From The Other Side - Chicago Fire's Jeff Crandall

Dangerman – Quincy Amarikwa

What? You thought I was going to say Mike Magee? Too easy.

With it looking like Magee might be out Saturday as he deals with a calf strain, I’m going to shift focus to Quincy Amarikwa.

After journeyman stints in San Jose, Colorado, Toronto and even a few days with the New York Red Bulls, Amarikwa seems to have found a home over the last season and a half in Chicago. Deployed last year as a super sub when the Fire needed a goal, Amarikwa bagged three and one assist in just 299 minutes.

This season, he’s gone from sub to key starter and leads the team with five goals and one assist. He’s also found a specialty, earning three additional penalty kicks (all of which have been converted). Whether or not he scores, his strength on and off the ball and quickness in the final third make him a terror for opposing defenders to handle. If he’s on the field, something will always happen offensively for the Fire.

Player To Keep An Eye On – Harry Shipp

Another revelation for the Fire this season is rookie Homegrown Player Harry Shipp. Though he didn’t make the game day 18 on opening day at Chivas USA, Shipp has started all but one match since. You may have seen his memorable three goal, one assist performance last month vs. New York but it doesn’t even highlight his primary attribute: dangerous ability on dead ball situations.

Few other teams in MLS have as good a set piece taker as Shipp and I can’t think of any other squad that entrusts those opportunities to a first-year pro. With good reason, he’s a front runner for MLS Rookie of the Year.

Best Recent Team Related Tweet – Mike Magee

In response to Jonathan Klinsmann’s mocking tweet of Landon Donovan’s omission from the U.S. World Cup squad, former teammate Mike Magee had this response when Donovan broke the MLS goal scoring record a couple weeks ago:

At the time of writing, Magee had received nearly 6,000 retweets…

Favorite Stat: Goals in 11 of 13 games

Though the team is 2-3-8 at this point in the season, it’s a breath of fresh air to see the side scoring in almost every match after the start they had last year. If you’re scoring goals, you’re in every game and that’s been the case for the Fire in all but the hiccup game last month at Columbus and Wednesday’s “reserve” match at Colorado.

If the team can eliminate mental errors at the back, they’ll be dangerous coming out of the World Cup break.

Moment of the Month – Sean Johnson save on Thierry Henry

Plenty of talk about Harry Shipp’s hat trick on May 10 at New York but in all reality, Sean Johnson’s 82nd minute stop on Thierry Henry to preserve the 5-4 win may have been the best save I’ve ever seen him make.

Maybe it isn’t from an acrobatic standpoint but stoning perhaps the best striker in MLS history on a play that he converts on all the time was big. Plus, I don’t know where the team’s psyche may have gone if they came away from New York with only a point after leading 5-2 in the second half.

Three Thoughts on the Match

1) Wow I’m glad Clint Dempsey (and even DeAndre Yedlin) are away with the national team.

2) How do the Fire handle their third game in seven days after a brutally hot match Sunday against LA and one at altitude Wednesday vs. Colorado?

3) It pains me to say but the Fire have still never won a game against Seattle, going 0-5-3 in eight league games dating back to 2009. The record is 0-6-3 if we count the 2011 U.S. Open Cup final.

Getting the Seattle monkey off their back is something players that have been here a while would like to do and luckily, Frank Yallop has found wins against the Sounders, going 6-5-1 all-time while with San Jose.

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