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Chicago Fire vs. DC United | MLS Match Preview

CHICAGO FIRE vs D.C. UNITED
TOYOTA PARK, Bridgeview, Ill.
July 20, 2013 (WEEK 21, MLS Game #191) 7:30 p.m. CT (My50 Chi; CSN-DC)

The Chicago Fire and D.C. United meet for the second time this season in a crucial match for both clubs as they look to move up the Eastern Conference standings as they face off Saturday evening at Toyota Park. The Fire come into the match off back-to-back losses, the last a 3-1 defeat at Vancouver, and sit in eighth place in the East. United haven’t won in three games, coming off a scoreless draw at Colorado, and sit in 10th place in the division.

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REFEREE: Fotis Bazakos. AR1 (bench): Anthony Vasoli; AR2 (opposite): Chris Strickland; 4th: Kevin Terry Jr.
MLS Career: 17 games; FC/gm: 25.0; Y/gm: 2.8; R: 1; pens: 3

DISABLED LIST: none
SUSPENDED: CHI: Daniel Paladini (through July 20)
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: CHI: Jeff Larentowicz
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: CHI: Daniel Paladini, Bakary Soumare … DC: Perry Kitchen, Daniel Woolard
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: CHI: Sean Johnson (USA) … DC: Bill Hamid (USA)

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (44 meetings): Fire 16 wins, 62 goals … United 17 wins, 62 goals … Ties 11
AT CHICAGO (22 meetings): Fire 9 wins, 33 goals … United 6 wins, 25 goals … Ties 7
FUTURE MATCH: 10/4: D.C. United vs. Chicago Fire, 8 p.m. ET (NBCSN)

  • The teams are playing for the second time this season. An own goal and Mike Magee’s first league goal in a Fire uniform gave Chicago a 2-0 victory, June 2 at Toyota Park.
  • The victory in the first meeting this year was the first for the Fire at home vs. United at home since a 1-0 win in 2006. United had won three of their seven trips to Toyota Park in between, with four draws.
  • United’s 4-2 victory last Aug. 22 at RFK Stadium was their first vs. Chicago since Aug. 29, 2009, a 1-0 win at Toyota Park. The Fire won two of the four meetings in between, with two draws.
  • Coaches record: Frank Klopas vs. DC: P5 W2 L1 D2 … Ben Olsen vs. CHI: P6 W1 L2 D3

LAST MEETING (MLS)
6/2: CHI 2, DC 0 (own goal 9; Magee 85)

  • The Fire were handed the lead in the ninth minute. A free kick by Joel Lindpere was swung in from the left, bounded through the box and deflected off the head of United's Nick DeLeon into his own goal.
  • The home side doubled their lead in the 85th minute when Patrick Nyarko played a through ball into the box for Mike Magee, and he slotted a shot into the lower corner for his first goal with his hometown club.
  • CHICAGO FIRE (4-4-2): Sean Johnson - Jalil Anibaba, Bakary Soumare, Austin Berry, Gonzalo Segares - Patrick Nyarko, Jeff Larentowicz, Alex (Daniel Paladini 74), Joel Lindpere - Chris Rolfe (Maicon Santos 68), Mike Magee (Dilly Duka 87).
  • D.C. UNITED (4-2-3-1): Joe Willis - Chris Korb, Conor Shanosky (Sainey Nyassi 64), Daniel Woolard, James Riley - Perry Kitchen, Nick DeLeon - Chris Pontius, Dwayne De Rosario (John Thorrington 57), Kyle Porter (Rafael Teixeira 79) - Carlos Ruiz.

CHICAGO FIRE
The Chicago Fire suffered their second consecutive defeat, going down to a 3-1 defeat by Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Sunday afternoon at BC Place. The Fire are in eighth place in the Eastern Conference with 21 points from 18 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • The opening goal came on 66 minutes. Taking down a precision punt from goalkeeper Brad Knighton on the right hand side, Camilo turned defender Shaun Francis inside out in the area before firing past Fire goalkeeper Paolo Tornaghi.
  • Camilo claimed a second five minutes later. After Tornaghi stopped him one-on-one, Camilo gathered the rebound and cut back to fire home his league-leading 12th goal.
  • Whitecaps FC made 3-0 in the in the 84th minute when rookie Kekuta Manneh got the better of Jalil Anibaba one-on-one and blasted underneath Tornaghi from the left side of the area.
  • Patrick Nyarko added a consolation goal for the Fire in the 94th minute, heading home a Joel Lindpere cross from the left side of the box after Maicon Santos had hit the post with a header of his own.
  • Fire head coach Frank Klopas made one change to the team that fell 2-1 to Sporting Kansas City at Toyota Park. Shaun Francis came in at left back in place of Gonzalo Segares.
  • CHICAGO FIRE (4-4-2): Paolo Tornaghi - Jalil Anibaba, Bakary Soumare, Austin Berry, Shaun Francis - Patrick Nyarko, Jeff Larentowicz, Alex (Joel Lindpere 60), Dilly Duka (Maicon Santos 74) - Chris Rolfe (Quincy Amarikwa 67), Mike Magee.

