Competition: Major League Soccer – Chicago Fire vs Vancouver Whitecaps
Venue: Toyota Park – Saturday, March 14 – 18:00 ET (22:00 GMT)
Match Odds: Chicago Fire 5/4 – Draw 23/10 – Vancouver Whitecaps 11/5
Chicago travelled to Los Angeles to take on the Galaxy in the season opener last Friday but fell 2-0 in a flat performance. The Fire have made numerous changes to the squad this offseason and they looked like a team that didn’t quite know each other yet in that loss.
Vancouver started brightly as they took the lead against Toronto FC on Saturday night but they went on to lose the game 3-1 and will be desperately disappointed by that. A trip to Chicago gives them a chance to get their first points of the season on the board and they will be hoping for a better result than last time out.
Chicago go into the game as favourites, which may be a surprise to some, but they are unbeaten in ten home games in MLS while Vancouver have failed to win 11 of their last 12 on the road.
This will be just the sixth MLS meeting between the two sides and Chicago can take confidence from the fact that the Whitecaps have never won at Toyota Park in the three previous matches.
Vancouver have not even scored a goal in Chicago and so history is not exactly on their side going into this one. The only game between the two last year ended in a 0-0 draw at Toyota Park and we’ll be hoping for a bit more entertainment this time around.
Both sides will want to record their first victory of the season and will need to respond to opening weekend defeats so another scoreless draw wouldn’t do either side any favours.
Mike Magee remains out for Chicago as he recovers from hip surgery while Patrick Nyarko joins him on the long-term injury list and will also miss this one. New DP David Accam did not play last week and he’s a doubt for this one too. Another new DP, Kennedy Igboananike went off injured last week but should start up top with Quincy Amarikwa. Adailton is in line to start at centre-back alongside Jeff Larentowicz.
Vancouver will be without midfielder Andre Lewis, who is suffering with a sprained ACL. Head coach Carl Robinson doesn’t have any other injury concerns and might go with the same lineup that started against Toronto last week. Octavio Rivero scored on his debut up front and will lead the attack again.
Chicago Fire’s form: L
Vancouver Whitecaps’ form: L
Key Stat: Chicago Fire won 23 of their 36 points at home last season and will hope they can be as good at Toyota Park this campaign.
Key Player: Octavio Rivero – Vancouver’s new DP striker got off to the perfect start as he slotted in the team’s first goal of the 2015 season but also missed a sitter later on in the game. Expect him to be a real threat on Saturday though.
Chicago Fire 1-1 Vancouver Whitecaps – Neither team will want to start the season with back-to-back defeats and that could lead to a nervy game. Both team’s looked vulnerable in defence last weekend so goals can be expected but this looks likely to end as a draw.