Preview: D.C. United vs Chicago Fire
MLS MATCHDAY 24
D.C. United vs Chicago Fire
Wednesday, August 22 - 7:30 PM ET
TV: Comcast Sportsnet | channel finder
Three days removed from an equally dramatic anddisappointing draw against Philadelphia, D.C. United returns to MLS play onWednesday with a critical showdown against the Chicago Fire. Both teams find themselves on theinside edge of the Eastern Conference playoff bubble, and a win for eitherwould go a long way in bolstering any postseason hopes.
“We are in the playoffs,” D.C. Head Coach Ben Olsen saidmetaphorically on Tuesday. “Thesegames are all going to have a playoff mentality for both teams. We are in it, so lets go. Lets get out there and get it done.”
That won’t be easy against a Chicago side that enters RFK ona roll. After taking the full three pointsfrom their last three contests, Frank Klopas’ side moved ahead of D.C. in thecrowded Eastern table. Themid-summer acquisitions of forwards Sherjill MacDonald and Chris Rolfe haveunlocked the Fire attack, with Rolfe scoring five goals since re-joiningChicago from Danish side Alborg.
The addition of midfield playmaker Alvaro Fernandez fromSeattle has also bolstered the visitors in midfield.
“Those two need to be commended because they’ve come in anddone a great job for us so quickly,” Rolfe told reporters of Fernandez and MacDonald, bothof whom joined the Fire after Rolfe did in early June. “They’re really easy to play with, bothof them know the game so well, and they know their roles.”
“I think they are a much better team than they were atbeginning of the year,” Olsen acknowledged. “[Chicago coach] Frank [Klopas] has done a good job. Theyare a fun team to watch and they’ve got some really good pieces.”
While the Fire enter Wednesday contest on a high note, D.C.does so in search of answers. On Sunday, a series of controversial calls ledto a loss of composure from Olsen’s side. Veterans Branko Boskovic and Emiliano Dudar were both sent off duringthe game’s tense final minutes. Immediately after the final whistle, defender Chris Korb and BrandonMcDonald had to be separated by teammates.
On Tuesday, captain Dwayne De Rosario highlighted the silverlining in the weekend’s emotional overflow.
“I think it’s good because we are seeing guys really care,”noted DeRo. “It shows that passion. I think guys are starting to take a lot of onus on themselves andexpecting a lot from others and when things don’t go right, you better believethat guys have to be accountable.”
» ANALYSIS:Volkswagen Keys to the Match
REFEREE: Ismail Elfath. AR1 (bench): Craig Lowry; AR2 (opposite): Jeff Muschik; 4th: Jorge Luna Hernandez
MLS Career: 4 games; FC/gm: 23.0; Y/gm: 2.0; R: 4; pens: 3
- D.C. UNITED – OUT: MF Lance Rozeboom (L knee ACL tear); DF Robbie Russell (L plantar fasciitis); DF Daniel Woolard (concussion-like symptoms); DOUBTFUL: FW Maicon Santos (R toe soreness); PROBABLE: FW Dwayne De Rosario (L shoulder soreness)
- CHICAGO FIRE – OUT: DF Cory Gibbs (R knee meniscus repair); MF Logan Pause (L pneumothorax)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: DC: Branko Boskovic (through Aug. 22); Emiliano Dudar (through Aug. 22)
- SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: CHI: Dan Gargan
- SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: DC: Maicon Santos, Chris Pontius, Dwayne De Rosario, Andy Najar, Dejan Jakovic, Lionard Pajoy … CHI: Sebastian Grazzini, Pavel Pardo, Patrick Nyarko, Dominic Oduro, Gonzalo Segares
ALL-TIME (41 meetings): United 16 wins, 57 goals … Fire 15 wins, 57 goals … Ties 10
AT RFK STADIUM (21 meetings): United 10 wins, 33 goals … Fire 7 wins, 27 goals … Ties 4
RETURN MATCH: 10/27: Chicago Fire vs. D.C. United, 3 p.m. CT (NBC SN)
LAST YEAR (MLS)
8/18: CHI 1, DC 1 (Grazzini 59 – Wolff 73)
10/15: DC 1, CHI 2 (De Rosario 90 – Grazzini 90; Chaves 90)
• D.C. United haven’t defeated the Chicago Fire since a 1-0 win at Toyota Park on Aug. 29, 2009. The Fire have won two of the four meetings since, with two draws.
• The Fire have won both of their last two visits to RFK Stadium, in each of the last two years. But the Fire haven’t defeated United at home since a 1-0 win in 2006. Since then, United have won three of their six trips to Toyota Park, with three draws.
• When the Fire came back for a 2-1 win last Oct. 15, it was the fifth time in MLS history a team had scored the game-tying and winning goals in second-half stoppage time – and it was the third time either D.C. or Chicago had been involved. United was on the winning end in a 3-2 win against the Fire, April 8, 2000, and also in a 4-2 win against New England on July 27, 2003.
• The first time a team scored the tying and winning goals in stoppage time also involved D.C. United and Chicago – April 8, 2000. The winning goalscorer that day? Current United head coach Ben Olsen.
• Coaches record: Ben Olsen vs. CHI: P3 W0 L1 D2 … Frank Klopas vs. DC: P2 W1 L0 D1