Thursday, September 20, 2007

Thursday Night Soccer - Chicago vs. Dallas - Blanco to let it all hang out

Chicago Fire (8-10-6) vs. FC Dallas (12-9-3)
8pm ET/5pm PT
All eyes will be on Cuauhtemoc Blanco tonight as ESPN brings back their Beckham cam, but with a Mexican flare. For the full 90-minutes, there will be a camera trained on Blanco as he looks to give Chicago their first victory in Dallas since Independence Day 1999. What a dry spell it has been.

In addition, the Brimstone Cup is back up for grabs with the Fire needing a victory to keep FCD from claiming it. But the bigger prize both teams will be looking for is playoff positioning. It would take a major train wreck to keep FCD out of the post season, but his game is still mighty important because if they drop it, their chances of taking the West are all but gone, which could easily mean a third place finish. Then again, this might be for the best because there would be next to no way they could face Colorado in the first round.

The Fire sit in the final playoff spot by just a point, but with one game (this one) in hand. So this is their chance to start closing that door. Anything less then a full three points give Colorado and Columbus hope, which the Fire don't want to see happen.

So what needs to be done? Simple, the Fire need to find someone to finish things. Blanco has been doing a lot of the lifting, but he needs a good target. Paulo Wanchope has moments and Calen Carr has energy, but neither one of them have the kill in them. Because of this, there should be a lot of long-range shots, which might work out for the Fire since Dario Sala is having trouble in goal for Dallas.

FCD has a DP of their own in Denilson, but he has yet to take a major role in the team (not a surprise since he hasn't even been with them a month), but this could be his night. The Fire have a good defense, but they do miss marks and can be surprised on counters or surprise play. If Denilson uses some of his better ball work, he could send them in the wrong direction and open things up. Still, he will need another player to step up to take some of the heat. Carlos Ruiz should be that player, but even though he looked solid on Saturday, he has still been off for the season.

There is another possibility for Dallas in the form of Toja, but even if he does see minutes, he is just getting off the injury list so it might not be as strong as it could be.

Overall, both these teams suffer from a lack of goal scoring and, at times, very sloppy defense. Odds are there will be a lot of build up with very little pay off, but one goal will not be enough to win it. The Fire need this game more so look for them to come out pushing early (hoping to catch Dallas sleeping in the first 15-minutes). If no goal comes of that, it will be a long slog.

Predictions: Me CF 1-1 FCD, Wife CF 1-2 FCD

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Blogger ERic said...

Wow. You nailed one. You're starting to get a handle on how FCD is playing right now.


11:44 AM  

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