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Chicago Fire
Major League Soccer
Jul 16, 2023 at 1.30am UK
Soldier Field
Toronto FC

Chicago Fire
1 - 0
Toronto

Przybylko (90')
Czichos (76')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Petretta (55')

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

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

After climbing into a playoff position earlier this week, the Chicago Fire can win a third successive MLS encounter this Saturday when they welcome Toronto to Solider Field.

Chicago took care of CF Montreal with three first-half strikes in a 3-0 victory on Wednesday, while the Reds have now dropped five in a row, falling 1-0 at home last weekend to St Louis City.


Match preview

Chicago Fire forward Kei Kamara (23) celebrates with midfielder Maren Haile-Selassie (7) after scoring a goal on June 21, 2023© Reuters

The job is far from over, but Frank Klopas has done well to dig the Fire out of a precarious position, with four wins in their last five regular season encounters as they are back above the playoff line.

Those three triumphs were all shutouts, something we rarely saw them manage until recently, conceding multiple goals eight times from the start of the regular season until a 3-3 draw at the New England Revolution on May 27.

Another shutout on Saturday would mark the first time this team had posted three successive clean sheets in this competition since May 2019 (three).

They have only allowed one goal in the opening half in their last four games, while their previous four scored were all in the first 45 minutes of play.

The Fire have won their previous three contests in which they had fewer than 50% of the possession, finding the back of the net on four of their last six targeted efforts.

Before a 2-0 win over the Reds last year, Chicago had gone winless in five successive home matches against them, a streak which began in 2016.

Toronto FC head coach Terry Dunfield looks on on July 2, 2023© Reuters

While Chicago have improved defensively, TFC have regressed offensively, without a goal in three straight league contests.

Terry Dunfield has had a miserable start to his tenure as interim manager, with Toronto just one defeat away from their longest losing streak since 2021 (six), while their current eight-match winless slide is one shy of their longest run without an MLS victory from a year ago.

Throughout the 2023 campaign, the Reds have been disappointing in the attack, scoring the second-fewest goals in MLS (18), and the lowest-ever total after 23 games for this franchise since 2007 (18).

By all accounts the 2023 season was to be an all-or-nothing one for this franchise, and unfortunately for the club it has usually been the latter as the Reds have been surprisingly uncomfortable in the attacking third, despite so many veterans with a wealth of international and club experience.

Since losing their opener 3-2 at DC United, Toronto have not scored more than once away from home in this competition while failing to net in six road contests this season.

TFC are the only side in MLS without a road victory in 2023, despite leading in four of their domestic outings this year as the visiting team.

Chicago Fire Major League Soccer form:

Toronto Major League Soccer form:


Team News

Chicago Fire FC defender Rafael Czichos (5) celebrates with forward Kei Kamara (23) after scoring on May 13, 2023© Reuters

Chicago were without Victor Bezerra, Wyatt Omsberg and Federico Navarro on Wednesday as they have each been plagued with right lower leg issues, while Javier Casas and Chris Mueller are out with right upper leg injuries.

A ninth-minute strike from Brian Gutierrez seemed to open the floodgates for Chicago this week as Maren Haile-Selassie and Xherdan Shaqiri also netted, while Chris Brady picked up his second successive shutout.

Kei Kamara is one goal away from equalling Landon Donovan for the second-most in MLS history, as he currently sits on 144, though he still has a ways to go to surpass Chris Wondolowski for the most all-time (171).

Lorenzo Insigne, Victor Vazquez, Sigurd Rosted, Matt Hedges, Cristian Gutierrez, Adama Diomande and Michael Bradley all missed the previous Toronto clash because of lower-body injuries, while Jonathan Osorio and Sean Johnson could be back in the fold after Canada and the United States recently exited the Gold Cup.

Toronto have been busy since the secondary transfer window opened, trading Mark-Anthony Kaye to the New England Revolution on Thursday in exchange for Latif Blessing and an international roster slot, while also acquiring Franco Ibarra on loan this Monday from Atlanta United, giving the Five Stripes £38,336 worth of General Allocations Money (GAM) in return.

Osorio always seems to be in the mood when playing the Fire, with six goals against them, though they have not scored on Chicago since 2022 when Alejandro Pozuelo had a brace, with the opener coming courtesy of Deandre Kerr in a 3-1 home triumph.

Chicago Fire possible starting lineup:
Brady; Souquet, Pineda, Czichos, M. Navarro; Herbers, Gimenez; Torres, Shaqiri, B. Gutierrez; Koutsias

Toronto possible starting lineup:
Johnson; Franklin, O'Neill, Mabika, Petretta; Ibarra; Osorio, Servania, Marshall-Rutty; Sapong, Bernardeschi


SM words green background

We say: Chicago Fire 2-0 Toronto

There are little to no signs of improvement in Toronto as they look out of sorts and, at times, unmotivated when in possession.

Meanwhile, the Fire have tightened up defensively and given that only three points currently separate them in ninth from New York City FC in 13th, they will know that the time is now to try to put some distance between themselves and the clubs chasing them.

How to watch

You can watch Chicago Fire vs. Toronto and every MLS match this season live on Apple TV. Click here for more details on how to subscribe.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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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Game History

How you voted: Chicago Fire vs Toronto

Chicago Fire
80.0%
Draw
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Toronto
20.0%
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Eastern Conference

TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Inter MiamiInter Miami16104238211734
2FC CincinnatiCincinnati1510322314933
3New York City FCNY City158251916326
4Columbus Crew146622113824
5New York Red BullsNY Red Bulls146532521423
6Charlotte FCCharlotte FC156451413122
7Toronto157172424022
8Philadelphia UnionPhiladelphia144642521418
9DC United154652125-418
10Nashville SCNashville143741720-316
11Orlando City144461522-716
12Atlanta UnitedAtlanta143471717013
13CF MontrealMontreal143471731-1413
14Chicago Fire152581427-1311
15New England RevolutionNew England132110926-177

Western Conference

TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Real Salt LakeSalt Lake1585230171329
2Minnesota UnitedMinnesota Utd137422417725
3Los Angeles GalaxyLA Galaxy156722722525
4Los Angeles FCLos Angeles147342519624
5Austin FCAustin156542018223
6Colorado RapidsColorado156452726122
7Vancouver WhitecapsVancouver145452017319
8Houston DynamoHouston145361315-218
9Seattle SoundersSeattle154561818017
10Portland TimbersPortland154472830-216
11St Louis City143742022-216
12Dallas133461620-413
13Sporting Kansas CityKansas142572226-411
14San Jose EarthquakesEarthquakes1532102334-1111


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