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Fan Appreciation Night: Chicago Fire vs Real Salt Lake MLS Preview

MLS: Real Salt Lake at Chicago Fire Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Fire are holding their Fan Appreciation Night on Saturday, and in that spirit, I, alongside Patrick, Alex, and the rest of our contributors would like to thank you for your participation, active or passive, in our little Fire community. It’s been a tough year, and not always the funniest to read or even write about. But we thank you for sticking with us and hopefully, these next few games give us something to smile about. And as we move on into the next season, things get more exciting and give us all reasons to stay engaged like we have been all season. Once again, thank you for sticking with us, and hopefully, better things are on the horizon.

Chicago Fire all-time MLS record vs Real Salt Lake: 7W-8D-7L, 26 GF / 21 GA, 29 pts out of 66

Chicago Fire home MLS record vs Real Salt Lake: 4W-5D-3L, 12 GF / 9 GA, 17 pts out of 36

Previously on…

RSL and the Chicago Fire have a lot in common at the moment. They’ve gone through a lot of off-the-field issues and struggles in the front office. However, the big difference is RSL has remained respectable on it. While the Fire have gone quietly into that good night, RSL have remained in the playoff hunt. They’re a point off of 7th with a game in hand on 7th place Vancouver and 3 points of 5th place LA Galaxy. After getting destroyed 6-1 at Portland, they’ve rattled off three wins in a row against LA, Austin, and in the Rocky Mountain Derby against Colorado, allowing only a goal a game while scoring multiple.

Suggested Lineup

I thought everything went pretty well all things considered against Cincinnati, as long as you’re looking for maximum entertainment. So I haven't made many changes to the lineup that played on Wednesday. Mo Pineda should keep starting in midfield, and Brian Gutierrez has played well enough to start instead of Fabian Herbers. If nothing else changes Guti is the starting right winger next season, so you may as well start playing him there. As for the other, well, Play Luka as a false 9.

As a rule, I hate false 9’s. I think they’re inefficient and concede a certain level of space to the defense that could otherwise be pressured for fun and profit. But for this roster, at this time it’s clear that Luka Stojanovic is their best player, deserves to be on the field, and probably should be leading the line going into next season. I think they should try this out, just once. and see what happens. It could be fun, and that’s really what it’s all about now.

Keys To The Match

Don’t Fall Asleep: The Fire, despite better defensive performances in the ladder half of the season still have a tendency to let a few chances get by them by losing concentration for a split second. It’s what almost cost them against Cincinnati, and what will catch them out against RSL. Frank Klopas has to preach to his team that they can’t lose focus, not even for a split second, against a team that can score

Keep That Killer Instinct: The Fire didn’t throw away any chances against Cincinnati, bar maybe one or two. That kind of performance is what the club has been missing for the rest of the season. The forwards have to remember this feeling, and keep scoring goals when the opportunity presents itself.

How To Watch

Television: WGN-TV

Streaming: CFFC Live/ ESPN+ out of market

Final Thoughts

It’s fan appreciation night, which means the Fire should go on and win the game, but RSL are on a roll, and are capable of stealing one on the lakefront. So logically, this one is going to be a draw. 2-2