October 2, 2012
A look at the upcoming games
Philadelphia Union (8-15-6, 30 pts) @ Chicago Fire (16-9-5, 53 pts), 7:30 pm CT (NBC5.2, TCN-Phi)
The Chicago Fire kick off their weeklong 15th anniversary celebration Wednesday night against playoff outsiders Philadelphia Union at Toyota Park, and could ratchet the party up several notches with a win, which would send them through to the postseason. Points against the Union also would give the Fire a leg up on the New York Red Bulls in advance of Saturday’s showdown between the second and third-place teams in the MLS East. The Fire enter the week tied with New York at 53 points, but below them on the table with fewer goals scored. The Fire have beaten Philadelphia twice this season, 1-0 at home on March 24 behind a goal by Dominic Oduro, and 3-1 August 12 at PPL Park, with Chris Rolfe leading the way with a brace. Rolfe continued his blistering play through the month of September, with three goals and one assist as the Fire put together a four-game winning streak. That run of good luck ended last weekend, however, with a 2-0 loss to conference leaders Sporting Kansas City, that also earned red cards and Wednesday night suspensions for defender Gonzalo Segares and coach Frank Klopas. The Union washed out of the playoff race last weekend, with a controversial 3-2 loss to the Columbus Crew, extending their road winless streak to six games. Antoine Hoppenot’s penalty kick and Jack McInerney’s 86th-minute goal brought the Union back from two goals down, but Milovan Mirosevic scored from what appeared to be an offside position to deliver the win to the Crew. Philadelphia’s lengthy list of injured regulars includes former Fire defender Bakary Soumare, out after knee surgery, as well as Hoppenot (metacarpal stress fracture/calf strain), midfielders Michael Farfan (foot/knee contusions), Freddy Adu (quad strain) and Keon Daniel (knee contusion), and defender Gabriel Farfan (ankle contusion). That and the nothing-to-lose nature of the match might bring some new faces into the Union lineup.
Chivas USA (7-16-7, 28 pts) @ Vancouver Whitecaps FC (10-12-9, 39 pts), 9:00 pm CT (KDOC, SNPac)
Several MLS teams will be watching with bated breath as Chivas USA take on Vancouver Whitecaps FC Wednesday night at BC Place. Anything but a win knocks Chivas out of the playoffs. If Vancouver takes the full three points, both Colorado and Portland will be eliminated from the chase. A draw would knock Portland out of the running, but keep the Rapids alive at least until Saturday night. Despite extending their winless streak to seven games, the Whitecaps kept a narrow hold on fifth place in the MLS West with last weekend’s scoreless draw against Seattle, and improved their home record to 7-2-6. The Goats have lost six straight after last weekend’s 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Real Salt Lake, and have not scored a goal in 442 minutes. The Whitecaps expect to be without firebrand forward Darren Mattocks (7g, 1a in 19 games), who ran as the lone striker against Seattle but left the game with a strained hamstring. The Whitecaps have little else in the way of offense. Camilo is second in team scoring with four goals and five assists, but the third- and fourth-leading scorers, Sebastien Le Toux and Eric Hassli, were long ago traded away.