Saturday, April 10, 201010:54 AM
By ALAN FERGUSON, STATS Writer
After earning one point in their first two games, the Chicago Fire hope that playing in front of their home fans for the first time will spark them to a victory.
They couldnt pick a much better opponent to face in their Toyota Park debut than the San Jose Earthquakes.
The Fire will try to add to their home success over the Earthquakes and give coach Carlos de los Cobos his first MLS win Saturday night.
Chicago (0-1-1) dropped its season opener 1-0 in New York on March 27 and needed Brian McBrides penalty kick to salvage a 2-2 draw in Colorado last Saturday.
Patrick Nyarko drew the key infraction in the 51st minute on Rapids defender Marvell Wynne, and McBride scored on the ensuing kick. Collins John, McBrides former teammate in the English Premier League, also scored in his second MLS match.
The Rapids are a very good team, and it is very difficult to win here, de los Cobos told the leagues official Web site. Im satisfied with the work of the players. Im only happy when we win, but Im satisfied.
If history is an indication, the Chicago coach could be happy following Saturdays game. The Fire are 7-1-4 all-time at home against San Jose, with the only loss coming in a shootout July 23, 1999, when the Earthquakes were known as the Clash.
Chicago has also never lost its opener at Toyota Park, going 3-0-1.
The Fire earned a 2-0 win there last season over San Jose and a 3-3 draw on the road as part of their 5-0-6 start. The Earthquakes are 0-2-2 against Chicago since the franchises resurrection in 2008, but that doesnt mean the Fire will take them lightly.
I always think San Jose is a dangerous team, defender C.J. Brown told the leagues Web site. If you sleep on them, theyll crush you. So for us, weve got to stay compact, and when we get our chances, weve got to bury them.
After finishing last in the Western Conference in each of the last two seasons, the Earthquakes didnt get 2010 off to a strong start with a 3-0 home loss to Real Salt Lake on March 27.
Three days later, they signed former Fire goalkeeper Jon Busch. In a stunning move, Chicago waived the 33-year-old Busch on March 22 so it could start 24-year-old Andrew Dykstra, who had never played an MLS game.
Busch, the leagues 2008 goalkeeper of the year, had 21 shutouts in 63 games and played every minute the previous two seasons. As the backup to Joe Cannon, hes expected to watch Saturdays match.
The addition of Jon gives us one of the best goalkeeping corps in the league, general manager John Doyle told the leagues Web site.
The Fire could see their latest acquisition on the field after signing Salvadoran defender Deris Umanzor on Thursday.