MX23RW : Monday, September 20 02:22:06| >> :600:199029:199029:
Jul 8, 2021 at 1am UK at Toyota Park
Chicago FireChicago Fire
3-1
Orlando CityOrlando City
Sekulic (45+1'), Beric (72'), Offor (90+6')
Bornstein (12'), Medran (22'), Herbers (84')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Perea (34')
Jansson (79')

Preview: Chicago Fire vs. Orlando City - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's Major League Soccer clash between Chicago Fire and Orlando City, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

The Chicago Fire will look to end their four-game homestand on a winning note when they host Orlando City at Soldier Field on Wednesday.

Chicago have come to life out of nowhere, drawing the Philadelphia Union 3-3 before blanking Atlanta United 3-0, while the Lions conceded a late goal on Saturday, losing 2-1 to the New York Red Bulls.


Match preview

Chicago Fire midfielder Luka Stojanovic reacts after scoring a goal against Inter Miami on May 22, 2021© Reuters

Sometimes when things are going so bad, the only place to go is up, and that has certainly been the case lately for the Chicago Fire.

After losing three consecutive matches and failing to score in any one of those games, an early own goal by the defending Supporters' Shield winners in Philadelphia appeared to light a spark in this team, who are now unbeaten in back-to-back fixtures, scoring six goals in that span.

Manager Raphael Wicky has to be encouraged by the fact that not only have the Fire got themselves out of the Eastern Conference basement, but they have found offence from other sources, with four different players finding the back of the net over the past two games.

That must have also been a relief for Robert Beric and Luka Stojanovic, who had been the only players on the team to score this season before their unbeaten run.

The past two weeks have gone much better for Chicago, but they still have a lot of work to do if they are to dig themselves out of their current hole, which has seen them collect eight points from 11 matches, sitting eight points back of the final playoff spot, with five teams to catch.

Despite having only 35% of the possession against Atlanta, the Fire were able to create many quality scoring opportunities, and they made the most of them, with three goals from their four shots on target.

Orlando City SC forward Nani celebrates with teammates after winning on June 26, 2021© Reuters

The Lions suffered what they hope will only be a temporary setback last weekend, as they had their three-game winning streak snapped at the hands of the New York Red Bulls.

The high-pressing system of New York seemed to create a lot of fatigue for Orlando, who were playing their fourth match in two weeks.

However, it is far from doom and gloom for Oscar Pareja and his team, who are in second place in the Eastern Conference, conceding the fewest number of goals among teams in the east (nine) and with a game in hand on the New England Revolution, who are only three points above them at the moment.

Orlando will get a much-needed 10-day break following this match on Wednesday, before playing three games in eight days against two teams nipping at their heels in the standings in New York City FC and the Philadelphia Union.

One trait that this side have displayed a lot of over the past two seasons is the ability to bounce back quickly following a defeat, having not lost consecutive regular-season fixtures since the 2019 campaign.

As they get set to face another non-playoff team in Chicago, they will fancy their chances to get back to winning ways, having won five of their six contests against teams on the outside of the playoff picture and outscoring their opponents 14-3 in that span.

Chicago Fire Major League Soccer form:
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • W

Orlando City Major League Soccer form:
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L



Team News

Chicago Fire head coach Raphael Wicky and assistant coach Frank Klopas pictured on June 27, 2021© Reuters

Chicago keeper Kenneth Kronholm remains sidelined with a knee injury, while their starting keeper Bobby Shuttleworth has played a big part in this team's recent success, making 17 saves in his last three starts in addition to collecting his 47th career clean sheet in their previous match versus the Five Stripes.

Stanislav Ivanov is nearing a debut for the club, but he might need at least another week to recover from his knee surgery.

Przemyslaw Frankowski notched his first goal of the season last week after returning from international duty at the Euros with Poland, while Ignacio Aliseda had a brace last weekend, his first two goals of this campaign.

Gaston Gimenez could be back in the lineup after his country Paraguay were eliminated in the quarter-finals of the Copa America last Friday, losing 4-3 in a penalty shootout to Peru.

Francisco Calvo, however, will be a part of the Costa Rican national team for the Gold Cup, making him unavailable for the match on Wednesday.

Orlando striker Alexandre Pato will not be available as he continues to recover from his knee surgery that he underwent back in early May.

Goalkeeper Pedro Gallese is still on international duty as he was the hero for his country last Friday, saving the final penalty kick by Paraguay to help Peru advance to the semi-finals of the Copa America where they will face Brazil on Monday.

Chris Mueller has goals in two successive matches for the Lions, while Daryl Dike notched his first assist of 2021 and Mauricio Pereyra picked up his fourth assist of the year, drawing even with Mueller and Tesho Akindele for the team lead.

Dike was named to the United States national team for the upcoming CONCACAF Gold Cup, meaning he will miss the match on Wednesday.

Kyle Smith made his 40th start for the team, and Nani made his 65th appearance in their defeat to the New York Red Bulls.

Chicago Fire possible starting lineup:
Shuttleworth; Kappelhof, Pineda, Omsberg; Sekulic, Stojanovic, Herbers, Medran, Gimenez; Beric, Collier

Orlando City possible starting lineup:
Austin; Halliday, Carlos, Jansson, Smith; Rosell, Perea; Nani, Pereyra, Van der Water; Michel


SM words green background

We say: Chicago Fire 1-2 Orlando City

Chicago have been a vastly improved side over the past couple of weeks, but they will be going up against a Lions squad who are in a foul mood after losing their last match, and the Lions always seem to pick up their game following a defeat.

Orlando are as good on the road as they are at home, with three victories both ways, having scored in all five of their games as the visitors.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data


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How you voted: Chicago Fire vs Orlvso City

Chicago Fire
22.2%
Draw
13.0%
Orlando City
64.8%
54
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Orlando City SC forward Nani celebrates with teammates after winning on June 26, 2021
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Saturday's MLS predictions including Orlando City vs. New York Red Bulls
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Tables

Eastern Conference

TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1New England RevolutionNew England26175448301856
2Nashville SCNashville241011339231641
3New York City FCNY City24115843281538
4Orlando City2510873636038
5CF MontrealMontreal2510783630637
6Atlanta UnitedAtlanta259973530536
7Philadelphia UnionPhiladelphia249873125635
8DC United25104114136534
9Inter MiamiInter Miami2495102435-1132
10Columbus Crew2687113035-531
11New York Red BullsNY Red Bulls2375112928126
12Chicago Fire2565142440-1623
13FC CincinnatiCincinnati2448122444-2020
14Toronto2546152851-2318

Western Conference

TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1New England RevolutionNew England26175448301856
2Nashville SCNashville241011339231641
3New York City FCNY City24115843281538
4Orlando City2510873636038
5CF MontrealMontreal2510783630637
6Atlanta UnitedAtlanta259973530536
7Philadelphia UnionPhiladelphia249873125635
8DC United25104114136534
9Inter MiamiInter Miami2495102435-1132
10Columbus Crew2687113035-531
11New York Red BullsNY Red Bulls2375112928126
12Chicago Fire2565142440-1623
13FC CincinnatiCincinnati2448122444-2020
14Toronto2546152851-2318

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