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Behind Enemy Lines: Scouting Chicago Fire

It's the Brimstone Cup in Chicago Saturday. Can Chicago snap FC Dallas's unbeaten streak?

Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

FC Dallas looks to extend their unbeaten streak to 11 in Saturday's contest against Chicago Fire at Toyota Park.

Chicago currently sits at ninth place in the Eastern Conference standings with only four wins on the season but would love to play spoilers to FCD's run for first place in the Western Conference.

Injury Report

The Fire will see essentially a full squad in the Brimstone Cup. Chicago only has one player that could miss the match, but even so, he still may hit the pitch.

Questionable: F Mike Magee (right hip tendonitis)

Probable Lineup

Chicago will match FCD's 4-4-2 formation. An even lineup for an even scoreline? Chicago leads the league with 14 draws on the season.

GK: Sean Johnson; RB: Lovel Palmer; CB: Bakary Soumare, Jeff Larentowicz; LB: Gonzalo Segares; RM: Alex; CM: Matt Watson, Razvan Cocis; LM: Sanna Nyassi; RF: Harry Shipp; LF: Quincy Amarikwa

Key Matchup

Tesho Akindele vs. Soumare: If Chicago was smart, they would be sure to shut down FCD's best player right now, Fabian Castillo. However, they'll still have their hands full with the rookie who has been causing just as much trouble for opponents. Akindele will try to get behind Sourmare for through balls and will clean up any trash in the box. If Chicago is able to contain Akindele, the Fire could handle FCD's offense and be able to squeeze out at  least a point from the Hoops.

Keys to Three Points

Play the entire half. It's obvious to play to the final whistle, but with Chicago, it's more relevant than ever. Whether it's tiredness or their inability to play a full half, Chicago gets weary in the final 15 minutes of both halves. The Fire have given up 22 of their 37 goals against in the those final 15 minutes of both halves. FCD has scored 18 of their 45 goals in that time. Dallas needs to make the most of the end of the halves.

Stop Amarikwa. The good thing for FCD is Magee will probably not see any minutes Saturday. The downside is Amarikwa will have even more of a spark in the match. He currently is tied for most goals on his squad with Magee and leads the team with 45 shots and 17 shots on goal. Amarikwa has only played four games against Dallas and this will be his first start against the Hoops.

Clear the ball. Any ball that reaches FCD's defensive third needs to be cleared down the side quick. Dallas has to limit the amount of touches Fernandez sees a game. Last match, Real Salt Lake had 18 looks at goal with five on target. Chicago may be less dangerous than RSL, but there's no need to give them the chance to find out. Dallas can't allow any players lingering freely to bury any shorts or making the most of second chances.