Colorado Rapids vs. Chicago Fire | MLS Match Preview

COLORADO RAPIDS vs CHICAGO FIRE
DICK’S SPORTING GOODS PARK, Commerce City, Colo.
June 4, 2014 (WEEK 14, MLS Game #126)
7 p.m. MT (Altitude; My50 Chi)

The Colorado Rapids and Chicago Fire meet for the only time this season when the clubs clash on Wednesday evening at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The Rapids have won back-to-back games, both in Commerce City, last a 3-0 win against the Houston Dynamo on Sunday. The Fire hit the road after a 1-1 draw with the LA Galaxy, also on Sunday, at Toyota Park.

REFEREE: Ricardo Salazar. AR1 (bench): Fabio Tovar; AR2 (opposite): Jason White; 4th: Allen Chapman
MLS Career: 187 games; FC/gm: 26.8; Y/gm: 3.4; R: 54; pens: 67

SUSPENDED: none
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: CHI: Mike Magee
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CHI: Quincy Amarikwa
DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (38 meetings): Rapids 12 wins (1 shootout), 49 goals … Fire 18 wins (0 shootout), 62 goals … Ties 8
AT COLORADO (18 meetings): Rapids 9 wins (1 shootout), 30 goals … Fire 3 wins (0 shootout), 20 goals … Ties 6

LAST YEAR (MLS)
6/19: CHI 2, COL 1 (Magee 23; Berry 47 – Brown 17)

  • This is the only league meeting between the teams this season.
  • The teams met once a season ago, with the Fire taking a 2-1 win June 19 at Toyota Park. The Rapids have never won in Bridgeview. Colorado’s last road win against Chicago came in 2004, at Soldier Field.
  • Colorado’s 2-0 win in 2012 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park snapped a three-game winless streak in home games vs. the Fire. They had last won in Commerce City in the series in 2008.
  • Coaches record: Pablo Mastroeni vs. CHI: first game … Frank Yallop vs. COL: P29 W11 L10 D8

COLORADO RAPIDS

The Colorado Rapids won their second game on the trot, rolling to a 3-0 win against the Houston Dynamo on Sunday evening at at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The Rapids are in third place in the Western Conference with 21 points from 13 games.

LAST MATCH

  • The Rapids were in the lead after just the fifth minute. Right back Marvell Wynne hit a perfect cross from the right flank finding a streaking Deshorn Brown, who headed in from about at the penalty spot.
  • The lead was doubled on 35 minutes. Dillon Powers made eye contact with Brown and sent a looping pass into space on the right side of the box, where Brown caught up to it before slotting it past goalkeeper Tally Hall inside the far post as the offside flag stayed down.
  • Kamani Hill put the match away six minutes after the second-half restart with a wonderfully inventive goal, soaring into the air to connect on a beautiful back heel from a Powers corner kick.
  • Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni made one change to the team that strolled to a 4-1 win against the Montréal Impact at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Nick LaBrocca came into the team in place of Danny Mwanga.
  • COLORADO RAPIDS (4-4-2): Clint Irwin - Marvell Wynne, Shane O'Neill, Drew Moor, Christopher Klute - Dillon Serna, Jose Mari (Jared Watts 74), Nick LaBrocca, Kamani Hill - Dillon Powers (Marlon Hairston 69), Deshorn Brown (Danny Mwanga 80).

TEAM NEWS

  • The Rapids have won back-to-back games, their first consecutive wins at home this season. The Rapids won back-to-back games April 5-12 – both on the road, at Vancouver and Toronto.
  • “I’ve been talking about it all year. It’s the mentality we have as a group. I’ve said all year, it’s going to take some time,” said Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni. There’s not a doubt in my mind that we can get to where we want to be as a team, come the critical moments of the season. I think the second half of the last game, and tonight, was a glimpse of where we want to be, and where we want to go.”
  • Clint Irwin recorded his fifth shutout, tied atop the MLS standings with Tally Hall (Houston) and Eric Kronberg (Sporting KC). It was the sixth shutout of the season for the Rapids.
  • “Offense and defense are connected, they aren’t isolated. For me, I’ve been harping on good defensive shape all season long. From that you get good opportunities going forward,” Mastroeni said. “All this stuff takes time, and I’m asking them to think about the game differently than they’ve ever been asked to think about it. When it comes together, you get performances like [that].”
  • Deshorn Brown scored a pair of goals, his first career multiple-goal game in his two MLS seasons. Brown has 14 goals in 43 league appearances for his career.
  • “I think the difference between good and great at this level is confidence. Those that play at the highest level, and can maintain that level play with a lot of confidence. At times it’s hard to find, especially as a striker when you’re not hitting the net,” Mastroeni said. “But again, all the little things Deshorn has been doing leading into this game has now put him in a position to score those goals. I couldn’t be happier for him, and the type of work that he did when he wasn’t scoring those goals.”
  • Dillon Powers recorded a pair of assists, his first career multiple-assist game. Powers has two goals and two assists in his last two games.
  • “I think his big thing is there’s no right or wrong. It’s just if you do it and do it well then it was the right decision. He wants us to go out and play free. I think I did a lot of that last year too,” Powers said. “I was in that position but floated into the midfield quite a bit. But as far as his philosophy, Pablo just wants us to play and keep it free. Don’t worry about making mistakes, just play.”
  • Marvell Wynne recorded his first assist of the season, making his fourth consecutive start in the back four.
  • Kamani Hill has scored in back-to-back games, his first MLS goals since Oct. 27, 2012 when he scored vs. Houston.
  • “Dillon Powers took it and he served in a great ball to the near post and I was thinking about heading it, but it was kind of in the midrange in between my chest. So I decided to go with the outside of my right foot,” Hill said. “It’s probably a goal I used to score when I was 10 years old. It was just instinct.”

