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Problematic Fave: New England Revolution vs Chicago Fire MLS Week 27 Preview

My Favorite Fixture in my least Favorite Stadium.

New England Revolution v Chicago Fire Photo by Brian Kersey/MLS via Getty Images

I love and hate this fixture. Any time The Fire and Revs get together, it’s special. It conjures up painful and glorious memories of MLS Playoffs past. Taylor Twellman’s bike that Fire fans have never really forgiven him for. And then there was the revenge of 2008 when it was the Chicago men's soccer club that sent The Revs packing back to Boston and their early vacations. This is, as the cohost of the Hot Cast would say, “Proper Football Heritage.”

But I hate Gillette Stadium. The cavernous home of the Patriots is also home to the worst artificial turf in the league. The ball gets caught up in the plastic grass more often than it doesn’t. And oftentimes, the soccer is awkward, messy, and unappealing. This game and everyone involved from the players to the fans to the league deserve better.

Until the Revs get a new stadium, this is a problematic fave.

Chicago Fire all-time MLS record vs New England Revolution: 27W-16D-24L (0-1-4 in OT), 99 GF / 92 GA, 97 pts out of 201

Chicago Fire away MLS record vs New England Revolution: 10W-6D-17L, 34 GF / 49 GA, 36 pts out of 93

Previously on…

The Revs are in a similar spot to the Fire, form-wise. They’ve lost their last two games to the Fire’s last three, and they haven’t looked all that good in them. Their last win was just a 1-0 victory over DC United, the worst team in the league by a lot, at the start of August. They also last played on Sunday instead of Saturday, so they have 24 hours less time to recover than Chicago does.

Suggested Lineup

We don’t know what’s going on with Czichos and Shaqiri at the moment. They both came off with injuries during the last match, and as of the writing, we don’t know whether or not they’ll be available for the match. Mauricio Pineda is also listed as questionable with a foot injury that kept him out of the match last weekend. The Fire are thin at both midfield and center-back. So the obvious solution is to eliminate a position and stick the player somewhere else. And I hate back threes.

The solution, then, is to play two strikers and stick Fede in the middle as the single defensive midfielder. Duran can put pressure on the center-backs while Kacper comes in with late runs, and it would give the Fire’s creative players space to work on the turf field.

Keys To The Match

Shoot the Ball: The Fire spend too much time trying to create the perfect shot instead of testing the goalkeeper. Often times they’ll look to make the extra pass or try and dribble through players instead of shooting and getting a possible deflection, rebound, or a goal. The club as a whole needs to shoot more. I want more shots from outside the box from the front 5. I want them to take more chances and stop trying to play like Arsenal. You are not Gabriel Jesus or Gabriel Martinelli. You’re Jhon Duran and Jairo Torres. Shoot the damn ball.

Keep Focus: Despite losing 2-0 to Montreal, the Fire’s defensive performance when they were at even strength was still pretty good. Ezra Hendrickson and CHJ Brown have done a good job at building a defensive foundation and the Fire are in almost every game. They now have to work on tightening up their focus and stop making mistakes. It’s more than likely they won’t have Rafael Czichos on the field for the foreseeable future, so it’s imperative Carlos Teran proves he’s internalized the lessons he’s learned this year.

How To Watch

Time: 6:30 PM

Television: WGN-TV

Streaming: CF97 Live/Chicago Fire App

Final Thoughts

I don’t know. It could be good for the Fire to play a team struggling almost as much as them. But with the Injuries and the Fire’s lack of momentum, It’s going to be tough on the worst artificial pitch in the league. 2-2 draw.