1) How big would a win be for the Fire in terms of the standings? How devastating would a loss be?
After the loss to New England last week, a win on Friday would be huge. The Fire are starting to fall away from the glut of playoff contenders and need to get as many points from games as possible to keep pace. A loss will be devastating no matter or what, but the magnitude of the devastation will depend on the results of other games taking place this weekend. Houston is playing Montreal and New England is playing Philadelphia. Those are two big games. If Chicago loses, then Chicago needs Houston and New England to lose this weekend as well. In this scenario Chicago would not lose ground on the 5th playoff spot. Not an ideal situation, but it would make a loss a little easier to swallow.
2) Chicago has some new players since the last time Sporting KC came to town, how will they impact the match?
Juan Luis Anangono and Egidio Arevalo Rios are the two new acquisitions. It's hard to say how Anangono will impact the match if he plays. He is big, fast and physical and could potentially give Colin and Bessler some trouble. Unfortunately, he also has kind of a heavy touch and, in general, he seems to be kind of raw technically. He has not had a huge impact on the two games he has started in, and I have not been particularly impressed with him so far, but it is still too early to really know what kid of player he could become. However, I am starting to worry that he might turn into Sherjill 2.0.
Arevalo Rios will have more of an impact on Friday. He has only one game with the Fire under his belt, but he had a pretty good showing. He is kind of like a pit bull patrolling the center of the field. He is an aggressive defensive midfielder who likes to put pressure on the ball and makes playing through the center of the field difficult. Any Sporting KC player who ends up with ball in center of the field will get a chance to meet him.
3) Who will most likely be the odd man out up top: Mike Magee, Chris Rolfe or Anangono? Or will Klopas surprise us and do something totally different?
Rolfe will probably be the odd man out. He has been struggling with an injury recently. I don't think there will be any surprises from Klopas. Surprises and Klopas don't really go together. He tends to stick with the same line up game in and game out. If Rolfe was healthy, he probably would still be riding the pine. Klopas wants to give Anangono playing time and there is no way Magee is not starting if he is not injured.