CHICAGO FIRE

The Chicago Fire rebounded from a road loss, reaching a 1-1 draw with the LA Galaxy on Sunday afternoon at Toyota Park. The Fire are in ninth place in the Eastern Conference with 13 points from 12 games.

LAST MATCH

  • The Fire opened the scoring in the 66th minute. Quincy Amarikwa was taken down right on the edge of the area by Juninho and referee Hilario Grajeda pointed to the spot. Jeff Larentowicz stepped up and calmly slotted the well-placed kick low to the right of goalkeeper Jaime Penedo.
  • But six minutes later the Galaxy were level. Robbie Rogers intercepted a pass and drove towards goal, putting a pass across the face of goal where Landon Donovan was on hand to sweep home the equalizer in emphatic style past Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson.
  • Fire head coach Frank Yallop made five changes to the team that fell 2-0 to the Columbus Crew at Crew Stadium. Lovel Palmer, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and Gonzalo Segares came into the back four for Steven Kinney, Patrick Ianni and Greg Cochrane, and Chris Ritter and Grant Ward started in midfield in place of Benji Joya and Juan Luis Anangono.
  • CHICAGO FIRE (4-2-3-1): Sean Johnson - Lovel Palmer (Matt Watson 85), Bakary Soumare, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Gonzalo Segares - Chris Ritter, Jeff Larentowicz - Grant Ward, Harry Shipp, Dilly Duka (Benji Joya 71) - Quincy Amarikwa (Juan Luis Anangono 71).

TEAM NEWS

  • The Fire’s last three goals have come from penalty kicks, after Jeff Larentowicz converted from the spot against LA. The Fire last scored a goal from open play on May 10, in their 5-4 win vs. New York.
  • “I thought we played really well," Fire head coach Frank Yallop said. "I thought we had some great individual performances from a lot of the young guys playing and other than one mistake I thought we thoroughly deserved to win. Obviously, it’s very frustrating points-wise, but very encouraging performance-wise.”
  • Homegrown Player Chris Ritter made his MLS debut as the Fire started a pair of homegrown players for the first time in club history (along with Harry Shipp).
  • “I think Chris has done well in the games he’s had with the reserves, trains well. With a few bumps and scrapes that we do have, I thought our forward play has been good,” Yallop said. “I thought today, other than the chance that they got and they scored on, we kept them pretty quiet. A very good team that’s good at going forward. The stability of Chris next to Jeff, it really wasn’t a defensive move.”
  • With Quincy Amarikwa as a lone striker, Shipp moved into a central midfield role with Grant Ward making his first MLS start on the right flank.
  • “The balance has not quite been right and I think the balance was good today. I think we created enough chances to win the game, but we limited them to not many good looks. Whether it’s Chris or the system we played, I liked it,” said Yallop. “Logan ]Pause] probably would have played in there had he been healthy, but I was very happy with Chris’ performance.”
  • Dilly Duka made his second consecutive start, on the left flank, after having gone since the season opener with appearing in the first XI.
  • “I think both guys did well. Dilly’s been kind of injured all year and he played in the Columbus game and wasn’t effective. He never got himself going. … I thought he did well, a couple of shots, but he is going to tire. He hasn’t played much, but I liked the fact that they are attacking players, both of them, with Harry and Quincy it’s four good attacking options we have and the supply was good from Chris and Jeff,” said Yallop. “I thought Grant Ward played well. He is a good player, a young kid. It’s a shame we’ve not had him and just got him now. We got to make a decision pretty soon so we will see how that goes.”
  • Gonzalo Segares made his first start since the second game of the season, returning to the lineup after playing just seven minutes in between due to injury.
  • Bakary Soumare also returned to the starting lineup after a three-match absence, while Lovel Palmer also returned after missing the Columbus game.
  • “Gonzo’s not really training much. He got an injection before the match, he has to get his ankle cleaned out, but I think he has done well for what he’s done. Baky and Jhon were strong, and played with authority today. Lovel wasn’t our best player but pretty close. I thought he had a great game,” said Yallop. “Once they start to play together again, and it’s been up and down and injuries and other things come into it, but I was very happy with the chances we didn’t give to L.A.”