By the time the preview gets published, I’ll have gotten my first dose of the COVID19 vaccine— Pfizer’s if you’re curious. What this means for our coverage tomorrow is that I don’t know if I’ll be able to live tweet the game. What it means for me is that sooner rather than later, I’ll be able to go to a Fire game at Soldier Field. Hopefully they play as good offensively and better defensively than they did during last week.
Everyone who can should get vaccinated. For your loved ones and your neighbors, if not for yourself.
Chicago Fire away MLS record vs Atlanta United: 0W-0D-3L, 1 GF / 8 GA, 0 pts out of 12
The injury report is the same as last week, but I’m going to predict two changes from last week’s squad. Pineda should come in at centerback because he’s a bit more defensive minded than Kappelhof, and the defensive mental lapses almost demand a change on the back line. Pineda in is probably the most obvious change.
I also think Aliseda could start on the left if he can go at least an hour. As good as Offor looked in the first half last week, he started to trail off and cramp up late in the second half. That’s the price he paid for working so hard in the first frame, but I think his workrate would serve better in the second half after the defense has already had to work hard covering the starting XI for 60+ minutes.
Keys To The Match
Get Out in Front Early: The best thing about last week’s game was that the Fire didn’t waste any time. They were aggressive early and it paid off with 2 goals in 12 minutes, and set the tone for the attack the rest of the way. We know what the end result of the game was, but in this case, they shouldn’t be roty. (Being roty means being results oriented in your thinking) Good teams go up early and don’t look back, and that what the Fire need to do.
Don’t Let Atlanta Get Comfortable: Atlanta United find themselves in a strange place. They haven’t had to squad rotate yet, but they do have a quarterfinal match mid week against Philadelphia, of all teams, and an early shot at the top team in the east might be enticing enough to force some rotations in the squad. Adding to that, they’re still integrating Josef Martinez back into the squad, and he should still be on a minutes restriction.
The Fire need to take advantage of all of this by not letting the Five Stripes get into any sort of passing rhythm. They need to press high and press hard all the time, and counter press when they lose the ball. They need to get into passing lanes and disrupt runners, maybe even apply some dark arts to throw them off. If Atlanta get into a rhythm, the Fire are good as done.
How To Watch
Streaming: CFFC Live
After everything I said previously about the Fire being able to win this game, I still think there are going to be enough mental errors to cost them this game. Josef Martinez will have an impact on the result, and if he’s on the pitch at the end of the game, he’ll score the winner. 3-2 to Atlanta.