Friday, April 29, 2011

Fire, Rapids desperate for turnaround

Fire's Logan Pause -- Getty Images
BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- The Chicago Fire, winless in four straight games, are not the only ones in MLS in need of a momentum shift. The Fire face the defending MLS champion Colorado Rapids this Saturday at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce, Colo., and the host Rapids are in a three-game skid of their own.

The major difference is that Colorado has three victories in its pocket this season, while Chicago sits with only one.

"We're both desperate for points," Fire midfielder Patrick Nyarko said. "We're not going to settle for a tie up there. We're going in for the win. We desperately need the points, and we've played well up there the last couple of years. But we're just unfortunate to not have come out of there with a win."

The Fire (1-3-2) will be without their captain, however. Defensive midfielder Logan Pause strained his hamstring on Wednesday and will not see the pitch Saturday. Also missing from the fray again is defender Cory Gibbs (hamstring), who played for Colorado in 2008 and 2009. Gibbs' replacement, Yamith Cuesta, performed admirably during the Fire's recent 1-1 draw against the Houston Dynamo.

Colorado (3-3-0) will have some key absences, as well, with forward Conor Casey expected to miss the match with a hamstring injury. The big story resonating throughout the league is the 10-game suspension of Rapids midfielder Brian Mullan, whose severe tackle caused Seattle Sounders FC midfielder Steve Zakuani to break his leg. Mullan was red carded for the incident and would have missed Saturday's match against the Fire anyway. But the league tacked on nine games to Mullan's suspension, and he was fined $5,000.


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