Competition: Major League Soccer – Chicago Fire vs. San Jose Earthquakes
Venue: Toyota Park – Friday, July 1 – 20:00 ET (01:00 BST)
Match Odds: Chicago 11/8 – Draw 9/4 – San Jose 2/1
The Fire have endured another frustratingly poor season so far. They sit bottom of the Eastern Conference and are nine points off the playoff places.
That said, they have played fewer games than anyone else. They have to now make the most of their games in hand if they are to challenge for a top six finish over the second half of the campaign.
Chicago come into Friday night’s game off the back of last weekend’s 4-3 defeat to Philadelphia in what was their seventh loss of the year. They are a better side at home though, having not lost any of their last three at Toyota Park, and will hope to keep that run going here.
San Jose have yet to win away from home this season. They are now winless in ten consecutive away matches in MLS and so this looks a tough one to call.
The Quakes have had a mixed season so far. They have only suffered four defeats this term but have managed to record just five wins too.
The fact is that Dominic Kinnear’s men are drawing too often. They have shared the points in four of their last five and as a result have slipped out of the top six in the West.
This will be the 15th MLS clash between the two sides. There is nothing to split them based on their previous league encounters, with each team winning five and the other four clashes ending in ties.
Chicago Fire have four injury worries coming into the game. Collin Fernandez, Matt Polster, Arturo Alvarez and Joey Calistri are all sidelined and won’t feature. The club also terminated Gilberto’s contract on Wednesday so he is no longer with the side.
San Jose boss Dominic Kinnear has a long injury list to deal with at a crucial stage of the season. Clarence Goodson is a doubt with a back problem, while as many as six are definitely ruled out: Victor Bernardez, Kip Colvey, Andres Imperiale, Jordan Stewart, Mark Sherrod and Marc Pelosi. The boost is that Chris Wondolowski is back from the Copa America and will be in line to return to the side.
Chicago Fire’s last five: L/W/D/L/L
San Jose Earthquakes’ last five: D/D/L/D/D
Key Stat: San Jose have not won any of their last ten away games in MLS.
Key Player: Chris Wondolowski – The Quakes star man is back from international duty and will now try and get San Jose back to winning ways. San Jose have not won since ‘Wondo’ has been away and so the club’s top scorer will undoubtedly bring confidence back into the team.Embed from Getty Images
Chicago Fire 1-1 San Jose Earthquakes – There is so little to choose between these two heading into Friday’s game that a draw looks inevitable. Chicago are tough to beat at home, while San Jose struggle on the road. Both are desperate for three points but that could lead to a tight affair. Score draw.