Friday, March 25, 2011

Fire clash with K.C. in home opener

Fire coach Carlos de los Cobos -- Getty Images
BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- The two MLS teams that were atop last year's playoff-less panel square off this Saturday as the Chicago Fire host Sporting Kansas City at Toyota Park. Sporting K.C., previously known as the Wizards, ranked ninth last season with 39 points, and the Fire had the 10th-best points total last season with 36.

Not only did the postseason evade the Fire last season, but Chicago also hopes to turn around a lackluster 4-4-7 record at Toyota Park during the 2010 campaign.

Sporting K.C. (1-0-0) presents another strong offensive challenge for the Fire (0-0-1), who were able to fend off 2010 MLS runner-up FC Dallas last week with a 1-1 draw on the road. Kansas City sports an attack that features Omar Bravo, Kei Kamara and C.J. Sapong, a tandem that had some part of every goal during its 3-2 road win over Chivas USA to open the season. Bravo had two of the three goals.

"These guys are very similar [to Dallas]," Fire head coach Carlos de los Cobos said. "Bravo is more of a forward and he doesn't drop too much. Kamara is very fast. And Sapong is a strong guy -- very young, but very strong."

"It's going to be a bit similar in terms of Dallas attacking with so many numbers," Fire defender Cory Gibbs said. "But the thing is Dallas attacked way more than what I think Kansas City will. They're going to be a threat still. So I think if we stay positive and stay organized defensively, we'll have our chances countering against that."


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