Struggling Rapids, Fire hope to get hot at DSG
The Colorado Rapids remain at home for a second consecutive week, playing host to the Chicago Fire at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The Rapids lost for the third time on the trot last week in Commerce City, a 1-0 loss to Seattle Sounders FC. The Fire haven’t won in their last four games, coming off a 1-1 home draw with the Houston Dynamo.
REFEREE: Jorge Gonzalez. SAR (bench): Anthony Vasoli; JAR (opposite): Darren Clark; 4th: Jose Carlos Rivero MLS Career: 55 games; FC/gm: 24.4; Y/gm: 3.4; R: 17; pens: 15
INJURY REPORT: COLORADO RAPIDS – OUT: FW Macoumba Kandji (L knee ACL tear); FW Quincy Amarikwa (L ankle sprain); QUESTIONABLE: FW Conor Casey (L hamstring strain); DF Eddie Ababio (R hamstring strain); PROBABLE: MF Pablo Mastroeni (R Achilles strain); MF Sanna Nyassi (L hamstring strain) ... CHICAGO FIRE – OUT: MF Mike Banner (L Achilles tendinitis); DF Steven Kinney (R Achilles repair); DOUBTFUL: MF Marko Maric (L ankle sprain/contusion); FW Gabriel Ferrari (L hamstring strain); QUESTIONABLE: DF Cory Gibbs (L hamstring strain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: COL: Brian Mullan (through June 18)
WARNINGS: SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: COL: Conor Casey
ALL-TIME (34 meetings): Rapids 11 wins (0 shootout), 45 goals ... Fire 16 wins (1 shootout), 57 goals ... Ties 7
AT COLORADO (16 meetings): Rapids 8 wins (0 shootout), 27 goals ... Fire 3 wins (1 shootout), 19 goals ... Ties 5
RETURN MATCH: 8/27: Chicago Fire vs. Colorado Rapids, 7:30 p.m. CT
LAST YEAR (MLS): 4/3: COL 2, CHI 2 (Cummings 13; Casey 41 – John 26; McBride 51) 6/9: CHI 2, COL 2 (Pappa 23, 45 – Cummings 21; Casey 90)
- The Fire are unbeaten on their last two trips to Colorado. Chicago’s 2-1 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in 2009 was their first on the road against the Rapids since 1999, and just their third all-time in Colorado.
- The Rapids haven’t won in Chicago since 2004, a 3-0 win at Soldier Field. Colorado have never won at Toyota Park; in five all-time meetings there, the Fire have won three (with two draws)
- The teams are actually meeting for the second time this season. They met in Peoria, Ill. on March 30 in a U.S. Open Cup play-in match, when the Fire advanced with a 2-1 victory. Gaston Puerari scored just before the halftime whistle and Jalil Anibaba put home the game winner from 35 yards out after Andre Akpan scored for the Rapids.
- Coaches record: Gary Smith vs. CHI: P5 W1 L2 D2 ... Carlos de los Cobos v COL: P2 W0 L0 D2
The Colorado Rapids saw their losing run hit three games, falling 1-0 to Seattle Sounders FC on Friday evening at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The Rapids have 9 points from 6 games, in a tie for third place in the Western Conference.
- The match turned early. In the third minute, Rapids midfielder Brian Mullan went in with a two-footed sliding tackle on Sounders winger Steve Zakuani and was given a straight red card. Zakuani was taken off on a stretcher and immediately transported to the hospital to undergo X-rays for a broken leg.
- In the 19th minute, Sounders FC finally took advantage. O'Brian White laid the ball off to Mauro Rosales, who subsequently found Fredy Montero at the edge of the penalty area. The Colombian then slipped the ball under ‘keeper Matt Pickens for his first goal of the season.
- Rapids head coach Gary Smith made one change to the team that fell 1-0 to Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium. Pablo Mastroeni returned to the starting lineup in place of Wells Thompson.
- COLORADO RAPIDS (4-4-2): Matt Pickens - Kosuke Kimura, Marvell Wynne, Tyrone Marshall (Anthony Wallace 66), Drew Moor - Brian Mullan (sent off 3), Pablo Mastroeni (Wells Thompson 68), Jeff Larentowicz, Jamie Smith (Sanna Nyassi 72) - Caleb Folan, Omar Cummings.
- In the aftermath of the Zakuani injury and impending suspension, Brian Mullan did not take part in training at the start of the week.
- “He is visibly shaken and there is no way he can train. I said to him to take some time off to try and come to terms with it, and I don’t think he is going to be ready for quite a while,” Gary Smith said. “It was an over- zealous, late challenge and it deserves a suspension. It is a situation that nobody wants to see.”
