Chicago Fire at New York Red Bulls: Running Commentary

Chicago Fire at New York Red Bulls: Running Commentary

Major League Soccer

Chicago Fire at New York Red Bulls: Running Commentary

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Good afternoon everybody. Today is the day folks in Chicago and the New York/New Jersey area have been waiting for. The Chicago Fire and New York Red Bulls square off in an Eastern Conference clash that has a bit more on the line than just three points.

I know, I know, you didn’t hear anything from either side that even remotely sounded like there was bad blood here, or that this game had a little extra in it. Don’t be fooled. Both sides want this one more than most and there is going to be an intense atmosphere around this one.

Feel free to share your pre-game thoughts here. I am heading to the stadium now and will be checking in with lineups and other observations. This will turn into the running commentary thread once the game starts so stay here during the game and feel free to share your thoughts and opinions in the comments section.

What will you be looking forward to the most today? Start your pre-game discussion here.

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FINAL– Fire 5, Red Bulls 1. WOW. Chicago thorougly mauled a tentative and mistake-prone Red Bulls squad that looked nothing like the team we have seen all season. The Fire is in a tie for first place with Columbus and sure looked like the top team in MLS based on today’s performance.

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87th minute– Fire fans should be enjoying the play of Soumare and Conde together. I think that will be the pairing the rest of the season. As good as Gutierrez looked today in central midfield I think that will be his new home. Once Lider Marmol gets settled in and beats out Logan Pause, the Fire starting lineup will be as good as any in the league.

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84th minute– If anything, today’s result provides a very clear illustration of the Red Bulls many needs. They need a playmaker, a central defender and left back. The playmaker and central defender being the most pressing needs.

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79th minute– Ubiparipovic in for Reyna.

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78th minute– So what happened today? The Red Bulls came out flat and the Fire came out determined and aggressive. I also think the lineup employed by the Red Bulls was a bit suspect. Not starting Altidore was surprising, as was starting Carlos Mendes in a defensive midfield role.

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76th minute– Segares looks to have clipped Altidore in the area but no call. I suppose that makes up for the no-call on Blanco’s PK in the first half.

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73rd minute- GOAL RED BULLS. Altidore with the header. Fire 5, Red Bulls 1.

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73rd minute– 14,754 is the attendance. Not a bad crowd.

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68th minute– Soumare and Altidore exchange some pleasantries, resulting in yellows for Soumare and Angel. It wouldn’t shock me to see a fight in this one.

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64th minute– Segares with the fifth goal and this has just gotten completely out of control. Chicago has played well but several of the goals have come courtesy of terrible defensive blunders by the Red Bulls.

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62nd minute- GOAL FIRE. Fire 5, Red Bulls 0.

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60th minute- GOAL FIRE. Barrett from close range and Conway let a soft one up here.

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57th minute– Altidore and Magee for Mendes and Richards. I know Segares had done a good job on Richards but that was an interesting sub.

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53rd minute– PENALTY. The Fire draws a PK. GOAL FIRE. Blanco with the PK conversion. The PK was on Boyens for a takedown on Mapp.

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52nd minute– Altidore and Magee are about to come in. Hate to say it but those should have been the halftime subs.

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49th minute– Goldthwaite was nowhere to be found on that goal, trailing late on Blanco. Freeman lost Rolfe but when Blanco gets a clear look to deliver a pass from close range, there’s not much many defenders can do there.

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48th minute- GOAL FIRE. Chris Rolfe with a wide-open header. Blanco with the ball in to Rolfe.

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48th minute– No subs for the Red Bulls at halftime. Very interesting.

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HALFTIME– Fire 1, Red Bulls 0. The Fire came out rolling, totally outplaying the Red Bulls through the first 30 minutes. The Red Bulls are lucky to be down just one goal, but did look better in the final 15 minutes of the half. Segares did well on Richards and Gutierrez has been crucial to the Fire’s first-half domination.

So who looked shaky for the Red Bulls? Sassano, Mendes and Freeman have looked suspect at times.

How can the Red Bulls turn things around? Switching to a three-forward attack should help, with Altidore on the left against Brandon Prideaux. Magee in for Sassano, with Reyna dropping deeper could help.

The Fire don’t need to change much, though Hamlett will have to deal with Altidore if the Red Bulls go with three forwards.

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44th minute– Freeman with a nice ball to Richards for a corner, but Chicago clears it out.

