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The Bronx Is Burning: Chicago Fire vs. New York City preview, notes, & quotes

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Coming off a derby defeat that extended their winless run to eight, the Bronx Blues return home for a revenge date against Chicago. We've got your storylines, injury report, projected lineups, and a special parting shot.

Theater of dreams, or house of horrors?
Theater of dreams, or house of horrors?
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

New York City traveled to Chicago on April 24th. You'd think enough time had passed, but you can still feel the burn:

Come on, man! Robert Green doesn't even do that!

David Accam's goal -- presumably delivered with a Cheshire Cat grin -- proved to be the only one in the game.

To be fair, New York City supersoldier and Etihad Player of the Month Josh Saunders was suspended following a studs-up challenge against Portland, so Ryan Meara was making his first start in an MLS goal in nearly three years.

And, to be fair, Meara went beast mode in the second half, snatching an MLS Save of the Week nomination for his trouble. In the end, lamentably, he simply became another tragic hero in the epic tale of growing pains that is New York City FC.

The list of tragedies ran deep that night at Toyota Park:

  • Star man David Villa missed the match with a nagging hamstring injury.
  • Jason Kreis was forced to make two injury substitutions in the first half: fullback Javier Calle and forward Adam Nemec.
  • Andrew Jacobson earned a red card for denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity (DOGSO).

Following a steely effort to stop the bleeding in the second half, Jason Kreis made a point to applaud his squad's effort:

"I’m continually impressed by this team. They keep fighting and not giving up. I’m pleased with that. I’m pleased with the resolve and the togetherness.

Well. The last two weeks make it hard to keep singing the same tune, don't they? New York City was positively outclassed against Seattle on May 3rd and, infamously, by a Red Bulls team that played 55 minutes with ten men.

Can the home team contain the blaze on Friday night?

ABOUT LAST WEEK

In the first-ever Hudson River Derby, a sellout Red Bull Arena crowd watched the ten-man Red Bulls defeat New York City 2-1. Defending MLS Golden Boot winner Bradley Wright-Phillips claimed a brace for the home team, and could have had more.

Yes, Wright-Phillips, Lloyd Sam, & Co. had acres of space to run. The ever-shuffling NYC back line was out of sorts, and Josh Saunders had to bring the magic once again to keep the scoreline from erupting.

Mix Diskerud, expected to be "Mr. Pass-and-Move" upon his arrival in the Five Boroughs, perpetrated a disappearing act in front of 25,000 rowdy spectators. David Villa, whose 2015 goal tally equals that of the often-maligned Mehdi Ballouchy, was infamously replaced in the 68th minute. His anger was apparent.

"I don't like not being on the field," Villa said after the game through an interpreter.

With such a short week before his team's next match, Villa's wish is about to be granted.

INJURY REPORT

New York City:

OUT: Javier Calle (right quad)

QUESTIONABLE: Ned Grabavoy (Hip)

PROBABLE: David Villa (right hip), Josh Williams (left adductor)

Chicago:

OUT: Mike Magee (hip & knee), Patrick Nyarko (ACL), Matthew Watson (concussion)

PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS

New York City:

Chicago:

RUNNIN' THE NUMBERS

  • 13: Number of games managed against Chicago by Jason Kreis, with an overall record of 2W-4L-7D.

  • 2: Goals scored off the bench by NYC foward Patrick Mullins this year. His scoring total equals that of David Villa and Mehdi Ballouchy, tied for the team lead.
  • 7: Goals scored this season for both Chicago (over eight games) and New York City (ten games), tied for second-lowest in MLS. Motreal Impact have scored three goals in five games.

  • 64: Minutes played last weekend by Mix Diskerud, his shortest outing in eight appearances for NYCFC.
  • 1: A single New York City player, Ned Grabavoy, came up through the Chicago Fire's Premier Development League (PDL) program. Additionally, defender Kwame Watson-Siriboe made his MLS debut with the Fire in 2010.

POTENT QUOTABLES

  • Jason Kreis on the efforts of Patrick Mullins: "Patrick has been a guy for me that every time he plays he gives us everything he has. That’s appreciated and quite frankly I think we need more guys who are willing to really give you everything they have."

  • Chicago manager Frank Yallop on his team's inconsistent scoring: We’re getting in certain spots on the field well, I think we’re overlapping well, our switching of play was good, our general play was what we talked about but just that final play, that cutting edge and confidence wasn’t there."
  • David Villa on his dissatisfaction over being substituted last weekend: "It doesn’t matter whether I could’ve gone 90 minutes. Obviously Jason is my boss and he doesn’t even need to explain anything to me, though he did. He was obviously just looking after me."
  • Chicago attacker Shaun Maloney on picking up the goal-scoring slack: "If you look at each of the
    teams or other teams in the league, there's generally one person that has five, six, seven goals. I think one of us in the forward areas is going to [be that player]."
  • Kreis on the form of Mix Diskerud: "I thought Mix was just not great [against the Red Bulls]. I thought he was kind of in and around things and not making plays either in the attacking half or the defensive half. We need to recognize we’re not all going to have great games all the time and we have guys on the bench we believe in. We’ll make those changes if we need to."

FEARLESS PREDICTION

We looked at our knockoff-brand Tarot cards, and they told us New York City 2, Chicago Fire 2.

NYC Goals: Patrick Mullins, Kwadwo Poku

Chicago Goals: Harry Shipp, own goal

PARTING SHOT

According to unconfirmed reports, New York City FC are in talks to install an official mascot:

Hey, he can fly.