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Forward March: Orlando City vs Chicago Fire MLS Preview

MLS: Orlando City SC at Chicago Fire Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

The Fire didn’t lose the game on the field Wednesday. I mean, obviously, they did. Games are played on the field, after all. But in reality, the game was lost in the board room. The fact of the matter is Inter Miami had better Designated Players than the Chicago Fire do, and at the end of the game, the team with Rodolfo Pizarro and Gonzalo Higuain on their roster instead of Robert Beric and Gastón Gíménez won the game.

The players can’t do anything about this. They played about as well as they could in that heat and humidity. And Saturday night, they have to go and do it again. Luckily for them, their opponent, Orlando City, don’t have DP’s the level of Miami’s and they may not even play. Nani is listed as questionable, and Alexandre Pato has a long-term injury that’s had him miss multiple months. The Fire just have to keep going and not let Wednesday be a setback.

Chicago Fire all-time MLS record vs Orlando City: 5W-5D-3L, 26 GF / 17 GA, 20 pts out of 69

Chicago Fire away MLS record vs Orlando City: 2W-3D-1L, 10 GF / 9 GA, 9 pts out of 27

Previously on…

Orlando played 4 games in August, and the Fire are their 5th game in 2 weeks. The results of their heavy schedule this month has meant that they’ve gone winless with three 1-1 draws with a loss in the Leagues Cup against Santos Laguna in the middle of all of that. Their last win came on July 30th against Atlanta United following their 5-0 loss to NYCFC on the 25th.

Suggested Lineup

It’s time to put Luka up top and stop relying on him to both attack and defend when he’s exponentially better at one over the other. Álvaro Medrán’s return from being in the Health and Safety protocol should help make that decision easier along with Ignacio Aliseda’s continued shin issue. If Terán can go, he should be in the lineup although I feel a little better after seeing Wyatt Omsberg perform well in relief. There’s no way either Bornstein or Herbers should be able to go a full 90 after the last two games, so Brian Gutierrez and Miguel Navarro should both re-enter the starting lineup to give them a break, but they should be ready to come off the bench if needed; especially Herbers, who’s been fantastic recently. Sekulic should also come back in to complete this very attacking lineup, which you need when chasing a playoff spot.

Keys To The Match

Transition Defense: The most dangerous Inter Miami ever got on Wednesday was when they were able to move quickly from defense to attack. Aside from that, they were fairly subdued. The Fire need to concentrate on not being caught upfield, no matter how much time they spend on the attack. The wing-backs need to understand when to go forward and when to stay back, especially if Nani (who is listed as questionable) is ready to go. Controlling him and US wunderkind Daryl Dike needs to be of the utmost priority if the Fire wants to get out of Theme Park, USA with 3 points and a giant turkey leg.

Keep the Ball: It’s going to be another hot humid early evening in Florida on Saturday, and the team that can let the ball do the work more is going to win the game. Inter Miami won both the possession and passing accuracy battles and as a consequence, they had more gas in the tank at the end of the game that, alongside more firepower, let them take the lead in stoppage time. If they want to win the game, the Fire have to be the team to wear out their opponent with passing and possession.

Find a Goal: I love everything Luka Stojanovic is doing at the moment, and he’s been a godsend as far as putting the ball in the back of the net goes. However, someone else needs to step up and put the biscuit in the basket. I and most of the fanbase have written off Robert Beric at this point. He’s been anemic at best and a liability at worst this season, and any minutes he gets should be toward the end of the game to see if he can take advantage of fatigued players. Chinonso Offor, despite having some good moments, is still developing both in his game and physically and isn’t quite up to the responsibility. Be it Medrán or Aliseda when healthy, it’s time for someone to step up.

How To Watch

Television: WGN- TV

Streaming: CFFC Live/ ESPN+ Out of Market

Final Thoughts

If the Fire do all the things they need to do, there’s no reason they can’t repeat the result from earlier in the year. They probably won’t win by 2 goals though. 2-1 Good guys.