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No Hate: Chicago Fire vs New England Revolution MLS Game 10 Preview

It’s the 5th game in 18 days!

MLS: New York City FC at New England Revolution Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Revolution and Chicago Fire are one of the great MLS rivalries. Forged in the fires of the early to mid 2000’s playoff series, the two organizations developed a strong dislike for one another, and the fanbases took that to another level. In recent years, however, it’s cooled off tremendously. One or both teams have been flirting with irrelevance at one point or another sometimes at the same moment. In fact, you could argue that they’re essentially the same team. They’re both teams that have been down in the dumps- languishing in the neglect and careless mismanagement that most MLS 1.0 teams went through in the last decade.

On the field, their roster is filled unhateable players. The days of Jeff Lorentowitz, Steve Ralston, and Shalrie Joseph are long in the past, and instead, we get Gustavo Bou and Adam Buska, to extremely likable and extremely good players up front, and they now have Matt Polster and Kekuta Manneh, two players whom I couldn’t bring myself to hate no matter who they played for.

That’s not to say the rivalry is dead. I still want the Fire to beat them every time they play, but not because I hate them, but because I want the Fire to get out of the MLS 1.0 quagmire of suck faster then they do.

Chicago Fire all-time MLS record vs New England Revolution: 27W-14D-22L, 92 GF / 83 GA, 95 pts out of 189

Chicago Fire home MLS record vs New England Revolution: 17W-9D-5L, 60 GF / 36 GA, 60 pts out of 93

Previously on…

Since the end of the MLS is Back tournament, the Revs have been pretty average overall with a 1W- 2D-1L record. There loss came at the hands of NYCFC on Wednesday, and their win was against DC United in Washington. They’re three points ahead of the Fire coming in as well.

Suggested Lineup

Squad rotation. Squad rotation. Squad Rotation. This is the Fire’s fifth game in eighteen days. That’s a stupid amount of fixture congestion to have to schedule around and frankly, I’m surprised they didn’t use last Wednesday’s game to give some guys a rest. So that means that they should give some guys some rest today. Medrán and Frankowski probably wants to play to erase the memory of the disaster against Cincy, and Medrán is probably the most consistent midfielder, so they stay in the lineup.

Keys To The Match

Contain Bou and Buksa: It’s no secret that New England’s best players are Gustavo Bou and Adam Buksa. Bou has two of the Revs three goals since the restart and Buksa is always in dangerous positions. It’s up to the double pivot in central midfield and the central defenders to contain those two and make some of the less reliable players, like Teal Bunbury, beat you.

The Matt Polster Problem: We know that Matt Polster is really good at getting forward from right back. For a while, he was the Fire’s best attacker from that position. It’s up to whoever’s playing on the wing opposite him to disrupt him moving forward. In most cases, this means sacrificing some offensive potency to keep him in check, This means that the Fire’s attacking motion needs to come from their right side of the field and it’s going to be real predictable. Raphael Wicky and company have a real tough problem to solve, and how successful he is at solving it will determine whether or not the Fire win.

How To Watch

Television: WGN TV

Streaming: ESPN +

Final Thoughts

This game is going to be another grind to watch, and probably to play. Adding to that is the high chance of rain and maybe thunderstorms in the evening, it might take a while to even get the game in. My prediction: 1-1 draw.