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42nd minute– Diego Gutierrez has been stellar for Chicago today.

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40th minute– Danleigh Borman, yes Danleigh Borman, misses by inches on a side volley. Wow. This kid is gutsy and pretty good.

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39th minute– Parke misses a clear header. There was the Red Bulls first real chance of the first half.

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38th minute– Richards finally gets something on Segares, drawing a foul.

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31st minute– Early halftime substitution suggestions? Altidore for Mendes is the obvious one.

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30th minute– Segares has done well on Richards today, showing why he’s probably had the best season of any left back in the league so far in 2008.

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27th minute– The Red Bulls are getting dominated and I have to say this lineup, with Mendes and Sassano in central midfield, isn’t working.

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22nd minute– Kudos to Denis Hamlett for going with Wilman Conde and Bakary Soumare in central defense and Diego Gutierrez in central midfield. Soumare and Conde are much better equipped to deal with Angel and Altidore, which I’m sure is who Hamlett thought the Red Bulls would start.

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20th minute– Blanco has a penalty appeal waived off. It could have been called. He might have been punished for his rep there.

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19th minute– The Fire is playing in a faster gear than the Red Bulls so far and the Red Bulls attack has been invisible for about 15 minutes.

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15th minute– The Red Bulls are missing Dave Van Den Bergh and Jozy Altidore right now. The attack looks a bit lost and the midfield passing has been shoddy after a good few early minutes.

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13th minute– Lots of unforced turnovers for the Red Bulls here. They’re looking nervous, more nervous than they’ve looked all season.

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11th minute– Chicago is organized defensively as usual and the Red Bulls just aren’t passing well right now.

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9th minute– Freeman has NOT looked good early on here.

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7th minute- GOAL FIRE. Chad Barrett beats Hunter Freeman and runs onto a nice ball from Blanco. Fire 1, Red Bulls 0.

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5th minute– The Red Bulls are definitely trying to get Dane Richards involved early on.

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4th minute– Fire offside but Mapp nearly got in behind the Red Bulls defense. Hunter Freeman needs to be careful on that side.

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1st minute– And we’re off and the Red Bulls are in a 4-4-2 with Angel and Richards up top. Mendes is in central midfield, sitting just in front of the back four.

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PRE-GAME– No Stammler today.

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PRE-GAME– We’ve got a decent crowd for this one. Looks like some fans decided that rather than drive down the shore and spend a mint on gas they could come here.

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PRE-GAME– So what match-ups will stand out? Angel and Richards vs. Soumare and Gutierrez will be interesting because I don’t think the Fire has faced a forward tandem that dangerous (and yes, I know Richards isn’t a forward but he’s a handful).

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PRE-GAME– Here’s the Fire’s lineup:

—————–Barrett——————-

Mapp———–Blanco————-Rolfe

————Conde—-Pause————-

Segares-Gutierrez—Soumare–Prideaux

—————–Busch——————–

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PRE-GAME– Mendes will be playing as a defensive midfielder. It looks like he’ll be assigned to shadowing Blanco. That should be an interesting match-up. I really think we will see Richards up top because his speed will create problems for the Fire back-line.

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PRE-GAME– The lineup listed Sassano at forward, which would make the lineup look like this:

————-Angel———Sassano—————-

Borman————Reyna—————Richards

———————Mendes————————

Goldthwaite–Parke—-Boyens——–Freeman

——————–Conway————————-

But I think we’ll see this:

————-Angel———Richards—————-

Borman————Reyna—————Sassano

———————Mendes————————

Goldthwaite–Parke—-Boyens——–Freeman

——————–Conway————————-

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PRE-GAME- Here is the Red Bulls starting lineup:

——————–Angel———————-

Borman————Reyna—————Richards

—————Mendes—Sassano—————-

Goldthwaite–Parke—-Boyens——–Freeman

——————–Conway————————-

BENCH- Thornton, Magee, Ubiparipovic, Wolyniec, Altidore, Leitch, Megaloudis

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PRE-GAME– Greetings from Giants Stadium. It looks like we will have a decent presence of Chicago Fire fans here. I saw some clusters on my way into the stadium. The stadium is still empty since the gates haven’t opened yet (2pm) but it seems like it won’t be a completely empty stadium. I’ll predict 11K.

I’m heading to the parking lots to meet up with some folks and will check back in in about 20 minutes.

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