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The Midwestern Goodbye: Orlando City vs Chicago Fire, MLS Week 31 Preview

Two bad teams who have nothing left to play for pick a slap fight with each other to close out the 2019 season

MLS: Orlando City SC at Chicago Fire Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

You know that joke about how people in the Midwest take forever to say goodbye? The details vary, but it usually involves some combination of: taking upwards of 90 minutes to actually part company, saying things like “welp” and “about that time” to signal that it’s time to wrap things up, getting drawn into another conversational tangent just as you’re about to go, etc. You get the idea.

That’s basically where we’re at with this one last game in Orlando. The season is over. There’s nothing left to play for. The evening has drawn to a close and everyone has a long drive ahead of them. And yet, we’re still in the foyer, slowly putting on shoes, talking about the new Mariano’s they’re building down on Golf Road, and all of a sudden it’s 10:30.

Wow, would you look at the time?

Chicago Fire all-time MLS record vs Orlando City: 3W-4D-2L, 16 GF / 9 GA, 13 pts out of 27

Chicago Fire away MLS record vs Orlando City: 1W-3D-0L, 4 GF / 3 GA, 6 pts out of 12

Previously on…

Two draws and a loss. Winless in seven. Orlando are very beatable. And yet...

Suggested Lineup

Cleveland; Gutjahr, Lillard, Marcelo, Reynolds II; McCarty, Mihailovic, Bronico; Campos, Edwards, Sapong

Like we said on the podcast this week: it’s time to Play Your Kids. (Do we think Pauno will actually put out a lineup like this? LOL no.)

Keys To The Match

Play! Your! Kids!: There’s nothing left to play for and nothing left to fight for. The worst that can happen is we lose, other results go against us, and we finish the season in 11th place instead of 8th. Who cares! This isn’t the Premier League, we don’t get more money depending on table position. 8th and 11th are functionally the same. We might as well use the opportunity to see if Andre Reynolds II and Diego Campos can ball.

Focus On The Intangibles: There really is freedom in having nothing concrete to play for. We’re on the road, so we don’t even have to put on a good performance in front of the home fans. The only meaning in this game will be what the players, and the technical staff, invest in it. Maybe the team wants to get their passing percentage up. Maybe Brandt Bronico can try out some crazy shit he’s been hesitant to do earlier in the season. Maybe everybody pulls together to get CJ Sapong a hat trick.

Don’t Get Hurt: There’s no Next Week for us, but injuries still suck. Be careful out there, guys.

How To Watch

Television: N/A

Streaming: ESPN+

Final Thoughts

Most teams would be able to pull it together enough to beat Orlando. The Fire are not one of those teams. 1-1.

What do you think? Can the Fire close out this season on a high note? Let us know in the comments below.