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Back to Bridgeview: Chicago Fire vs NYCFC MLS Week 26 Preview

The Fire look to bounce back at the old place

MLS: Chicago Fire at New York City FC Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

There’s been a lot of talk about the Soldier Field grass, as there is every year, but this time, it seems like a bigger deal than in the past. That’s because the Bears are on the cusp of moving to the suburbs, and one of the biggest reasons stated is so that they can play on grass that they control. And it’s also disrupted the Fire’s season.

The Fire will play tomorrow’s match at the old ball yard in Bridgeview, and maybe elect to play other home games there to end the season, so they don’t have to deal with the American Football and concert-ravaged sod. The best case scenario for them realistically is the Bears do move, and they become the major tenant of the space, and the Park District lets them control the state of the field. The field in the spring and summer isn’t even that bad for soccer, but once football season starts, things start to get bad. It’s up to the Bears and the Park District to fix this issue, and the Fire are fought in the middle. So for the time being, it’s back to Bridgeview.

Chicago Fire all-time MLS record vs NYCFC: 3W-5D-9L, 19 GF / 28 GA, 14 pts out of 51

Chicago Fire home MLS record vs NYCFC: 3W-3D-2L, 14 GF / 12 GA, 15 pts out of 24

Previously on…

Of the three top teams in the East NYCFC is the most “Getable.” They’ve lost their last three games, most recently Charlotte this past Wednesday, and Inter Miami and Columbus Crew before that. In fact, since losing Taty Castellanos after their 2-0 win over Inter Miami on July 23rd, they haven’t won a game. Those three aforementioned losses are joined by a scoreless draw with Montreal, another team the Fire are fighting for a playoff spot. The bottom seems to have dropped for the pigeons, and they look ripe for a continued downward spiral.

Suggested Lineup

If Carlos Teran can play, and he should be able to if the coaching staff is to be believed, then this is how the Fire should line up against NYCFC. Pineda slots back into the midfield for Gimenez so Teran can come back into the lineup, And everything after that should stay the same. Jairo Torres has played better every game he’s started so as long as he keeps on this upward trajectory, he should keep starting over Brian Gutierrez, but Ezra should have ahim on a short leash and not be afraid to swap if it gives the Fire a better chance to win. As for Przybylko, he’s still earned the starting roll back, for now. If he keeps getting in good spots and putting balls in the net, there’s no reason he shouldn’t be leading the line. But again, Ezra should not be afraid to make the swap to Duran.

Keys To The Match

Play at a High Tempo: The Pigeons played a game midweek, a loss to Charlotte. Even with the extra day’s rest due to a Sunday Kickoff, the Fire, who did not play during the week, should be fresher and have more energy. To take advantage. the Fire need to move the ball quickly and be decisive in attack, and press high on defense. Make NYCFC use their energy early and then cruise to victory in the late game using your athleticism off the bench to seal up a victory.

Attack Attack Attack: Ever since Taty Castellanos left the squad, NTCFC hasn’t had a lot of success going forward. The Fire can use their flaccid attack to their advantage by not having to defend that hard. They can have that extra man in attack because NYCFC are as dangerous as a puppy with the zoomies. The Fire can create more odd-man situations for NYCFC’s defense to have to defend against, making more scoring opportunities for the Fire’s forwards.

How To Watch

Television: WGN-TV

Streaming: cf97 Live/Chicago Fire App

Final Thoughts

Of the top teams in the east, NYCFC is the most gettable, especially on the road. I won’t go so far as to say this is a walk in the park,