1) The Fire finally got its first shut out this past weekend since June 2 do you think that the team will be able to keep it going this weekend against the Dynamo?
In short, yes. Houston has scored 3 goals on the road in MLS since the start of June and have been shut out 4 times. I hate to sound cocky, but those numbers don't lie.
It was good for the Fire to finally get a shut out. The Fire defense has actually been pretty solid over the past couple of games, but momentary lapses in focus a long with a little bad luck have been their undoing. I can imagine that it has to get a little demoralizing to play so well and still end up conceding a goal. I think getting a shut out is going to give the defense a nice boost of confidence for Sunday's game against Houston.
2) What match-ups are you looking forward to seeing this time around between the two teams?
Oscar Boniek Garcia vs. Egidio Arévalo Rios
The Fire recently loaned defensive midfielder Arévalo Rios from Palermo over in Serie A. He is like having a pit bull in the midfield. His presence against Sporting Kansas City last Friday was invaluable to getting that shutout (he won 25 duels in that game). The Fire don't try to possess the ball during games which puts a lot of stress on the defense and they eventually crack. Having Arévalo Rios sit in front of the back line has helped relieve some of the pressure put on the back line. He also helps cloghere
up the middle of the field, making it difficult for opponents to play through the middle. Oscar is probably going to see a lot of Arévalo Rios on Sunday.
3) With the team's recent form what do you feel are their chances for making the post-season?
Chicago is one of the hottest team in the league since the end of May when Mike Magee and Bakary Soumare joined the team, but the Fire really shot themselves in the foot with the poor start to the season. The team is only 2 points out of the playoffs, but 6 of their remaining 10 games are on the road. The Fire have not been very good on the road all season. They are definitely close, but it is still going to be a long, uphill battle for the remainder of the season.
Want to see what I had to say to Hot Time In Old Town? Check out my answers here.