Chicago Fire vs Colorado Rapids
MLS Regular Season, Week 8
April 20, 2019 - 11:00 AM
SeatGeek Stadium - Bridgeview, Illinois
Can Kei Kamara continue his hot streak...
If you've been following along on Rapids social media, you're well aware that Kei Kamara recently broke a tie with Ante Razov to move into sole possession of the No. 5 spot on Major League Soccer’s all-time leading goals list. Kamara is currently riding a very good run of form scoring a goal in each of the last three games while playing every minute so far this season and averaging 0.57 goals per contest. He's currently in a five-way tie for fifth place on the MLS goals chart, sitting in the company of Wayne Rooney, Johnny Russell, Krisztian Nemeth and Memo Rodriguez, who each have four scores to their name.
Kamara will be looking to continue his good run against the Chicago Fire, a side he's faced plenty of times over his 13-year MLS career amassing nine career goals and four career assists against the Eastern Conference side.
Meet Chicago's newest addition...
Less than a month ago the Chicago Fire signed Nicolas Gaitan, an Argentine midfielder who many fans and pundits have dubbed ‘the next Giovinco.’
Gaitan, like Giovinco when he joined the league, does not have an name known across the globe, but he does have a history of striking fear into defenses wherever he's played. At massive clubs like Boca Juniors, Benfica, Athletico Madrid and Dalian Yifang, Gaitan has proven he's comfortable with the ball, excellent in tight spaces, is creative and can make the eye-popping play. During his time at Beneficia, he helped the club to three league titles, one Portuguese Cup win and five League Cup wins.
Since joining the Fire, Gaitan has made three appearances, including his first-ever MLS start last weekend against Vancouver Whitecaps FC. It won’t be long before the 31-year-old opens his MLS account, and is surely on the radar of the Rapids ahead of Saturday's match.
What to watch for...
Connor Cape, Radio Play-by-Play Announcer
While the result against D.C. United was frustrating, there were still bright spots. The first for me was Homegrown Sam Vines playing a full 90 minutes at left back. Having two Homegrown teenagers in Vines and Cole Bassett out on the pitch is positive proof that the commitment to building a club through the Academy is not only possible, but becoming more of a reality every day.
Second for me is the play of Benny Feilhaber and Kei Kamara. Feilhaber followed up his performance in Orlando, where he commanded the midfield and assisted Bassett’s goal, by scoring in the 11th minute to open the scoring against D.C.. Kamara went and extended his scoring streak to three games after heading home a ball from you guessed it... Benny Feilhaber.
As the Rapids travel to Bridgeview, Illinois this weekend, I’m looking for Feilhaber and Kamara to lead an attack that will continue to score goals and put pressure on opponents.
Jordan Angeli, Radio Analyst
Before looking ahead, I want to look back at last week. Again the Rapids proved that they are going to be hard to handle moving forward, creating more chances and out-possessing D.C. for the majority of the second half. There is not a question of if the team is going to score goals, but rather when and how many. Defensively, I think it comes down to how well each of the players handle their own responsibilities but also how well they can help their teammates if things break down. Covering for one another as a unit can help to alleviate individual mistakes that are bound to happen in any given soccer match no matter the talent level.
It takes one win to turn things around, no better time than the present on the road vs Chicago. The fire expressed their disappointment with two draws in a row. My players to watch? Dax McCarty is a player who likes to set the tempo of the game. Good pressure on him will make it difficult for Chicago to build up the way they want to. Aleksandar Katai hasn’t found himself a goal yet but he's always a dangerous player and needs to be tracked as he tries to slip in between seams in the defense. Lastly, the Rapids have done a good job at containing center forwards in their last two games (example: Dom Dwyer and Wayne Rooney). I expect similar play against Nikolić, while also focusing on the surrounding players like C.J. Sapong who has punished the opposition three times already this season.
It is going to be a battle. Both teams are eager to get a win, so it should be a fun one.