1) Chicago's offense has looked decent as of late and hasn't been shut out all season. How do you expect that to translate to a game where Sporting KC is going to be missing several defenders?
It's unlikely to mean anything good for your guys. The Fire's attack was good last year, with Mike Magee in the form of his life and lots of supporting players around him - but I think it's better this year, flexible and cunning. Magee has another schemer in the mix; Harrison Shipp is perhaps the smartest rookie I've ever seen. Watching the two of them working is like watching a safecracking team. Quincy Amarikwa is a freak athlete, and started the season in scorching-hot form. And Patrick Nyarko, while a known commodity, is exactly the kind of right winger most left backs absolutely hate to play against.
There's no particular approach that recommends itself, either. Playing deep will allow Shipp and Magee to study the space and find chances; pressing high will open up acres of green for Nyarko and Amarikwa to run onto. At this point, Sporting's best bet is probably to try and outscore Chicago. KC's wing play, in particular, could cause problems for a Fire defense that has looked exposed on the flanks at times. I'm so jealous of your capture of Igor Julião, I can't tell you.
2) The Fire finally broke that barrier and got the first win of 2014 against New York. Will this set up a confidence that the team can go and win these games?
I have this strong feeling that the real answer ("Yes!") is trite beyond belief, and so I'd like to have something more clever to say. Thing is, this team was playing pretty decent football before the win. Finally breaking through - and in so doing, seeing your attack you felt so positive about suddenly erupt for five goals - was more a confirmation of the team's opinion of itself than a surprise.
3) How has Frank Yallop looked as head coach so far this season? I know it's early but how would you compare him to Klopas last year?
Frank Klopas is a worshipper at the shrine of the Golden Moment, wherein all games are won and lost in a handful of heartbeats scattered throughout 90 minutes of otherwise dutiful trudging. That focus may explain why, under Klopas, the Fire displayed a shrugging indifference to controlling play, or preventing any particular approach by their opponents, yet somehow produced results better than their performances.
Frank Yallop takes a different approach, starting from performance and reasoning outward toward to results. The hope is that, luck being a self-levelling factor, Chicago is owed some fortune. Let's grade this one Incomplete.
Predicted lineup (4-4-2): Sean Johnson; Greg Cochrane, Patrick Ianni, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Lovel Palmer; Harrison Shipp, Jeff Larentowicz ©, Benji Joya, Patrick Nyarko; Mike Magee, Quincy Amarikwa
Prediction: Chicago 3-1 Kansas City in a game that I could see being 0-0 through an hour.