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What Is There To Play For?: Chicago Fire vs Inter Miami MLS Week 30 Preview

It’s time to start evaluating for next year.

MLS: Chicago Fire at Inter Miami CF Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Fire are all but out of the playoff race. They do still have a long-shot chance to get there, but that involves so much playoff math that it’s not even worth the bother to do it at this point. So what do you do as a fan and observer now? What are we looking for?

For me, It’s all about individual effort. I have a lot of questions about who should and should not be kept for next year’s roster and down the stretch is a good time to do some evaluating. Because there’s still a nominal playoff chance, it’s a good time to see how guys deal with pressure-packed situations. How they fight every minute on the pitch will matter to me in terms of having them on the roster next season.

Granted, this is not how the coaching staff should look at this at all. There are games to win, and to the club that’s more important. They can do evaluations at the end of the year. The team on the field should concentrate on doing what they can to win games, that way we all get what we want.

Chicago Fire all-time MLS record vs Inter Miami: 1W-1D-1L, 3 GF / 3 GA, 4 pts out of 9

Chicago Fire home MLS record vs Inter Miami: 1W-0D-0L, 1 GF / 0 GA, 3 pts out of 3

Previously on…

Miami have had an up-and-down month of August. They’re 3-1-2 in their 6 games in the month, losing their last 2 after going unbeaten in their first 4 games. Their best win came from their 3-2 home win vs NYCFC and the worse loss of the two was their 3-1 loss to Red Bull in New Jersey, where Alejandro Pozuelo got sent off. But that was two games ago, so he should be back in the lineup. What’s more worrying for Inter is the status of Gonzalo Higuain and Deandre Yedlin, who as of now are both listed as questionable. If they play, it will be a more difficult game for the Fire than if they don’t.

Suggested Lineup

It’s a very long injury list for the Fire. But for the sake of our collective sanity, let's assume that everyone who is listed as questionable is available to start. And even then, I still wouldn’t start Shaqiri. He’s been frighteningly ineffective for a while now and his brain is either elsewhere or he’s more hurt than he’s letting on. So because of that, Brina Gutierrez should continue to start either in the middle or on the right with Torres in the middle instead. Everything else is stock standard with Duran up top as the more dangerous threat due to his ability to stretch defenses over the top.

Keys To The Match

Keep the Ball: The Fire’s downfall over the last 5 games has been their inability to keep possession for long periods of time. Whether it’s a misplaced pass or an unsuccessful quick attack the Fire have been killed by quick counters and loss of control of the game. That has to change. The double pivot has to do a better job of keeping possession and controlling the tempo. They need to make better passing decisions, full stop. Turnovers in the middle of the park are killing this team, and if they want to have a hope and a prayer of doing anything in their last 5 games,

Shut Down Higuain: Assuming he plays, Gonzalo Higuain is the most dangerous player on the team for the Fire, and it’s imperative that the Fire center-backs stop him. Don’t give him space to work or time on the ball to shoot. Let someone else beat you. Miami’s second-best attacking option, Alejandro Pozuelo, has already been shut down by the Fire defense this season, so the Fire know how to properly defend him. If Miami’s victory is dependent on goals from the likes of Bryce Duke and Gregore, the Fire are in a good place.

How To Watch

Time: 7:00 PM

Television: WGN-TV

Streaming: CF97 Live/ Chicago Fire App

Final Thoughts

The Fire are better than Miami. They’re at home. They should win this one easily. 3-1.