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Friday Night Lights: Chicago Fire vs. Vancouver Whitecaps, MLS Week 7 Preview

Chicago will play host to a struggling Whitecaps side for Canadian national TV

MLS: Chicago Fire at Vancouver Whitecaps Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Give The Friday night games are back again this year. These games, largely featuring Canadian teams, are being scheduled, I think, to avoid conflicts with the NHL playoffs and the end of the regular season, at the behest of their Canadian broadcast partner TSN. However, these games are not on national TV in the United States. I think that’s a mistake.

Aside from next Friday’s tilt between the Houston Dynamo and LA Galaxy on Unimas, MLS is missing out on a relatively empty sports timeslot. There’s no Friday night national baseball game, and the NBA, which does have a national TV window on ESPN Friday’s during the winter is finished with their regular season. It would behoove MLS to grab onto the time slot, and showcase some of the best MLS has to offer on a national audience when broadcasters are starved for live sports content.

Chicago Fire all-time MLS record vs Vancouver Whitecaps: 2W-2D-5L, 11 GF / 13 GA, 8 pts out of 27

Chicago Fire home MLS record vs Vancouver Whitecaps: 2W-2D-1L, 5 GF / 1 GA, 8 pts out of 15

Previously on…

Vancouver are really struggling right now, going winless in their first 5 games. There lone point came in a scoreless draw with the Seattle Sounders.

Suggested Lineup

As of yesterday, Przemysław Frankowski is still listed as out with a groin injury. So, I think that this is how the Men in Red will line up. The only change I foresee? Nicolas Gaitán for Djordje Mihailovic. It’s time to see him play a full 90... or at least start the match.

Keys To The Match

Visualize, then execute: The Fire need to finish their chances when they have opportunities. They’ve wasted plenty of chances already this season. Coming in to April, the Fire were ranked sixth in expected goals in the league, and yet they have not managed to convert those expected goals into real goals. Coming into this game with a goal differential of -2 is not where you want to be. The offense needs to kick it into high gear.

Don’t just stand around, do something: For the most part I was happy with the defensive performance last week, however the one big thing that needs to be improved on is the static nature of the back line. Whenever the ball would get clear, the back four were slow in pushing back the Toronto attackers toward midfield. They need to start reacting quicker to changes and put more pressure on the opposing forwards.

Be ready for battle: The Fire have a problem with coming out slow to start games. Generally, they do play better in the second halves of games, but if they want to be a playoff team, they need to start off strong in the first half. Friday’s game is as good a time as any to start doing it.

How To Watch

Television: TSN 1,3, and 4 (CAN Only)

Streaming: ESPN+

Final Thoughts

With the poor start by Vancouver, combined with the belief that the Fire will eventually convert all these chances they create, I say 3-0 Fire victory.

Do you think the Fire will be able to post another win? Let us know in the comments!