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Red Scare: Chicago Fire vs Toronto FC, MLS Week 21 Preview

The Fire have an opportunity to turn their league form around as they host the despondent defending MLS champs

MLS: Chicago Fire at Toronto FC John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Way back in preseason when the 2018 season schedule was released and I saw the Fire had back-to-back games against the MLS Cup champions, I wrote both of them off as losses. However else the Fire might fare this season, we’d all have to emotionally prepare to drop both games and just look past them.

A funny thing happened along the way— Toronto tanked. All of a sudden these games seem winnable.

Or they would if the Fire hadn’t also massively regressed from last year. Just because Toronto are awful doesn’t mean Chicago is a lock to get six points from six.

Yet the Men In Red have a clear opportunity here. And at this point in the season, the Fire can’t afford to let these kind of opportunities slip.

Chicago Fire all-time MLS record vs Toronto FC: 9W-8D-9L, 41 GF / 42 GA, 35 pts out of 78

Chicago Fire home MLS record vs Toronto FC: 5W-5D-2L, 26 GF / 17 GA, 17 pts out of 36

Previously on...

These don’t include Toronto’s 1-0 win over Ottawa Fury in the Canadian Championships. Two Ls and a D in their last three MLS games. They haven’t won in the league since June 8th. And more to the point— they’re losing against bad teams. Their rough start to the season wasn’t a fluke— this Toronto team is just bad.

Suggested Lineup

Sanchez; Corrales, Campbell, Kappelhof, Vincent; Schweinsteiger, Adams, Bronico; Katai, Campos, Nikolic

I know Pauno’s going to put Vincent in the middle and play Campos as a fullback. Doesn’t mean I have to like it. W/R/T the midfield, I don’t know what Dax’s status is as I write this (late Thursday night) but I think giving him the night off isn’t the worst idea. Adams could use the minutes anyway.

Keys To The Match

Rhymes With “Gore Worst”: What one thing leads to the Fire getting better results? You guessed it— scoring first! Score a goal before Toronto does! It’s good for the soul!

More Like O-sorry-o, TBH: One of the Fire’s top priorities will be containing Jonathan Osorio. Not only is he Toronto’s current leading goalscorer— which is a bit bonkers if you think about their forward line— but he’s also holding their midfield together. Knock him off his game and the Fire will do just fine.

Don’t Be Coy: This is the first of back-to-back games against Toronto. They’re beatable, but not as beatable when they’re at home, which they will be next week. The Fire need to milk home field advantage for all it’s worth. That also means they can’t afford to Play Not To Lose, as they have sometimes done this season. The Men In Red have to see this as the opportunity that it is and fucking go for it. They can content themselves with a draw next week— tomorrow, they have to win.

How To Watch

Television: N/A

Streaming: ESPN+

Final Thoughts

Can the Fire sort their league form out? Let us know in the comments below!