The Chicago Fire are back in St. Paul, Minnesota tonight, hoping this time they’ll actually be able to play a match before leaving town.
A positive COVID test in the Minnesota United delegation forced the postponement of this match a few weeks ago. Tonight is the makeup date, but there was some question whether the match would be scrapped entirely after Minnesota had two more positive tests last weekend.
After it appears Minnesota returned negative tests Tuesday, it appears the match is on. Minnesota goes into the match with six players out due to injuries, and two others in COVID isolation. The Loons are so short handed they signed three players from USL side Reno 1868 FC late last week to make sure they could field a team.
It’s a massive game for Chicago (5-9-7, 1.05 PPG), a team looking for points to lock up a playoff spot. Four points over the final two matches will do it. A win tonight would put the Fire at 1.14 points per game, and would mean they’d only need a draw against New York City FC on Decision Day to make the playoffs. A draw against the Loons would leave the Fire needing a win on Sunday, or help from some other teams. A loss tonight won’t mean their hopes are dead, but it will mean a lot of scoreboard watching will come into play this weekend.
The game will be especially important to Fire Captain Francisco Calvo, who served as Minnesota’s captain until he was traded away last season. Chicago is one of two teams who haven’t won on the road this season—the Columbus Crew are the other—and Calvo said it’s clear what he and his teammates will have to focus on to get three points.
“Details,” Calvo said. “I think details are gonna be so important. We know Minnesota is a strong team at home, but also we play really well home and away. We’ve been showing that in the past games. So, we need to be focused. We need to be intense, we need to go over them, don’t let them play, play our game and just manage the game.”
From an injury standpoint, the Fire are in much better shape than Minnesota. However, Chicago is still without CJ Sapong, who is away from the team spending time with his newborn daughter.
MLS Regular Season Match 22 | Wednesday, November 4 | Allianz Field, St. Paul, MN
Kickoff: 7 p.m. CT
Streaming: ESPN+ (sign up using our link, and help support Hot Time! ESPN+ pregame starts at 6:45, 15 minutes earlier than WGN.)
Radio: TUDN 1200 AM
Live Twitter Updates: @HotTimeOldTown (from Ruben)
Chicago’s Remaining Schedule
- Sunday, Nov. 8 vs. New York City FC | 2:30 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)
Minnesota United Injuries
- OUT: GK - Tyler Miller (hip surgery 8/19, out for season) - READ
- OUT: D - Ike Opara (not medically cleared)
- OUT: F - Luis Amarilla (ankle injury 9/8, out 2-3 weeks) - REPORT
- OUT: M - Hassani Dotson (ankle injury) - REPORT
- OUT: M - Osvaldo Alonso (not medically cleared)
- OUT: M - Jacori Hayes (not medically cleared)