After being atrocious away from home in recent seasons, the Men In Red find themselves in the curious position of being stronger away from home. Two road wins and a come-from-behind draw against the defending MLS champions have started to give the Fire a reputation for being scalp hunters. Whereas hosting us in the past might’ve been seen as easy points, now we might have teams looking at the Fire as a potential trap game.
Honestly, there are worst things to build a brand around.
With that humming in the background, the Fire head to the City Of Brotherly Love— or rather 18.4 miles southwest of the City Of Brotherly Love— to take on the Union. Though they’re one of the weaker teams in the league, the Union are on a bit of a hot streak. Unbeaten in their last three games and boasting a better record at home against us, this fixture isn’t going to be easy for the Men In Red. But it’s not going to be a cakewalk for the other guys either.
And hey, we get to say hi to David Accam. That should be fun.
Chicago Fire away MLS record vs Philadelphia Union: 2-2-5, 14 GF / 17 GA, 8 pts out of 27
Seven points from their last nine. Bad teams on hot streaks can be dangerous. Thankfully, these streaks are also easy enough to kill.
McLain; Vincent, Lillard, Kappelhof, Ellis; Schweinsteiger, Tchani, Johnson; Katai, Nikolic, Campos
At press time, the league has yet to rule on the appeal over Mo Adams’ suspension. We’re going to assume for now that it’s not going to be resolved ahead of kickoff. (Stay tuned to our gameday coverage throughout the day for any updates on that story.) In the meantime, I’m going to say that McLain stays in goal and that Tchani steps in for Adams. I’m also going to assume Niko starts for now.
Keys To The Match
Crash The Gate: Philly’s backline is decidedly meh, but Andre Blake is quietly making a name for himself as one of the better young keepers in the league. In one on one situations, the smart money is on Blake keeping his shit tight. The Fire’s best chance at scoring will be getting forward in numbers. Niko, Katai, and Campos will have to work together to unspool the defense and overwhelm Blake.
Like A Bat Out Of Hell: With one of our attacking fullbacks out on a long-term injury layoff and our lethal winger from last year wearing the other guys’ shirt, we’re just not as fast as we used to be. But the Fire can still find another gear if they need to, thanks to Brandon Vincent from the back and Diego Campos up top. With both teams fighting fatigue, being able to get that extra step could make all the difference.
Push It To The Limit: Speaking of fatigue, both teams have thin squads and are heading into tonight on short rest. This game will be as much a test of endurance as skill or speed. The Fire are going to have to dig deep and hold on just a little longer than the home team.
How To Watch
Can the Fire continue their run of good luck on the road? Let us know in the comments below!