There aren’t a whole lot of teams in the league that are objectively worse than the Fire. San Jose are definitely one of them.
Not by a whole lot, mind you. But enough that, all things being equal, expecting a win wouldn’t be a totally unreasonable thing.
But all things aren’t equal. Bastian Schweinsteiger is out this week thanks to accumulated yellow cards. Nico Gaitán is, as I’m sure you’ve heard by now, on the shelf for at least a few games with a hamstring injury. That means the Fire are going to be at maybe 70% strength this weekend. Enough to make this a nearly even contest.
So on the one hand, that’s a pretty dubious position to be in. On the other hand, if the Fire are serious about fighting for a playoff spot this year, this is exactly the kind of game they need to get a result from. If their 70% isn’t better than San Jose’s 100%, then they can’t just blame dropped points on Basti and Gaitán being out.
Tomorrow is a test. I really hope they’re ready for it.
Chicago Fire away MLS record vs San Jose Earthquakes: 6W-5D-8L, 23 GF / 26 GA, 23 pts out of 57
One of each from the past three games, good for four points from nine. So, a bit all over the place.
Ousted; Corrales, Kappelhof, Calvo, Frankowski; McCarty, Adams; Katai, Mihailovic, Sapong; Nikolic
I wouldn’t be surprised if Mo Adams gets the short straw again this week, but otherwise I feel like this is pretty close to what the actual lineup will be tomorrow.
Keys To The Match
Keep It Tight: The Fire’s defending has gotten better recently. A lot better. So much so that they’ve kept a clean sheet for three games running. There’s honestly no reason that they can’t do it again this weekend. It’s going to be a little tougher without Basti, but they can do it.
Keep It Moving: Passing and movement off the ball is also going to be key to getting a result against the Quakes. The Fire will, of course, be at a disadvantage without Gaitán. But with the Fire’s midfield— and especially with Katai out wide— they should still be able to win that aspect of the game.
Keep It 100: Oh yeah, and score some goals. Thanks in advance.
How To Watch
Television: Univision Deportes
On the most recent episode of The North Lot, I predicted a 0-0 draw. I still stand by that prediction, but I’m not quite as sure about it a few days on. I think a 1-0 win is entirely possible too.
What do you think? Do the Fire have what it takes to get a result on the West Coast this weekend? Let us know in the comments below!