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Burn Therapy: FC Dallas vs Chicago Fire, MLS Week 20 Preview

A demoralized Fire squad faces a resurgent Dallas on the road, with faint hopes of retaining the Brimstone Cup

MLS: FC Dallas at Chicago Fire Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

The Fire head into their one (1) meeting with FC Dallas this weekend on the heels of one of their worst home performances of the season. Chasing the game from the half hour mark, appearing to grab a point at the death, only to allow David Accam to grab a winner and some sweet sweet revenge against his former club— all of this can’t be good for the squad’s mentality. How they go into a game on the road against a Supporters Shield contender who are nearly untouchable at home is beyond me.

Then again, this has been a pretty bad season, and the team has grown accustomed to trying to bounce back from tough losses. There’s been a lot of them in 2018! So maybe the prospect of facing Dallas on the road isn’t much more intimidating than anything else we’ve gone up against. Even if the Brimstone Cup might be our best chance at silverware this season.

Chicago Fire all-time MLS record vs FC Dallas: 16W-4D-21L, 64 GF / 74 GA, 52 pts out of 123

Chicago Fire away MLS record vs FC Dallas: 4W-2D-13L, 26 GF / 43 GA, 14 pts out of 57

Chicago Fire all-time* Brimstone Cup titles: 6 out of 17

*= does not include the “unofficial” record from 1998-2000

Previously On...

I’m inclined to count that loss to RSL as a bit of a fluke. It’s their only loss in the past five games (the rest were wins) and they’re still on an 11-game unbeaten streak at home.

Suggested Lineup

Sanchez; Vincent, Campbell, Kappelhof, Ramos; Schweinsteiger, McCarty, Bronico; Katai, Campos, Nikolic

If Del Grecco is cleared to play, I’d like to at least see him come off the bench. Corrales needs a reset after a poor performance against Philadelphia, Campos needs to play on the forward line, and it’s time for Ramos to come in from the dog house.

Keys To The Match

Score First? Score First: I’m going to keep beating this drum until the offseason. Score first. Score first! Put the ball in the back of the next before the other team does. We get better results when it happens. Do it. Do the thing.

Why Don’t You Just Meet Me In The Middle: We used to have one of the strongest, most well-organized defenses in the league. But with Matt Polster out on injury, Juninho long gone, a rotating young’n slot (sometimes Mo Adams, sometimes Brandt Bronico), and now Bastian Schweinsteiger roaming all over the place trying to play the hero, our presence in the center of the park is sorely lacking. Dax McCarty has been left to do a lot on his own, and it’s just... not working. So, pull it together, guys.

Spoil The Party: Dallas’ goalscorers are really hot at the moment. Roland Lamah is leading the way with seven league goals, Maxi Urriti is just one behind him, Mauro Diaz is racking up assists, and even Tesho Akindele put two past Atlanta to grab a win. In short, Dallas are where they are because they’ve figured out how to put the ball in the back of the next. The Fire can’t allow themselves to become target practice. Whether it’s through a more organized defense or indulging in the dark arts, the Fire have to find ways to shut Dallas’ forward line down.

How To Watch

Television: N/A

Streaming: ESPN+

Final Thoughts

Can the Fire retain the Brimstone Cup? Let us know in the comments below!