The Chicago Fire kick off a three game road trip tonight as they make a final push for a playoff spot, and to get you prepared, here’s a little trivia quiz: Which player leads the Fire in minutes played this season?
Is it Robert Berić? No—there was one game during his cold spell where he didn’t start. Is it Francisco Calvo? No—he missed a game due to yellow card accumulation. Álvaro Medrán? Close—he’s one of only two players to start all 19 games so far, but it’s not him.
Actually, it’s the Homegrown rookie, Mauricio Pineda. He’s played 1,660 minutes this season, 20 more than Medrán. So, if anybody knows the mood of the team heading into tonight’s match, it’s Pineda.
“I think everyone’s just ready to grind out the season,” Pineda said. “I think everyone’s taking each game as a final, as a championship, and everyone’s really motivated to get points on the road.”
In the Philadelphia Union, the Fire are facing the best team in MLS. They sit top of the Eastern Conference, 20 points ahead of Chicago. So, will this be a blowout? Not necessarily. For starters, Gastón Giménez is back after a long time off for international duty and quarantine. Plus, generally speaking, the Fire haven’t been blown out this year. This season, Chicago has been in pretty much every game—even the bizarre, 4-1 loss away to Orlando, and the 3-0 loss on the road at Columbus. The Fire are capable of getting a result, and it seems Philly coach Jim Curtin knows that.
“Tricky game now with Chicago, a team that’s playing a lot better than their point total,” Curtin said of tonight’s opponent. “They’ve been on the unlucky side of a lot of results. Their coach, Rapha Wicky, does a great job of getting them to play the right way. They’re very good in possession with the ball. They create a lot of chances. They’re organized defensively, and they press well together as a team. We recognize we’ll have our hands full.”
MLS Regular Season Match #20 | Subaru Park, Chester, PA
Kickoff: 6:30 p.m. CT
Streaming: ESPN+ (sign up using our link, and help support Hot Time! ESPN+ pregame starts at 6:15, 15 minutes earlier than WGN.)
Radio: TUDN 1200 AM
Live Twitter Updates: @HotTimeOldTown (from Ruben)
Next Up: Nashville SC vs. Chicago Fire | Saturday, Oct. 31 | Nissan Stadium, Nashville, TN | 6:30 p.m. CT | WGN & ESPN+
Chicago Fire Injuries
- OUT: GK - Kenneth Kronholm (torn ACL, meniscus tear 8/11, out for season)
- OUT: M - Luka Stojanovic (MCL surgery 7/23)
- OUT: D - Wyatt Omsberg (not medically cleared)
- OUT: M - Brandt Bronico (not medically cleared)
- OUT: D - Johan Kappelhof (undisclosed injury)
Philadelphia Union Injuries
- OUT: D - Matthew Real (not medically cleared)
- QUESTIONABLE: M - Warren Creavalle (undisclosed injury)