Match Preview: FCD at Chicago
All-time record: Dallas lead the series 5-2-1
7 p.m. CT, ESPN 2, ESPN Deportes
What’s at stake?
The Fire and FC Dallas renew their Brimstone Cup rivalry with the
first of two meetings on the year. The teams split the season series
last year, with the Fire winning 3-1 at FC Dallas and Dallas blasting
Chicago 3-0 at Toyota Park. Both sides, lagging in their respective
conference races, need a result.
FC Dallas dismantled the Fire 3-0 last May at Toyota Park. Dallas,
who had come into the game with the worst record in the league, took the
match to the previously unbeaten Fire. Forward Jeff Cunningham opened
the scoring in the 15th minute when he headed in a corner kick. Fire
center back C.J. Brown scored an own-goal
in the 35th. FCD forward Kenny Cooper completely sealed the match in
the 80th minute, when he fired a 20-yard free kick into the upper 90.
Heroes and villains
Jeff Cunningham vs. Wilman Conde: First it was Colorado’s Omar Cummings finding the
back of the net against the Fire. Then Kansas City’s Kei Kamara scored twice against Chicago. Now
speedy Dallas forward Cunningham will look to pick up where his quick
counterparts left off. Fire center back Conde will likely see a lot of
Cunningham on Thursday night, when a lot will be riding on whether or
not the Fire’s big Colombian defender can shut down the veteran forward.
Logan Pause vs. Dax McCarty: Whichever team controls
the middle of the field in this match should do well. The battle
between Pause – Chicago’s defensive mid – and McCarty – Dallas’
attack-minded center midfielder – should go a long way towards
determining which team wins that battle. Pause, who will be moving
back to center mid following his start at right back in the Fire’s
friendly against Legia Warsaw, will have to do a good job on the
creative minded McCarty, who has a goal and an assist on the year.
Stat that makes you go “Hmm”
FC Dallas has won each of the last six times the team has visited Chicago.
The streak, which FC Dallas will look to extend to seven on Thursday,
dates back to 2003.
He said it
“We’re worrying about ourselves. We know what kind of team they are –
they’ve got some good ,effective players – but right now, we’re just
trying to take the positives out of the last couple games and continue
to progress.” – Fire midfielder Logan Pause on what the Fire is focusing
on heading into Thursday night’s match.
Watch the preview video