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MLS midweek matchup FC Dallas at the Chicago Fire- match preview

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FC Dallas at Chicago Fire - 6pm MT -ESPN2

Well from the old days it is the "Brimstone" matchup of the Burn vs. Fire, but neither team is very hot this year in MLS. Each side has just two wins, FCD is 2-2-5, while Chicago is 2-3-3, FC Dallas has a decent road record of 1-1-2, while the Fire are just 1-1-1 at home.  

Each side doesn't have scoring woes, but FC Dallas has gotten 3 of their 10 from the PK spot, while the Fire have just 1 of their 10.  When this matchup is played in Chicago the results are almost even, the Fire have 8 wins with 29 goals, while the Hoops have 7 wins with 26 goals, only once has this matchup ended in a draw when played in Chicago.  

The Fire have a few injuries as Calen Carr, John Thorrington, and Tim Ward are out, and Banner is listed as questionable.  FC Dallas only have one injured player as Marvin Chavez is listed as questionable, Heath Pearce should be rejoining the team after a stint in the USMNT camp, he didn't make the 23 man roster for the World Cup.

More after the jump:

After their very hot run at the end of 2009, just missing the playoffs, FC Dallas actually haven't played poorly this year, they were the better team in both of their losses and have found a way to get draws when they couldn't secure a win.  I am waiting to see who steps up next for FC Dallas, they have had 6 players score goals for them with last year's Golden Boot winner Jeff Cunningham leading the way with 4 goals.  

The FC Dallas defense has improved in recent weeks with the change at keeper from Sala (1.50 GAA) to Hartman (0.80 GAA), they have given up just one goal in each of their last two matches after posting back to back clean sheets.

The Fire have to be happy to be back home after a couple of rough road matches, including a 4-1 thrashing at BMO field and a 2-2 draw (after leading 2-0) at Community America Ballpark.  When facing teams from the Western Conference the Fire are 1-1-2, so far each of their 3 home matches has been against a team from the West and their one road match took them to Colorado where they earned a 2-2 draw.  

I thought that the Fire would need a new creative player to step up and try to fill the void left by Blanco going back to Mexico, so far this year it is Marco Pappa who has 2 goals and 4 assists.  I have been impressed with the play of Baggio Husidic as well, his two goals were scored when his team needed them most.  He has taken advantage of his opportunity to play, and in just 8 matches equaled his minutes from last year.  Chicago has one of the most lethal offensive weapons every to play in MLS, Brian McBride, should FC Dallas fail to cover him on set pieces or give him too much room the Fire could be celebrating early and often.

I think this is a matchup of two teams with a lot of talent that are just starting to figure it all out, should be an exciting match and I actually think that after 90 minutes of action this one ends up a 2-2 draw.  The biggest wildcard in the match will be Baldomero Toledo, what a shame that we would ever have to think that the outcome of matches would be so impacted by officials.

OFF MY SOAPBOX