Ahead of our game this evening, Guillermo Rivera from Chicago Fire Confidential has taken time to answer a few questions for us.
Scott the Red: Are you excited about the game?
Guillermo Rivera: I’m excited about the game because it’s an opportunity to have one of the top clubs in the world come into Chicago to play against the local side but the feeling isn’t one of a big match since it’s really not much more than a warm up for United and an exhibition friendly for the Fire in the middle of the season. Maybe it’s fair to say most Fire fans are excited for the spectacle more so than the match itself.
STR: Who do you think is United’s best player?
GR: I suppose it’s easy to say Wayne Rooney since he draws most of the media attention and collects the big paychecks. I’m not certain if Javier Hernandez will be available for this match but Chicago has a large Mexican population that eagerly follows Chicharito’s every move whether it be for the national team or his club side. I’ve always been a huge fan of Ryan Giggs although his career is winding down at this point.
STR: Do you watch the Premier League?
GR: Yes, I love the Premier League and watch it every weekend on Fox Soccer and ESPN here. I’m partial to Fulham though.
STR: Tell us some background about your club.
GR: The Fire have been one of the more successful clubs in MLS since joining the league in 1998. The team has won one league title (in it’s inaugural season of 1998) and four US Open Cup titles (similar to the FA cup over your way). The last two seasons have been a struggle however as the team failed to qualify for the MLS playoffs last year for only the second time and they’re currently in seventh place in the Eastern Conferenec table with 2 wins 5 losses and 12 draws this season. The club does boast a very dedicated, passionate, and loud supporter’s group called Section 8 Chicago which will be hard to miss during the match.
STR: Which of your players should we look out for?
GR: The Fire currently have a fairly talented group of outside wing players in Marco Pappa, Patrick Nyarko, and Dominic Oduro. Pappa is a first choice right midfielder for the Guatemalan national team and the Ghanian duo of Nyarko and Oduro both have plenty of pace. Nyarko may be more technically gifted but Oduro’s pace is blinding (although he tends to outrun himself from time to time). Oduro has been playing in an advanced role of late with Colombian striker Cristian Nazirit, who has reportedly drawn some interest from overseas. If you recall Pappa was a member of the MLS all-star squad that Manchester United faced last year. The team has also recently acquired Argentine central midfielder Sebastian Grazzini and he is expected to see some of his first action with the club on July 23.
STR: What are your predictions for the game?
It’s always tough to predict these matches because they don’t mean much to either side and some of the younger players in MLS are quite honestly star struck at the sight of the “big stars” they’ve been watching on television coming up. I’ll say 4-1 United.
Follow Guillermo on Twitter. He will be keeping us updated on new before, during and after the game.