Competition: Major League Soccer – Chicago Fire vs. New York City FC
Venue: Toyota Park – Friday April 24th – 20:00 ET (01:00 BST)
Match Odds: Chicago 5/4 – Draw 23/10 – New York City 21/10
After starting the season with three successive losses, Frank Yallop’s men have won two in succession and look more comfortable going forward.Embed from Getty Images
Much of the improved form is down to the quality injection of attacking DP’s David Accam and Shaun Maloney as they look to be a real threat in the final third.
The Fire haven’t played an MLS game for 20 days so will be fully rested for this one, but will hope that the lack of game time hasn’t halted progression.
Chicago Fire’s 2015 MLS record: P5 – W2 – D0 – L3
New York City come into this one as the side out of form, having only managed one win all season. It is important for the expansion side to start picking up points soon, as they search for a playoff berth in their debut season.
The change of strategy by Jason Kreis for the Portland game was what was needed, as they have looked flat this season whilst playing the 4-4-2 system.Embed from Getty Images
The newly tested 4-3-3 system will allow rookie, Khiry Shelton, to use his pace as he looks set to continue on the right side of a front three.
New York City’s 2015 MLS record: P7 – W1 – D3 – L3
Much of how the team plays however relies on the fitness of star men, Mix Diskerud and David Villa, who once again remain doubts. If they both play, NYCFC tends to do well. If they don’t, it could be a long night in Chicago.
Chicago Fire will be without Mike Magee (hip) and Patrick Nyarko (knee) as both remain out injured, while Michael Stephens is a doubt with an ankle injury. Shaun Maloney is expected to play just off front man Quincy Amarikwa with David Accam and Harry Shipp on the flanks.
New York City will be without George John (knee), Tony Taylor (knee) and Jason Hernandez (calf) as all three have been ruled out, with Taylor out for the season. David Villa, Mix Diskerud, Shay Facey and Josh Williams are all doubts as Jason Kreis is struggling with a growing list of absentees. With all the injuries it looks likely that they will keep the 4-3-3 formation from the Portland loss, with Khiry Shelton playing wide and Patrick Mullins filling in as the central striker.
Chicago Fire’s last five in MLS: L/L/L/W/W
New York City’s last five in MLS: D/L/L/D/L
Key Stat: New York City have only scored more than once on one occasion this season; a home win against the New England Revolution in what is their only victory so far.Embed from Getty Images
Key Player: Harry Shipp – With one goal and three assists so far this season, Shipp has been instrumental and we expect more of the same in front of a home crowd on Friday night.
Chicago Fire 2-1 New York City FC – New York City may not have enough once again, especially without star men, and Chicago should edge this one in front of their own fans.