BRIDGEVIEW, IL - OCTOBER 12: George John #14 of FC Dallas falls over Diego Chavez #99 of the Chicago Fire during an MLS match at Toyota Park on October 12, 2011 in Bridgeview, Illinois. FC Dallas defeated the Fire 2-1. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Dallas looks for a funk-snapping win in a midweek tilt against the Chicago Fire.
Despite the Toros giving up yet another lead and leaving Saturday night with only a single point, they have at least managed to stem the bleeding.
At least for now.
Dallas has stopped the losing streak which was making life difficult for them and tonight they travel to the Windy City to face their old rivals, the Chicago Fire. Chicago was on a hot streak of their own, collecting points left and right before a trip to Portland saw the Timbers break out the Fire extinguisher and put them out 2-1.
To be fair to the Fire, the goal that saw them lose was an own goal credited to Logan Pause, the stalwart veteran, and as such is not an entirely reliable indicator of their defensive performance of late. The Fire have proven themselves to be a serious contender in the East, where they currently sit in fourth but have three games in hand on second place D.C. United. Chicago will be eager to bounce back after an away loss and will be looking to make the most of their home field advantage, something the FCD needs to be wary of and plan accordingly.
The Chicago Fire is a team that plays its best out wide and they have plenty of speed to trouble most defenses. Luckily for our Toros, Zach Loyd will be coming back from his one-match ban and will be tasked with guarding the right side of goal, while Jair Benitez will get the call to patrol the left. If there's one advantage Dallas has in their outside backs it is fitness, as both Loyd and (to a lesser extent now) Benitez are speedy defenders, capable of great bursts of energy that makes them hard to beat in a foot race.
Dominic Oduro, Marco Pappa and Sebastian Grazzini are all having a good year so far for the Fire. Oduro's famous speed has been complimented with a better finishing touch, while Pappa and Grazzini orchestrate and organize the attack.
It is important to note that the Fire are not a team that play conservatively and will not hesitate to cross the ball into the box or to strike from distance and as such George John's great height will prove a big advantage in this match, especially with Hernan Pertuz's injury preventing him from contributing.
Brek Shea will still be serving his second game of a three game suspension, which could be a positive as it forces him to rest his turf toe. Blas Perez will, as usual, be lurking up near the top, ready to pounce. Perez has been one of Dallas' bright spots in this troubled season, and he will get help on the wings from Fabian Castillo and Jackson Gonçalves, the deft Brazilian who has been improving with each passing game after his loan was recalled from Brazilian side Cruzeiro.
This match will decide this year's winner of the Brimstone Cup, the trophy from the Dallas Burn days of yore that is handed out to the winner of the game between the two teams. Dallas currently holds the trophy after winning last season's series 3-1 on aggregate.
This midweek match will be the second in a stretch of three games in seven days. Dallas needs to mind their fitness in order to be as fresh as possible for their trip to the fortress that is Rio Tinto Stadium in Salt Lake.
The game will be broadcast on Fox Sports Southwest at 7:30 pm.