The schedule the Chicago Fire have must have been a gift from MLS HQ for all the times they’ve screwed them over. In the middle of a playoff race that the Fire are desperate to compete in, they get to play another team with either a similar or worse record then them. While other teams are fighting tooth and nail and scrapping for every point, the Fire get to play teams like the Houston Dynamo and DC United.
The Fire have feasted on teams worse than them, Of their four wins that find them two points out of a playoff spot, three have come against teams around or below their record. Robert Beric has (up until last Wednesday) scored in 5 games in a row, kickstarted by playing against these below average teams. They’ve found their identity against teams like that, and are really just a few bad bounces away from a record that would have them close to the top of the conference. Things are looking up for the first time in several years at the club, and it’s really nice to watch it all come together.
The Men in Red have a chance to make something of the season, and beating up on teams like DC United is the first step, one that they’ve made before.
Chicago Fire home MLS record vs DC United: 11W-12D-7L, 46GF / 33 GA, 45 pts out of 90
DC are mired in chaos. They’re winless in their last six games and have lost their last four in a row by a combined score of 11-3. They’ve removed Ben Olsen, their longest tenured manager in club history, on Thursday. They’re in a really bad spot and are about to fall off the cliff, if they haven’t already.
This is not the lineup that I think is going to play against DC, but it’s the lineup I’d most like to see. Toward the end of the last match, it was clear that the constant games and minimal recovery time was taking it’s toll on the club. They were sluggish and tired and couldn’t take advantage of whatever they were given by SKC late on. Because of that, what I really want to see is almost a Full squad rotation. Andre Reynolds II is a promising prospect, and if there was ever a game to give him a full runout, it’s this one. Calvo is suspended for yellow card accumulation, and Carlos Terán is here and training, so you might as well give him a run out too.
That being said, I fully expect them to run out this lineup. Kappelhof slots in for Calvo, and Bronico continues to start.
Keys To The Match
Control the Chaos: This is going to be another one of those games where the opposing team will inevitably lose concentration and give up scoring opportunities. They just fired their longtime manager and even before then, were a bit lost and were playing dreadful football. The Fire need to pounce on them exactly the same way they did against the other poor teams in MLS. Press high to force turnovers, make the simple passes when you have the ball, and be accurate in front of goal when scoring opportunities present themselves.
Better DM Play: It’s fair to say that Brandt Bronico did not play as well as Gastón Giménez would have had he not gone on international duty. Against SKC, The Fire central midfield looked less in control of the game without him, and the mark on the second goal KC scored would not have had much of a size difference. In order to regain the momentum the Fire had last week, Bronico (if he indeed is playing) needs to be better in all facets of the game. That 6 spot in the lineup is the most important position in the Fire’s scheme. They’re responsible for both stopping the opposing attack and starting the Fire’s attack. Bronico needs to step up and prove that he belongs in Wicky’s system.
How To Watch
Streaming: ESPN +
The question isn’t if the Fire will win, its by how many, and weather or not they keep a clean sheet. It’s going to finish 4-1 to the Fire.