One game, one winner, one loser tonight when the Dynamo play at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois against the Chicago Fire.
For the winner it is on to play the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference Sporting Kansas City.
DYNAMO V. FIRE, 8pm Espn2, Espn Deportes, 950 Am, 101.7 FM
Records: Dynamo 14-9-11, 53 pts, fifth in eastern conference
Fire-17-11-6, 57 points, fourth in eastern conference
Season series: The Fire lead 1-0-2, the Dynamo lost 3-1 at Toyota Park and drew there 1-1 in a rain shortened match.
A LOOK AT PROJECTED CHICAGO LINEUP:
Sean Johnson-gk, athletic, but is prone to a mistake a game, can pull off the
awe inspiring save.
Jalil Anibaba-def- an night of deep defending in store for him and the hope to
get forward on occasion
Austin Berry- CB- up for “rookie of the year” one wonders how the young CB
plays in his first ever playoff match. Benefits by playing
next to German international Arne Friedrich.
Arne Friedrich- the former German int. brings Bundesliga and international
experience and is target on set pieces. He will need to put
his head to Brad Davis delivery.
Gonzalo Segares- Costa Rican is stable, naturally left footed and can get
Pavel Pardo- former Mexican international won Bundesliga title in Germany
with Stuttgart. His experience vital in middle and he can deliver
the set piece difference maker. Atlas product in Mexico.
Logan Pause- grinder and worker in midfield in the former Chicago great “Chris
Patrick Nyarko-Dynamo must be aware of this Ghanaian “flyer” at all times on
the counter attack. Likely will change positionally to move
away from Cory Ashe yet will have to deal with speed of Sarkodie.
Alvaro Fernandez- DP must play like a DP I suppose in the big game. Is talented
and comfortable on the ball. Uruguay World Cup success in
Chris Rolfe- makes plays technically and with his brain. He is a “goal maker”
and “goal taker”. Accountability and awareness of where he is
when Dynamo are “in possession” vital.
Sherjill MacDonald- dangerous Dutch striker who can handle physical game of
Dynamo. Another Chicago Dp. Began career in Ajax youth
The Chicago Fire are a defend deep counter-attacking team and play their best football this way. They will invite the Dynamo in , win the ball and look to get forward as quick as possible to catch the Dynamo over-comitted in the attack.
The prime targets they will want to find when they break out are Patrick Nyarko, Chris Rolfe, and Sherjill MacDonald.
They come in to this game on a slide in the month of October because they got away from what made them successful…..counter attacking football.
The system they play in in some ways is out of necessity in order to get effectiveness out of Pavel Pardo and Arne Friedrich who despite their vast experience are not as mobile as they once were.
The Dynamo will have the better of possession in this and their challenge will be to break down a deep defending, thick and heavy Chicago Fire who will sit deep on top of their goalkeeper Sean Johnson.
They will need to be patience, try to draw the Fire out, penetrate in wide areas and look to earn free kicks. Testing and forcing Sean Johnson into decision making is vital. Can the Dynamo create chances.
Players that off the dribble can break the Fire down could unbalance them.
When the Fire come out, or earn free kicks and corners it will be prime opportunity for the Dynamo to counter attack and take a page out of the Frank Klopas game plan.
The danger lies in when the Dynamo are in possession and when they lose the ball.
They will need to be truly tuned in and aware positionally and team shape-wise so as to get immediate pressure on the ball and create time to organize defensively. That vital 2-5 seconds when the ball is lost must see the Dynamo acutely aware. (See prior blog on transition game)
Awareness of where Patrick Nyarko, Chris Rolfe, and Sherjill MacDonald are is essential. They can break out and break out quickly.
Athleticism through Kofi Sarkodie, Cory Ashe will be vital to snuff out the counter attack. If they go forward the balancing play of Adam Moffat and Rico Clark win midfield will be vital.
Worst case scenario is Dynamo cb’s getting pulled out of middle and isolated consistently against Nyarko and company.
A night of collective on the same page soccer that is mistake free is needed.
How players play with their “brains” without the ball tonight is vital.
Brad Davis and Oscar Boniek Garcia will lead the way from an attacking standpoint, the more they are on the ball the better for the Dynamo which is no secret.
Players are rested and healthy coming into this one while the Fire scratched and clawed in a tough match against DC United this past weekend.