Tonight is Pride night at Soldier Field when the Chicago Fire takes on the Philidelphia Union at 7 PM, and the result is almost irrelevant. The game itself is probably going to be a sloppy affair full of mistakes because it’s a midweek game where the teams have 72 and 48 hours of recovery after games in truly grueling conditions.
But Pride night isn’t really about the game on the field. It’s about giving space to and recognizing the love and humanity in others regardless of who they love. . It’s about celebrating the human condition and letting people different than ourselves know that they are as valid and loved just as any other person deserves to be. Pride night is so special and important, even if you don’t identify as LGBTQ+.
Have fun tonight, and don’t forget to love each other.
Chicago Fire all-time MLS record vs Philadelphia Union: 9W-7D-12L, 41 GF / 45 GA, 34 pts out of 84
Chicago Fire home MLS record vs Philadelphia Union: 7W-4D-4L, 24 GF / 20 GA, X pts out of X
The Union are the class of the east. They’re in First Place by two points over NYCFC, who they beat on Sunday. The last time they lost was way back in April against TFC in a game that feels like ancient history. The good news for the Fire is that they’ve only won two in their last 8, so there is a point to be had if you can take it.
Shaq is off the injury report and after not playing the last few games, is back in the lineup. But If I were the manager, I’d put him on the wing. Both I and RJ, my Hot Cast cohost, agree that that’s the spot on the field where he does the most work, so you may as well start him there. Brian Gutierrez has been playing well enough to keep his spot anyway, so that’s that. The other big change is Kacper Przybylko on the bench and Chinonso Offor starting. This is a game where you need to be on top of your scoring chances and Kacper is just not doing that. Offor offers more experience than Duran, so I went with him in the lineup, but I won’t be mad if the team sheet comes out with the 18-year-old Colombian starting.
Every other change is due to either injury or rotation. Jonathan Bornstein shouldn’t play on short rest at this point in his career. And with Navarro still in COVID protocol, Reynolds is the last left-back standing. Espinoza is in for Sekulic because Boris is playing like he needs a break, and Herbers is in at the 8 because Fede is questionable, and the injury risk is too great so soon after playing 90 minutes in the Houston heat.
Keys To The Match
Play Smart, Not Hard: This game is going to be a sloppy mess. Philadelphia played less than 48 hours ago and the Fire played the day before. Neither team will be at full strength, regardless of injury status. While the weather should be perfect (low 80’s high 70’s), expect heavy tired legs and a ton of mistakes. The Fire need to do their best to position themselves where they can do the most damage with the least amount of effort. Take advantage of set pieces and corners. Use the long ball to stretch the defense, and make small quick runs instead of 30 or 40-yard marathon runs that will waste energy.
Better Movement Up Top: The thing that’s killed the Fire (aside from Finishing) is that they become static at times in the final third. They tend to look for that perfect opening instead of taking what’s given to them and manufacturing a goal chance. That’s fine when you’re Real Madrid and have enough player quality to be patient. Bu the Fire don’t have that luxury. They have to make their scoring opportunities happen even if the circumstances aren’t ideal. Make the extra run or body someone out of the way off the ball to create space. Whatever they do, they can’t waste good ball position anymore.
How To Watch
Time: 7:00 pm
Streaming: CF97 Live/CF97 app
I read on Twitter that some in the Philadelphia media are calling this a trap game for the Union. And it can be. We know that on paper, the Fire are better than their record. We also know this game is going to be bad and messy. Weeknight games on short rest usually are. The Fire have a chance.
They will not take it.
2-0 to Philadelphia.