MX23RW : Sunday, July 3 14:17:35| >> :600:243044:243044:
[monks data]
May 29, 2022 at 12am UK at BMO Field
Toronto
3 - 2
Chicago Fire
Kerr (13'), Pozuelo (71' pen., 78')
Pozuelo (31'), Westberg (87'), Priso-Mbongue (88')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Teran (52'), Przybylko (66')
Przybylko (62'), Shaqiri (75'), Teran (78')

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

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

The bottom two teams in the Eastern Conference of Major League Soccer will square off at BMO Field on Saturday as Toronto and the Chicago Fire aim to end their extended winless runs.

TFC are without a win in six consecutive MLS contests, following a 2-2 draw versus DC United, while Chicago are dead-last in the Eastern Conference and are now winless in 10 straight games in all competitions.


Match preview

Toronto FC head coach Bob Bradley calls out to his team during the second half against New York City FC at BMO Field on April 2, 2022© Reuters

We are more than a third of the way into the 2022 domestic campaign, and TFC are once again near the bottom of the table after being one of the teams to beat for so many years.

Baby steps have been taken to restore this once great franchise to elite status, though their promising start to the campaign has hit a downward spiral.

For weeks Bob Bradley's side have had three points right there for the taking and come up short, losing four of five games by a single goal.

Despite all the setbacks that this young team have incurred, they have reacted well to adversity throughout the year, with nine of their 12 points coming from losing positions, including last Saturday when they came back to draw DC United 2-2, snapping a five-match losing run in MLS play.

Over the 2021 off-season, there were close to 20 departures from this squad, plus a new coach and philosophy, so it is understandable to see some growing pains, combined with a lack of consistency and continuity among the players.

Their Achilles heel a season ago was an inability to remain calm and close down space in their third of the field, conceding the second-most goals in the regular season (66).

That area continues to be a trouble spot in 2022, having allowed at least a goal in 21 straight MLS affairs, equalling the club record set immediately before the current run.

Chicago Fire forward Kacper Przyby?ko (11) reacts after scoring a goal against Sporting Kansas City during the first half at Soldier Field on March 19, 2022© Reuters

While the score was a lot more respectable, Ezra Hendrickson can hardly be pleased with the way that his side have given away points in recent matches, losing 1-0 to New York City FC last weekend, their fourth straight road defeat.

As has been the case through much of the campaign, turning the ball over in dangerous areas of the field cost them against the Pigeons, forcing them to defend an awful lot while putting a ton of pressure on their backline.

Like Toronto, we have seen several new faces to this squad from a year ago, and it is believed that those new additions should allow this group to play with a more aggressive approach in the weeks to come.

Hendrickson and his players have emphasised the importance of being strong mentally to get over their current slump, and they will encounter another psychological hurdle this weekend, having gone winless against TFC since 2015 and without a victory at BMO Field in nearly a decade.

Their current nine-game winless run in MLS play is the longest they have gone without winning a regular-season affair since 2018, when the Fire picked up just one point in nine successive fixtures, finishing 20th overall after being the third-seeded team over the previous season.

After 13 matches, Chicago have the same number of points as they did at this stage of the 2021 campaign and are still having trouble on the road with just one victory so far.

Toronto Major League Soccer form:
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • D

Toronto form (all competitions):
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • W

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


Team News

Toronto FC defender Carlos Salcedo (3) and Toronto FC midfielder Alejandro Pozuelo (10) celebrate a goal against the D.C. United at BMO Field on March 19, 2022© Reuters

Midfielder Jonathan Osorio returned to the lineup for Toronto last weekend, replacing Ralph Priso in the second half, scoring the equaliser a minute before injury time to earn his side a draw, while Ayo Akinola scored his fifth career goal against the Black and Red and leading goalscorer Jesus Jimenez had his second assist of the season.

Alex Bono has spent the bulk of the season collecting the ball out of his goal, with the second-highest goals-against average (1.92) among MLS goalkeepers this season, conceding 25 times.

Bradley will likely be missing numerous players for this upcoming fixture, such as Kadin Chung, Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty, Chris Mavinga, Noble Okello, Alejandro Pozuelo and Jacob Shaffelburg, all of whom are suffering from lower-body injuries.

Chicago are missing a few players themselves through injury, including Spencer Richey (head) and Javier Casas (pelvis), while Rafael Czichos is questionable with a right lower leg issue.

The club signed home-grown goalkeeper Chris Brady to a contract extension last week through until 2026 with an option for 2027, while also inking defender Justin Reynolds to a new deal for the same amount of time.

Hendrickson made two changes from the side that began the match against the New York Red Bulls to his opening 11 against the defending MLS champions, as Boris Sekulic and Gaston Gimenez took the places of Carlos Teran and Jhon Espinoza.

Toronto possible starting lineup:
Bono; Petrasso, Salcedo, O'Neill; Osorio, Bradley; Nelson, Kerr, Priso; Jimenez, Akinola

Chicago Fire possible starting lineup:
Slonina; M. Navarro, Teran, Omsberg, Espinoza; Gimenez, F. Navarro; Herbers, Shaqiri, Mueller; Ivanov


SM words green background

We say: Toronto 2- 1 Chicago Fire

Mistakes have plagued both of these teams so far this season, but Toronto have shown a lot more fight than Chicago over their slump, while they seem to have more chemistry than the Fire, which we believe will be enough to earn them their first victory since April.


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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How you voted: Toronto vs Chicago Fire

Toronto
69.2%
Draw
19.2%
Chicago Fire
11.5%
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LA Galaxy forward Javier Hernandez (14) celebrates after scoring a goal against the Portland Timbers during the first half at Providence Park on April 3, 2022
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Tables

Eastern Conference

TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Philadelphia UnionPhiladelphia177822213929
2New York Red BullsNY Red Bulls188552820829
3CF MontrealMontreal179263229329
4New York City FCNY City1684431171428
5Orlando City177462023-325
6New England RevolutionNew England176652726124
7FC CincinnatiCincinnati177372730-324
8Columbus Crew165652018221
9Inter MiamiInter Miami166371725-821
10Charlotte FCCharlotte FC1862101722-520
11Atlanta UnitedAtlanta165472424019
12Toronto1853102434-1018
13Chicago Fire174581522-717
14DC United154291827-914

Western Conference

TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Philadelphia UnionPhiladelphia177822213929
2New York Red BullsNY Red Bulls188552820829
3CF MontrealMontreal179263229329
4New York City FCNY City1684431171428
5Orlando City177462023-325
6New England RevolutionNew England176652726124
7FC CincinnatiCincinnati177372730-324
8Columbus Crew165652018221
9Inter MiamiInter Miami166371725-821
10Charlotte FCCharlotte FC1862101722-520
11Atlanta UnitedAtlanta165472424019
12Toronto1853102434-1018
13Chicago Fire174581522-717
14DC United154291827-914

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