- The Rapids have now gone three consecutive games without scoring a goal. It’s the first time they’ve gone three straight games without scoring since July 1-8, 2007.
- "There were so many things that weren’t right. I don’t know whether that was because of the injury, or we were playing a man down,” Gary Smith said. “Our final pass wasn’t good enough; when we got in good areas we never made enough of it; there wasn’t enough cutting edge;
- While the Rapids had influential midfielder Pablo Mastroeni back for the first time since April 3, he lasted just three-quarters of the match before Wells Thompson came on. Jamie Smith, who filled a central midfield role in Mastroeni’s absence against Real Salt Lake, also came off for the final quarter of the contest.
- Striker Conor Casey, who has not played since coming off in the 52nd minute against D.C. United, is still out and not expected to rejoin the squad before the Chicago match.
- After playing host to Chicago, the Rapids hit the road again for three consecutive games, at Houston (May 4), New England (May 7) and D.C. United (May 14).
The Chicago Fire saw their winless streak extended to four games, the Houston Dynamo scoring a late goal to come back for a 1-1 draw on Saturday evening at Toyota Park. The Fire have 5 points from 6 matches on the year, sitting in eighth place in the Eastern Conference.
- The Fire took the lead with an opportunistic goal in the 18th minute. Marco Pappa's dribbling run was finally stopped just outside the box, but Diego Cháves beat Houston defender Corey Ashe to the loose ball, turning and sprinting into the right side of the area before blasting a 10-yard shot into the top left corner.
- But the Dynamo were able to snatch the equalizer seven minutes from the end. Center back Bobby Boswell rose above Fire defender Yamith Cuesta to head home a Brad Davis corner kick to extend Houston’s unbeaten streak and Chicago’s winless streak.
- Fire head coach Carlos de los Cobos made four changes to the team that lost 2-1 to the LA Galaxy on Sunday afternoon at Toyota Park. Yamith Cuesta came into central defense in place of Cory Gibbs, and Baggio Husidic, Patrick Nyarko and Dominic Oduro started in place of Michael Videira, Davis Paul and Gaston Puerari.
- CHICAGO FIRE (4-1-4-1): Jon Conway – Jalil Anibaba (Dasan Robinson 76), Josip Mikulic, Yamith Cuesta, Gonzalo Segares - Logan Pause - Marco Pappa, Diego Chaves, Baggio Husidic (Michael Videira 65), Patrick Nyarko - Dominic Oduro (Gaston Puerari 82)
- After going two games without a goal, Chicago’s Diego Cháves scored his fourth goal of the season in the 1-1 draw with Houston, sitting second in the MLS Golden Boot standings. Marco Pappa led the Fire with seven goals last year; the last Chicago player to hit for double figures in goals in a season was Damani Ralph with 11 in 2004.
- “A difficult situation for us because we made a big effort,’’ de los Cobos said. “It was a shame, because we could have won this match. But we need to keep working. We have young guys with good qualities, but we are young.”
- While the Fire conceded just one goal for the first time since the season opener, they saw their winless run extended. The Fire still have not kept a clean sheet this season, but nor have they been shut out.
- “We had that 1-0 lead, and we just played not to give away a goal instead of just looking to play the way we did,” Baggio Husidic said to the Chicago Sun-Times. “We’re very, very disappointed that we didn’t get 3 points today.”
- Dominic Oduro made his first start for the Fire, after being acquired from the Dynamo early in the season for Calen Carr. “His speed always created problems for the back line of Houston,” de los Cobos said.
- Also making his first start this season for the Fire was Husidic, in an attempt to get more creativity out of the Fire midfield. But Husidic was removed in favor of Michael Videira after 65 minutes.
- “My intention was to put a player beside [Logan Pause] to try to keep the ball, to move the ball and to make the other guys play,” de los Cobos said. “Baggio tried, but in some moments of the game he disappeared, and for that reason I took him off.”
- Also making his first Fire start was center back Yamith Cuesta, with Cory Gibbs out with a left hamstring strain suffered in the loss to the LA Galaxy. Cuesta almost had his shift shortened following a clash of heads with Dynamo striker Cam Weaver in the 58th minute, but both were able to continue.
- Rookie Jalil Anibaba had played every minute of each of the first five league matches until he came off in the 76th minute in favor of Dasan Robinson, with the Fire protecting their 1-0 lead.
- “He has good qualities, but he needs to learn,” de los Cobos said of Anibaba. “He needs to get more experience. Sometimes he makes mistakes because he is young.”