Sporting KC tries to get a big three points against the Chicago Fire.

USA TODAY Sports

With the hopeful return of Graham Zusi to the lineup, Sporting KC will try and burn the Fire once again as they try to tie Real Salt Lake atop the Supporters Shield table.

The Eastern Conference is currently packed like Sardines. Eight points separate conference leading Sporting Kansas City and their opponent this evening, the Chicago Fire. The Fire also have two games in hand against Sporting, which means a Fire victory could lead to them eventually leapfrogging Sporting in the standings. However a Sporting win would pull them equal with Real Salt Lake at the top of the Supporters Shield table as the season starts to wind down. It's a crucial match in the corporate rivalry as Sporting tries to burn down Bridgeview once again.

About the Teams

Sporting Kansas City

After losing to the San Jose Earthquakes this past Sunday evening in an insipid effort, Sporting will be very glad to see their assist leader in Graham Zusi back in action. Zusi went through a full training session this week and should descend from his vacation on Mt. Olympus to join us mere mortals once more tonight. Kei Kamara has been ruled out for the match, which could see Zusi on the wing for the first time in several matches. Sporting have lost three out of their last four league matches, but still remain in a good position to end the regular season with some hardware.

Chicago Fire

Despite having to deal with unruly fans who force communications directors to write editorials, Chicago has managed to make a name for themselves ever since the signing of Mike Magee. Their problem has been consistency. They've been able to beat teams like Montreal and Philadelphia, then lose to DC United and New England. And that's just their past four matches. With some new signings in the transfer window, the Fire will look a bit different then when Sporting saw them twice earlier this season, and the Fire will be looking to gain some points going into the playoff race. They sit on the cusp of a spot with some games in hand, but three points tonight would do wonders for the Fire.

Players to Watch

Sporting Kansas City- Graham Zusi

Signs are pointing to Graham Zusi playing for the first time since the MLS All Star Game on July 31. He'll be interesting to watch for a couple of reasons, the first being how he comes back from his injury against a pretty good squad in the Fire. The second reason is that, since Kei Kamara will not play in this match, there's reason to believe that Zusi could play winger for the first time in awhile, with Benny Feilhaber manning the middle. If that's the case, the transition from Kamara's presence to a different one in Zusi will be something interesting to watch.

Chicago Fire- José Luis Anangono

The recently signed designated player for the Fire will play a crucial role in complimenting Mike Magee in the Fire's forward formation. He has started two games and hasn't provided a huge impact yet, but he certainly has the potential. His main goal is to provide good chances for Mike Magee while capitalizing on opportunities presented to him. If he becomes that main provider to Magee against Sporting KC, then the away side could be in a world of hurt this match.

How they will win

Sporting Kansas City

Sporting will need to contain the Fire's attack and not allow Magee and Anangono any space up top. Magee burned Sporting last match, the back four cannot allow that to happen again. Whether that's establishing physical domination early in the match or simply not playing with Fire in regards to offside traps, Sporting cannot allow any opportunities for the dangerous Fire forwards. Once they take care of that, Sporting should have the ability to pressure the Fire back line into allowing a goal resulting in a Sporting victory.

Chicago Fire

The Fire need to follow the examples of the San Jose Earthquakes and the New York Red Bulls. They need to not allow any consistent pressure for Sporting and they need to play their forwards higher up in order to capitalize on counters resulting from Sporting's high pressure offense. San Jose kept Sporting at a nearly equal possession level while limiting their passing accuracy. This comes from stopping opportunities before they happen and containing the ball in the midfield. If Chicago can contain Sporting's possession, there should be no reason why they can't take three points from this match.

Predictions

Lineups

Sporting Kansas City: Nielsen, Myers, Collin, Besler, Sinovic, Rosell, Joseph, Feilhaber, Saad, Bieler, Zusi

Chicago Fire: Johnson; Segares, Anibaba, Berry, Jumper; Duka, Larentowicz, Rios, Lindpere; Magee, Anangono

Score

Sporting Kansas City 1-1 Chicago Fire

I'm feeling that this will be a frustrating match where both teams have chances late to win but neither can capitalize as they work their way to a draw.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join The Blue Testament

You must be a member of The Blue Testament to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at The Blue Testament. You should read them.

Join The Blue Testament

You must be a member of The Blue Testament to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at The Blue Testament. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9353_tracker