TEAM NEWS

  • After a six-game undefeated streak, the Fire have now lost back-to-back games, after the 3-1 defeat at Vancouver.
  • “It’s important how you respond from situations like this. We have a tough stretch coming up right now, we have away games and we need to find a way to get results and points,” said Fire head coach Frank Klopas. “It’s a crucial month and a half with a lot of important games coming up so we need to get points or we’re going to fall behind.”
  • After going more than three months without a league goal, Patrick Nyarko has now scored twice in the last three MLS games with his late strike vs. Whitecaps FC.
  • For a third consecutive game, Joel Lindpere came off the substitutes’ bench, but he collected his third assist in the last four games.
  • “I tried to play smart, especially when you play away you got to keep the ball and give good passes to your teammates. I think I went in and did good, and did what I’m supposed to do: keep the ball, play good passes to my teammates and got an assist,” Lindpere said. “I had two chances to score myself also, but I was happy I got a chance to play in the middle.”
  • Paolo Tornaghi started his third consecutive match with Sean Johnson away with the U.S. team for the CONCACAF Gold Cup, and allowed multiple goals for the fourth time in four starts this season. He’s conceded 11 goals in his four league appearances.
  • “We did not defend well, we did not go as hard into the tackle as we should've and we let him get free,” Nyarko said. “We need to be better at stopping plays early and going in hard and not letting those kind of things happen, because we definitely didn't go hard. [Camilo is] a good enough player to carve those chances out of nothing.”
  • Shaun Francis made his Fire debut, starting at left back with Gonzalo Segares suspended. Francis had spent 2010-12 with the Columbus Crew.
  • “It was an away game so we all knew that they were going to come out and put a lot of pressure on us at home. We weathered the storm and we did a good job in the first half and kept it at 0-0. We got a couple of chances and we didn’t make use of our chances,” said Francis.

READ: Logan Pause says he's fully fit, hopes to feature for Fire this weekend

D.C. UNITED
D.C. United return home and return to league play, completing a two-game Western swing with a scoreless draw with the Colorado Rapids on July 7 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. United are in 10th place in the Eastern Conference with 10 points from 19 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • United goalkeeper Joe Willis was called upon to make saves in keeping his first clean sheet of the season, including two late stops to preserve the point, making diving saves on a pair of blasts from substitute Nick LaBrocca.
  • Rapids goalkeeper Clint Irwin made a pair of saves for his seventh shutout of the season.
  • United head coach Ben Olsen made three changes to the team that suffered a 2-0 loss to Seattle Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field. Taylor Kemp came in at left back for Chris Korb, John Thorrington started in midfield for Alain Rochat, and Carlos Ruiz came in up top for Lionard Pajoy.
  • D.C. UNITED (4-4-2): Joe Willis - James Riley, Ethan White, Daniel Woolard, Taylor Kemp - Sainey Nyassi, John Thorrington, Perry Kitchen, Kyle Porter (Alain Rochat 46) - Chris Pontius (Lionard Pajoy 73), Carlos Ruiz (Casey Townsend 83).

 

READ: Luis Silva adjusting well to life on and off the field: "Everything's falling into place"

TEAM NEWS

  • D.C. United were shut out at the attacking end for a third consecutive match in Colorado. United have scored two goals in their last eight games – both on penalty kicks; their last goal from open play came May 19.
  • “Defensively, it was a game where we hung in. Beggars can't be choosers right now and we'll take the point,” said United head coach Ben Olsen. “There are very few times in my playing career or coaching career where I've come here and gotten a result. It's not an easy place to play so we'll take a positive out of it.”
  • Carlos Ruiz made his first start since June 8, coming into the team alongside Chris Pontius as a strike partnership and playing 83 minutes.
  • “I wish we were a little more connected at times. It's been a long stretch for us. There's been a lot of games and some of the guys are on fumes. They had some good opportunities and we just hung in there,” said Olsen. “We had definitely the best chance in the game with Carlos [Ruiz] and he didn't take his chance, but I thought he put in a good shift. The subs came in and helped out there in the end.”
  • Goalkeeper Joe Willis made his second consecutive start with Bill Hamid on CONCACAF Gold Cup duty with the U.S. national team. He recorded his first shutout of the season, and the fourth of his MLS career.
  • “He handled the box well and he was probably the star of the night for us … This isn't a one-off for Joe. He's been steady. We see him in training. We see him day in and day out. His attitude and his approach,” said Olsen. “I've always liked his demeanor so we have a lot of faith in him. It's only because he's earned that faith. It's not like we're just giving it (the starting job) to him because we like him. He's had a few games here where he's been the guy in charge.”
  • United have lost midfielder Marcelo Saragosa for 4-6 weeks after he underwent a second surgery on his left knee. Saragosa last played May 8 vs. Houston.
  • Nick DeLeon missed both matches on the West Coast trip and had now been out of the team for three consecutive matches with an injured ankle, but has returned to full training.
  • For the weekend off, United played host to CD Guadalajara in a friendly at RFK Stadium on July 12, the teams reaching a 1-1 draw. Carlos Ruiz scored United’s goal, tucking home a cross from 17-year-old Michael Seaton, but Abraham Coronado scored the stoppage-time equalizer for Chivas.