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Shifting Fortunes: DC United vs Chicago Fire, MLS Week 32 Preview

The Fire make their first trip to Audi Field against a resurgent DCU squad

MLS: D.C. United at Chicago Fire Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

I think we’ve all gotten accustomed to DCU being Bad At Soccer.

Even in our Wooden Spoon years, Fire fans were able to look ahead to this fixture and feel like we had a decent shot at a win. That no matter how bad things were in Bridgeview, we could gaze in the general direction of RFK Stadium and feel marginally better about our lot.

Things are much different now.

DCU are in the midst of a renaissance. A shiny new stadium. A detente between the front office and various supporter groups. Wayne Rooney, but like, good Wayne Rooney. DCU are dangerous now.

And the Fire are... well, you know.

In the long-term, DCU’s sudden turnaround, on and off the pitch, provide a potential blueprint for moving forward in Chicago. Hopeless as things once were in DC, they did get better. It can be that way here too. (Whether or not it will depends in large part on this FO being open to discussions in good faith, something which they have not demonstrated yet.)

In the short-term, we have to find a way to beat DC on Sunday. And that ain’t gonna be easy.

Chicago Fire all-time MLS record vs DC United: 20W-15D-22L, 85 GF / 87 GA, 75 pts out of 171

Chicago Fire away MLS record vs DC United: 9W-5D-15L, 39 GF / 54 GA, 32 pts out of 87

Previously On...

Seven points from their last nine. Mostly recently, a 5-0 beatdown of Montreal. DC are definitely feeling it right now.

Suggested Lineup

Cleveland; Vincent, Schweinsteiger, Kappelhof, Hasler; Bronico, McCarty; Katai, Mihailovic, De Leeuw; Nikolic

Let Cleveland and Mihailovic build on their momentum. Basti at CB is working for now, so we might as well let him stay. Katai should start again if he’s fit. Pretty straightforward.

Keys To The Match

Score First: Me? Broken record? I have no idea what you’re talking about.

Transitory States: The Fire have had a lot of problems on this pitch this season. One of the big ones is that they tend to get burned in transition— they lose the ball, they can’t recover, and they concede a chance or even a goal. They cannot do this against DC. They have to limit their turnovers, be more organized when they do lose the ball, and find ways to make it count when they have possession. No easy task, but they gotta do it.

Do The Impossible, Twice: It’s not just that DCU have Wayne Rooney. It’s not just that Wayne Rooney is somehow magically good again. No, it’s his combination play with Luciano Acosta that’s proving REALLY dangerous. The Fire’s backline (and whoever ends up in goal) has to find ways to contain these two. I don’t know how you do that right now, and I’m not sure the Fire do either. But that’s the job.

How To Watch

Television: ESPN

Streaming: ESPN+, WatchESPN

Final Thoughts

Can the Fire build on last week’s win? Let us know in the comments below!