Heading into tonight’s Chicago Fire-San Jose Earthquakes match (7 p.m. CT, FS1, TUDN), the Fire are not only the favorites to win their group—they’re now among the favorites to win the entire MLS is Back Tournament, according to FiveThirtyEight.
Right now, the stats site is giving the Fire a 54 percent chance to win Group B, and a six percent chance to win the tournament—which is behind only LAFC, Philadelphia Union, Toronto FC and Minnesota United.
If the Fire beat San Jose, they will lock up a spot in the knockout round, and they’ll be watching the outcome of the night’s other match, Seattle-Vancouver (9:30 p.m. CT, FS1, TUDN), to find out if they’ve won the group outright.
To finish first in Group B, the Fire would need a win against San Jose, and they’d need a Sounders win or a draw in the second match. For San Jose, it’s a lot simpler. The Quakes will finish atop Group B with a win over Chicago.
A draw tonight would see the Quakes finish the group stage with five points. The Fire would have four points with one game left to play (Thursday vs. Vancouver, 8 a.m. CT, ESPN), meaning a group win would still be in Chicago’s hands.
Chicago Fire vs. San Jose Earthquakes
Sunday, July 19, 2020
MLS is Back Tournament Match 2 (for Chicago) | ESPN Wide World of Sports, Orlando, FL
Kickoff: 7 p.m. CT
TV: FS1, TUDN
Radio: TUDN 1200AM
Live Twitter Updates: @HotTimeOldTown (from Ruben)
Watch Party: The Fire are hosting a “Drive-In” viewing party for the match at Soldier Field’s Waldron Parking Deck. To attend, you have to register ahead of time on the Fire’s website.
Next Up: MLS is Back Tournament Match 3: Chicago Fire vs. Vancouver Whitecaps | Thursday, July 23, 8 a.m. CT | ESPN Wide World of Sports, Orlando, FL. | TV: ESPN, Radio: TUDN 1200AM
How does this tournament work?
Each team plays three group stage matches, which will count toward the 2020 regular season, should one happen. The top two teams from each of the six groups advance to the knockout rounds, plus the four best third place teams. The winner gets a birth in the Concacaf Champions League.
Group B Standings
- San Jose 4 pts (2 GP)
- Chicago 3 pts (1 GP)
- Seattle 1 pt (2 GP)
- Vancouver 0 pts (1 GP)
MLS isn’t requiring teams to put out injury reports for this tournament. We can tell you defender Johan Kappelhof and midfielder Micheal Azira both missed the trip to Orlando with injuries, and at his media availability on Friday, Raphael Wicky said there were no other injuries to report.
Some light pregame reading
- Five key things we learned from Raphael Wicky’s news conference
- The Chicago Fire are having fun again
- Ruben’s preview of tonight’s match
Wicky has said there could be a few changes to the lineup from what we saw against Seattle. We’ll post lineups as soon as they’re available.
In the meantime, start the conversation in the comments below!