Rapids-Fire Preview

BY foxsports • August 21, 2015

It's not hard to figure out why the Chicago Fire and Colorado Rapids are at the bottom of their respective conferences.

These clubs will be searching to improve on their woeful attacking records ahead of Saturday night's matchup at Toyota Park.

Colorado (5-9-9) is in last in the Western Conference with an MLS-low 20 goals while Chicago (6-12-5) is at the bottom of the East and is tied with Real Salt Lake for the league's second-lowest goal total at 27.

Fire coach Frank Yallop believes that both clubs have been unlucky.

"I bet they've got their stories of why they didn't pick up as many points as they should, like every team down there seems to have," Yallop told the Fire's official website. "You never hear about the teams that fluke games and win. They're at the top, they go, 'Oh, we knew it was going to happen because we're good.'"

Colorado is 0-5-2 all-time at Toyota Park and has scored once in its last six MLS road matches, a 1-4-1 stretch. The Rapids are seeking to avoid their first four-game slide after another listless offensive effort in last Friday's 1-0 defeat at San Jose in which they managed two shots on goal.

Gabriel Torres has a team-high four goals, with none in his last 11 games. He hasn't started the last three.

"We want to be more dynamic and really force the issue when we have possession of the ball," coach Pablo Mastroeni said.

Yallop gave Kennedy Igboananike his first start in three games and it paid off when the Nigerian forward had two goals and an assist in Sunday's 3-3 draw at Philadelphia, including the tying tally in the 92nd minute.

Midfielder Harry Shipp came off the bench for the first time after starting his first 22 games. How he'll be used this weekend is not clear.

The Fire won't have designated player Shaun Maloney after it was announced this week that he will join second-division English club Hull City.

New Chicago designated player Gilberto missed Sunday's game with a thigh contusion while David Accam was out with a hamstring injury. Accam will likely return.

"We're going to get at them as long as David is nice and healthy," Yallop said. "He'll be a big factor in the game, we hope."

One Colorado player familiar with Chicago is defender Sean St Ledger, who joined the Rapids after he was released by Orlando City on Aug. 1 for what the expansion team called "a serious breach of club policy." St Ledger started his final 14 games for Orlando and played the entire match in his Colorado debut last Friday.

He was on the field twice at Toyota Park for Orlando against the Fire, a 3-2 victory June 6 and a 3-1 loss July 22 in the U.S. Open Cup. Igboananike totaled three goals in those games.

"I think they've got a lot of pace on the counter-attack," St Ledger said. "We played them twice, once in the Open Cup and I think once in the league there. They're a good side, probably don't deserve to be where they are in the league."


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