MLS Thursday Preview: RSL at Chicago

MLS Thursday Preview: RSL at Chicago

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On July 8, 2010
  • 2010 Week 15, Thursday Preview

Patrick Nyarko and the Chicago Fire hope to cool off red-hot Real Salt Lake. (Getty Images)

The World Cup final may be this weekend but Major League Soccer continues to roll through their schedule with another week of action. Its nearly the midway point for most of the league as week 15 gets under way with a rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference finals between Real Salt Lake and the Chicago Fire.

RSL comes into tonight’s match with a nine-game league unbeaten streak. Chicago is hoping to just get themselves back into the playoff picture with a win as they’re sitting 4th in a weaker east right now while RSL is holding steady in a much crowded west in 2nd place.

A lot has changed between these clubs since that last meeting at Toyota Park that saw RSL go through to the MLS Cup last November. RSL is looking good while Chicago is still figuring some things out about themselves here.

The midfield battle in this one will be interesting to watch. Javier Morales and company continue to impress each week but we know RSL hasn’t always been a good road side. They’ve never won in Toyota Park in regular season play but the confidence from last fall should be enough in this one.

Chicago has to find a way to shutdown Newcomer of the Year candidate Alvaro Saborio. The match-up between Saborio and Wilman Conde should beĀ fascinatingĀ to watch. I just don’t think the Fire have enough cover to slow all of the RSL attack down.

RSL will have their hands full too with Marco Pappa in the midfield. If they don’t close him down early there could be plenty of action in the RSL defense and in front of Nick Rimando’s goal. No doubt Pappa and veteran Brian McBride will have to do their part to get the Fire attack going in this one.

I’m taking RSL to win this one. They’re too loaded in the midfield for Chicago to handle and I don’t think the Fire will have enough to defend those tough RSL set pieces that Morales sends in.

Player to watch out for: Logan Pause – He’s the big X-factor for the Fire in this one. If he shuts down Morales the Fire stand a great shot at getting points in this one. That’s a big ‘if’ though.

WVH Prediction: RSL 2, Chicago 1