Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySoccer World DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America ClassifiedsGame Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Osorio's first MLS test is a stern one
by Ridge Mahoney, July 12th, 2007 7AM



[PREVIEW] Juan Carlos Osorio, presented just a few days ago as the Fire's new head coach, admits that he needs some time to get back up to speed on MLS and its teams. Since no MLS opponent has been able to defeat the Dynamo in its last eight games, perhaps a fresh approach will help. And since the Fire is 1-9-1 since it beat Houston, 1-0, April 29, maybe the less he knows about his own team, the better.

CHICAGO (4-7-4) vs. HOUSTON (9-5-2)
Thursday, 9 pm ET, ESPN2

The former conditioning coach of the MetroStars and ex-Manchester City assistant coach has spent the last 18 months with Millonarios in his native Colombia. His Chicago predecessor, Dave Sarachan, was fired June 20 despite missing several players to international duty and injuries.

Still injured is forward Chris Rolfe, who scored that goal against the Dynamo, and defender C.J. Brown is suspended, but those are the only absences for this visit of the defending champion.

During his brief stint as interim head coach, Denis Hamlett moved midfielder Diego Gutierrez into the back line and used youngsters Bruno Menezes and Floyd Franks to try and halt the team's slide.

Osorio hasn't had much time to tinker and Houston is flying high, so whatever inspiration and energy his players can draw from the home crowd can only help.

Chicago is a mediocre 3-2-3 at home and has scored just eight goals. Yet Justin Mapp has sparked the team since returning from U.S. duty and might find room to roam as the match wears on; Houston is playing its fourth game in the last 13 days and tomorrow travels back home to host Toronto Sunday.

In its last five games, Houston has outscored its opponents, 10-0, with goals by six different players. At 515 minutes, its shutout streak is the third longest in MLS history.

Stuart Holden has stepped into the left midfield role vacated by a knee injury suffered by Brad Davis, and led a 4-0 demolition of the New York Red Bulls last Thursday with a searing goal and two assists. Brian Ching scored his second goal in as many games, redirecting a shot from outside the box by Richard Mulrooney, to down D.C. United, 1-0, on Sunday.

Before he joined Millonarios, Osorio interviewed for head coaching jobs with the MetroStars and D.C. United. This surely is a case of the third time being the charm, for the Fire plays in a spiffy new stadium and is backed by one of the league's louder fan bases.

This MLS debut is no picnic, but with the arrival of Cuauhtemoc Blanco - baggage and all -- scheduled for next week, squaring off against the red-hot league champ could be the lull before the storm.

And Osorio can carefully observe counterpart Dominic Kinnear, who despite the injury to Davis and weeks without internationals Ching, Ricardo Clark, and Dwayne DeRosario, has kept his team clicking.

No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now



Recent Soccer America Daily
What They're Saying: Jurgen Klinsmann    
"Watching the MLS playoffs has been tremendously exciting. The games in the first round with the ...
Klinsmann: Nagbe is a 'great fit' for national team    
One of the standouts in the MLS playoffs has been Darlington Nagbe, who has helped the ...
What They're Saying: Didier Drogba    
"It's a different challenge [in MLS]. People think it's easy to play there. Believe me, it's ...
What They're Saying: Stocksbridge Park Steels chairman Allen Bethel    
"I can't believe what I've been seeing on Saturday nights. He's always on his own. Why ...
MLS: Sporting KC continues talks with five free agents    
Sporting Kansas City re-signed 12 of the 13 players it had options on -- all but ...
MLS: Orlando City declines option on Hall    
Stemming from the roster moves announced Wednesday, Orlando City SC may not look radically different in ...
MLS: Revs re-sign Kobayashi, send three to Portugal    
New England announced Wednesday it has renewed the options on 14 players, signed midfielder Daigo Kobayashi ...
Sacramento wants to show it's ready to roll    
While efforts by David Beckham's group to find land for a soccer stadium in Miami appear ...
Johnson scores again in Champions League    
Fabian Johnson scored in his second straight game for Borussia Moenchengladbach in the UEFA Champions League ...
USA names 20 for U-20 Women's World Cup qualifying    
Eight collegians and 12 youth club players comprise Coach Michelle French's roster for the U-20 Women's ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives