The First Place (yes, that's right) Chicago Fire are playing the douchebags from Portland. No, not the "real" Portland (Portland Maine, of course, or the Island of Portland in the English Channel) but that forsaken wasteland in Oregon (Actually, it seems like a terrific small city). There will be no poll this week as I cannot think of enough bad things to say about Portland. In fact, there are not enough things at that I can think of about Portland at all. Sure, there is the idiotic sawing guy, but that's not enough. I did find a website: http://thingsaboutportlandthatsuck.com/, but even it was not much help. I have avoided the show "Portlandia" as it seems really, really stupid. Perhaps if I watched it, I might have enough material for a poll. So, let's cheer on the Fire in their late, late night midweek adventure in the Pacific Northwest. A few facts (I won't call them statistics, to spare @Chris M.): -Nikolic has only scored 1 of his 16 goals on turf this season. We want to see that change tonight. -Nikolic is No. 3 on the Audi Index (as if anyone knows what that actually measures). -The Fire have 2 of the top 5 goal scorers in Nikolic and Accam. -Bava and Lampson have combined for 9 shutouts this season, which is tied for the league high. -Lampson has a ridiculous .5 GAA for his 10 games, needing to make a paltry 17 saves. He is also among the league leaders in save percentage. -The Fire are second in the league in goals scored, with 35 from 18 games (Atlanta has 39 in 19 games). The Fire scored 42 goals all of last year. -The Fire are far and away the team with the most off sides calls, an indication of being aggressive offensively? -The Fire are second in penalties scored with 4 PK out of 5 PKA-not counting the US Open Cup debacle, of course (Portland is first with 5). Injury/Other Report -Dax McCarty is out with the Gold Cup, of course. -David "the moderately tall" Arshakyan is out with a right ankle injury, which he presumably occurred by banging his foot attempting to bend over to pick up Nemanja's undergarments, since he is not fit to carry Nikolic's jock. -Bava is out with "elbow tendinitis." I dare not speculate how one acquires that ailment. -The Fire website has Bastian listed as both "Questionable" and in the starting line up. No way Bastian should start tonight. Give the guy a rest. He has played incredibly hard this season. Being on turf and going into the Gold Cup break, this is a perfect time to give him the night off. Or, have him on the bench, just in case. No need to risk him. Push Juninho back farther, start Alvarez; or, push Juninho up further and start Conner. -Portland has lost three starters to the Gold Cup (Guzman, Mattocks, and Powell-Who?, you say. I agree) and they are without Liam Ridgewell, as well. -Valeri is their top scorer at 10 goals, with Fanendo Adi (not Freddy Adu) right behind with 9. Both are (unfortunately) healthy and scheduled to play. -No one else has more than 2 goals.