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The Fortress: Fire vs Orlando City, MLS Week 17 Preview

The Fire return home to their stronghold after another win

MLS: Chicago Fire at New England Revolution
Solignac and Niko have been the two spearheads to the Chicago attack.
Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

And the party keeps on going. Last week the Fire held on against the New England Revolution to get their 9th win of the season. Now let’s all once again take a moment to realize that we are about halfway through the season and just one point behind the Supporter’s Shield leaders. While at the beginning it felt like the slightest thing could tear this apart, now the Fire look almost impenetrable. Now we’re coming back to Toyota Park, where have actually been impenetrable. In fact, we haven’t given up more than a single goal in a game since Basti’s debut against Montreal. It doesn’t bode well for anyone walking into Bridgeview.

Orlando has only played two games since their “last stand” against the Fire, so there’s really not much to say here. They’ve gone four games without losing, but three games without winning. In their last two games they were losing going into the 90th minute, but were able to pull some magic up in the last minute from set pieces. That’s been their main story through their last two games. Let’s relive those overly tense moments right now!

Vs. Chicago 6/4

Vs. Montreal 6/17

Vs. Seattle 6/21

Three Keys

Joe Bendik

So I’m fairly certain this is a very hot take here, but I think that Joe Bendik is the best goalkeeper in the league right now and is definitely the most underrated. We saw it when we played them the first time this season and we continue to see it in their last two games (see: that triple save in the Seattle game). With 60 saves on the season, he sits comfortably with the 2 most saves in the league and has 3 shutouts. I believe that even though his stats may only put him at average, think about their defense. He has a terrible defense in front of him that doesn’t give him much of a chance, but he keeps it all out.

Commitment Issues

Speaking of Orlando’s terrible defense, that’s how we’ll get them. Their issue is simple: they over-commit. Yeah, I usually have more specifics, but it’s just that simple. Look at each goal, especially against Montreal. The entire defense moves over to the ball-side and leaves the back post area open. Just pull them to one side and shoot it back out to the other wing who will be wide open in the center of the park.

Missing

You may notice two very important names missing from these two lineups (or projections at least). One is on the Fire’s side, which is David Accam who is allegedly off on international duty, but I can only find a single article saying so so I honestly don’t have a clue anymore. On the Orlando side is Cyle Larin, whose circumstance I won’t discuss, but will definitely say that as a key piece he will be missed by the side. These are two very key absences that will have a major impact on the game.

Projected Lineups

Chicago Fire

Orlando City

How To Watch

Kickoff: Saturday June 24th, 7:30PM CDT

TV/Streaming: CSN-Chicago, MLS Live

So will the Fire finally get past Bendik and enact that slight bit of revenge or will Orlando pull of some more late game magic against the Fire?