Slow down David Ferreira and you slow down FC Dallas.
That’s the premise the Chicago Fire defense has been operating under this week, when they placed added emphasis on containing FCD’s MVP attacker in Saturday night’s season opener at Pizza Hut Park.
[inline_node:314299]“He’s the driving force of their team,” Fire defensive midfielder Logan Pause told MLSsoccer.com. “It’s going to be a challenge going against him. He loves to play in between lines, in between the midfield and the backs and he’s great at finding those gaps where he can get the ball and turn.”
Pause will probably see more of Ferreira – who scored eight goals and tallied 13 assists in 2010 – than any other Fire player will on Saturday night. But Pause said that the entire team needs to help out if they want to stop the Colombian playmaker.
“It has to be a collective effort of our backs and our midfield,” Pause said. “We have to know when he’s in dangerous parts of the field and understand how we can eliminate him from the game or minimize the number of touches he gets.”
To do that the Fire back line must communicate effectively, a point left back Gonzalo Segares was quick to emphasize.
“We can’t give him any chances or any free space,” Segares told MLSsoccer.com. “We know he’s going to drift to the middle to get the ball and try and find those spaces between the midfielders and the defenders… We’ve just got to be careful with our communication.”
Segares added that the Fire will try to take the 5-foot-5, 145 pound attacker out of his comfort zone by being consistently physical with him.
“We have to be tough on him,” he said. “I know that he doesn’t like it when teams get physical with him, so we just have to pressure him and not give him any space on the ball.”
Sam Stejskal covers the Chicago Fire for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @samstejskal.