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(From Guardian Unlimited)
46 mins:Section8 Reggae Watch : Dan Martin has this: "@KidWeil @irish_steve halftime and the reggae has started. The Fire had a few chances but a goal would make us feel ‪#irie‬."
Huge scramble in Chicago box as Kamara hacks repeatedly at the ball from a prone position, but can't get a clear shot off. From the break Oduro is clean through, but is offside. Lively start.
Peep: OK, never mind other sports, we're off here again...
Adverts: They're trailing the US Olympic trials on NBC. I've been covering them this week - some fascinating stories. Great to see Ashton Eaton's record-breaking Decathlon .
The East: At the beginning of the season, it wasn't uncommon to see the two conferences framed as utterly lopsided affairs, with a few left coast commentators even deigning to extend a kind of token status to Sporting Kansas City as honorary Westerners. While it's true that the Western Conference has had the stronger teams in recent history, they haven't had it all their own way this year. LA's woes are well-chronicled, and both Real Salt Lake and Seattle have had stretches of success interspersed with surprising losses to Eastern opposition, while DC United and New York Red Bulls have enjoyed very strong starts atop the East. Even Montreal, slated for the customary first year hazing, have produced surprising results against teams from both conferences - most notably the 4-1 drubbing of the Sounders. Chicago are coming into their own and while SKC have wobbled, they're well in the running - while at the other end of the conference, Philadelphia and Toronto have picked up enough form to suggest teams can't take them for granted as easy points.
Now the repeat fixtures are beginning to kick in and the East/West picture is beginning to get a little more complex, as the uneven schedule takes effect. Conventional wisdom before the season would see this as the point where a few strong teams in the East begin to break away, with 6 and 9 point hauls against weaker rivals, while the Western sides would continue to stay clumped together as they each took points of each other. It hasn't really happened yet though. Will it?
Half time thoughts: Sporting pressuring a lot in midfield in that first half, so no real chances for Chicago to play dangerous balls behind the high defensive line. For all that pressing though, there've not been a lot of clear cut chances. Perhaps the game will open up a bit more as players tire in the heat and Sporting's 58-42% advantage in possession makes Chicago work that much harder. The Fire won't be too unhappy to go in level, but they need to do better with their few set piece chances and work out how to bring Rolfe into the game in more …