goal was his second since coming to MLS – his first since his debut with the Fire, which came on Aug. 3, 2011.
•    “In the last game, also it was a great save from the goalkeeper in the same spot,” said Pardo. “But today it was really good. When I kicked the ball I knew it. You know when sometimes you kick [the ball] very well you know it’s going to be on the net. So I was really happy, but more happy for three points.”
•    Alex made his first MLS start for the Fire, starting in the attacking midfield role behind striker Dominic Oduro.
•    “Alex needs a little more time to get his rhythm. They played three defensive midfielders. Vancouver came out and played very defensively, which gave Pavel [Pardo] and Logan [Pause] the ability to find space. Especially with the way they dropped, every time Alex had the ball we were able to combine,” said Klopas. “When our outside backs pushed forward in the final third, then the forwards could come inside. That was our whole game plan-to beat them with pace and combination play in the final third. They are big on defense and we didn’t want to be in the situation where we were hitting long balls.”
•    After three consecutive starts in the center of the Fire midfield, Chris Rolfe moved to a wide position with Marco Pappa out with an upper respiratory infection.
•    “They interchange. They are dynamic players with pace that are good on the ball,” Klopas said. “Now they have the freedom to interchange with diagonal runs. They have more freedom when we have two holding guys behind them. Those guys can be creative and express themselves in the final third.”
•    Said Nyarko: “A lot of combinations, picking up that extra pass [can improve. Sebastian [Grazzini], [forward Dominic Oduro] and myself, we read each other perfectly, with runs and where Sebastian likes to play the ball and all that stuff. Over the course of the year, that came to us naturally. That’s where we need to improve. He can read our runs better and show us where he needs to place the ball and we’ll read those runs for him. That’s the next step.”
•    The Fire kept a clean sheet for the third time in the last four games, but it was their first at home since a May 9 scoreless draw with Real Salt Lake.
•    “Most importantly you just want to win games,” said goalkeeper Sean Johnson. “It’s a plus to get shutouts, but the first thing is getting three points… being able to do both, given the fact we had 10 men, shows that we have character as a team, and we were able to fight. Those ten guys in front of me battled for 90 minutes and we were able to come away with the result.”