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Cautious Optimism: Philadelphia Union vs Chicago Fire MLS week 25 preview

The Fire passed this test the first time around. Can they do it again?

MLS: Philadelphia Union at Chicago Fire Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports

It’s no secret that the 2022 Fire have been reborn in the last month. in their last 10 games, they’re 6-1-3 for a total of 21 points in to come all the way back into playoff contention. However, it must be said, the Fire has done this mostly against the lower half of the league. Their only win against a top team in that time has been against... the Philidelphia Union.

There’s some solace in that. The Fire have already slain this particular dragon once this season. But that was at home. Now they have to go into Eastern Pennsylvania and do it again. They are capable and getting even more capable as the year goes on, but now they have to do it against top-tier opposition. In MLS, you have to prove yourself week in and week out, The pressure’s on.

Chicago Fire all-time MLS record vs Philadelphia Union: 10W-7D-12L, 42 GF / 45 GA, 37 pts out of 87

Chicago Fire away MLS record vs Philadelphia Union: 2W-3D-8L, 17 GF / 25 GA, 9 pts out of 39

Previously on…

The Philadelphia Union are the best team in the league. Despite falling 3-0 to FC Cincinnati last week, they hadn't lost since their 1-0 loss to the Fire, and have outscored their opponents 18-5. They’re hot. Added to that, they have not lost at home all season.

Suggested Lineup

There’s not much to change after last week’s road win. Captain Czichos is out of the health and Safety protocol and should come back into the lineup. Mauricio Pineda is still the best center-back option they have so he stays at right CB. Kacper Przybylko played himself back into the lineup with his brace. And Jairo Torres is getting better the more he plays, so he should continue to start.

Keys To The Match

Be The Bully: The thing both Cincinnati and the Fire did well against the Union that other teams have not is the team that controls the tempo of the match. Jim Curtin’s teams want to be the protagonists. They want to be the team that drives the action forward and controls the narrative of the match,

When they don’t have that, when other teams start to exert some of their own control over the course of the game, the Union are liable to fall apart. The only two teams that have been successful at that since the international break in May were FC Cincinnati and the Chicago Fire. The Fire need to put pressure on them and get in control of the game and keep it. If they continue to lose the control battle as they have against the teams they’ve been playing, they won’t have a chance against Philly.

Continue to Put Away Chances: The Fire offense has been running in top gear for the last few games. Even in the three games, they’ve lost in their 10-game run, they’ve scored goals. This run of offensive form needs to continue, and there’s nothing to say it shouldn’t. Shaqiri Mueller and Przybylko are finally in sync with each other, and Jairo Torres is coming on nicely after his false start. Philly aren’t generally a team that gives up a lot of scoring chances, so making the most of what you get is going to be imperative for the Fire to take a point or three away from Philly.

How To Watch

Time: 6:30

Television: WGN-TV

Streaming: cf97 Live/Chicago Fire App

Final Thoughts

It’s gonna be a tough one. The Union are beatable, but it’s going to be difficult. A point will be a good result. 1-1 draw.