Thursday, November 13, 2008

Rob Previews Tonight's Chicago Fire MLS Semifinal

Rob will be our regular soccer analyst and fan. He is especially qualified for the job because of his love for the game and minority status. Enjoy!

Tonight, our Chicago Fire will be in Columbus taking on the Crew for the Eastern Conference Championship. The winner will face the winner of the New York Red Bull v. Real Salt Lake “Western” Conference Championship for the MLS Cup. At the risk of sounding extremely presumptuous, I’m going to go ahead and say that tonight’s game is all but for the title. The Eastern Conference has been markedly stronger than their Western counterparts, as evidence by the presence of New York earning a wild card spot in the Western Conference bracket.

As for the game itself, damn I’m excited. This is about as good as MLS soccer (redundancy alert!) is going to get this year. The Crew, under Coach of the Year Sigi Schmid, will be lead by Argentine legend/MVP Candidate Guillermo Barros Schelotto (16 assists!), and talented young Americans Robbie Rogers and (my sentimental favorite) Eddie Gaven. The Fire will be anchored by Goalkeeper of the Year Jon Busch and an attack that features American legend/hometown hero Brian McBride and the player everyone hates-to-love-to-hate, CuauhtĂ©moc Blanco.* It’s sure to be an entertaining game, but I’ve got two reasons to believe the Fire will come out on top: Defense and Chris Rolfe.

The Fire backline of Gutierrez, Conde, Soumare, and Segares are skilled, physical as all-hell, and seem to have gotten their act back together after a brief stretch at the end of the regular season when they were leaking goals. Most importantly, Chris Rolfe is in the zone right now, with 4 goals and 2 assists in his last three matches. If he plays well tonight, the Fire attack will eventually wear down a sturdy Columbus backline. It’s amazing that a team’s leading scorer gets as little publicity as he does, but I suppose playing with McBride and Blanco will do that to you.

2-1 Fire. Then we can all hope Chicago is gifted an MLS Final against former coach Juan Carlos Osorio.

*Oddly enough, spell check happens to auto correct the word “CuauhtĂ©moc.” Go figure.


Barak Golbama said...

Brian McBride....good times.

Steve Lavey said...

Check out Diego Gutierrez' post-game comments at, the social network where athletes connect directly with their fans

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