Toronto FC vs Chicago Fire | 2018 MLS Preview and Prediction

Major League Soccer: Toronto FC vs Chicago Fire

BMO Field – Saturday, April 28 2018 – 15:00 ET (20:00 BST)

UK TV Coverage: Live on Sky Sports Football (via Red Button)

Toronto FC vs Chicago Fire: Preview

Toronto FC return to MLS action against Chicago Fire on Saturday afternoon after their heartbreaking penalty defeat to Chivas in the 2018 CONCACAF Champions League Final on Wednesday. Gregg Vanney’s men fought incredible well but ultimately came up short. The competition has taken a lot out of the team, so Chicago will fancy their chances of picking up points.

Mexican sides continue to dominate the CCL, with Chivas lifting the trophy at Toronto’s expense this time around. The reigning MLS Cup champions can hold their heads high for their performances in the competition, but ultimately they returned empty handed.

The challenge will now be to ignite their MLS campaign, after losing four of their opening five games. Those losses have come as a result of focusing on the CCL games, but Toronto sit rock bottom in the Eastern Conference as a result. All four losses have also come directly after CCL fixtures, so fatigue will be a major concern for the home side here.

Chicago Fire arrive in high spirits after picking up a surprise 2-1 win at New York Red Bulls last weekend. Chicago goalkeeper Richard Sanchez came up big, making nine saves to help his side to three big road points. The Fire have picked up seven points from six games but know they are capable of better.

The worry for the visiting side is they’ve lost six consecutive MLS games against Toronto, stretching back three years. Saturday’s game does, however, represent an excellent chance to capitalise on a beaten Toronto side, who are expected to have key players missing.

This will be the 27th MLS meeting between the Eastern Conference sides. They have each won nine of the previous 26 games, with eight matches ending level. Toronto won both games 3-1 last season.

Toronto FC vs Chicago Fire: Team News

Toronto FC

❌ Suspensions: None.

❓ Doubts: Victor Vazquez (back spasms), Chris Mavinga (abdominal discomfort), Gregory van der Wiel (Achilles), Jozy Altidore (foot), Justin Morrow (calf strain), Drew Moor (undisclosed).

🚑 Out: Nick Hagglund (hamstring).

Chicago Fire

❌ Suspensions: None.

❓ Doubts: None.

🚑 Out: Jorge Corrales (infection), Michael de Leeuw (left ACL), Djorjde Mihailovic (right ACL), Matt Polster (right MCL), Luis Solignac (left quad).

Toronto FC vs Chicago Fire: Key Stats

Toronto FC’s MLS form: L/L/W/L/L

Chicago Fire’s MLS form: L/D/W/L/W

Key stat: Toronto FC have lost all four of their MLS games directly after playing in the CONCACAF Champions League this season, getting outscored 10-1 in those games.

Toronto FC vs Chicago Fire: Prediction

Toronto FC 2-2 Chicago Fire: There are usually goals when these two sides meet. Both sides have scored in nine of their last 10 MLS meetings and that should be the case again here. Toronto need to rally after their midweek CCL loss but they will be drained mentally and physically. Chicago will be looking to replicate their game plan that worked so well at Red Bull Arena last weekend. They will sit deep and look to hit the hosts on the counter. Score draw.

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Five MLS clubs set to battle for signing of former Liverpool and Chelsea star – report

Five Major League Soccer teams are set to fight for the signing of Spanish striker Fernando Torres this summer, according to Marca. The 34-year-old forward will be a free agent once his contract with Atletico Madrid comes to an end in June, leaving the former Liverpool and Chelsea star free to negotiate what will surely be the final move of his career.

Torres has been linked with a move to the Chinese Super League but it’s understood he is not keen on making the move to Asia. He rejected the chance to join CSL side Dalian Yifang in February and would reportedly prefer a move to the United States.

With no La Liga sides making Torres an offer at this point, and just a month left of the season in Spain, Torres is looking to MLS. The five clubs who are reportedly interested in bringing him to the league are Chicago Fire, Montreal Impact, New York City FC, Seattle Sounders and Sporting Kansas City.

A move to NYCFC would allow Torres to link up with former international teammate and good friend David Villa. The pair fired Spain to Euro 2008 glory as well as the 2010 World Cup title. New York City FC do not currently have a Designated Player slot free though, so Torres would need to accept being a TAM signing to move to the Big Apple.

Chicago and Montreal are the only sides of the five linked that have a DP slot available. It’s not certain that Torres would need to fill a DP slot, particularly at 34 years of age. But it will certainly help negotiations having that option.

The Fire are a particularly interesting option, given the fact that Torres played with Chicago head coach Veljko Paunovic during his first spell at Atletico Madrid. The pair spent two seasons together in 2003/04 and 2004/05.

On top of that, Chicago own the discovery rights to Fernando Torres if he does indeed move to MLS, according to league sources. The Fire have opened the 2018 season with just four points from their opening five games. They’ve scored seven goals but could undoubtedly benefit from partnering Torres with 2017 Golden Boot winner Nemanja Nikolic up front.

Chicago Fire vs LA Galaxy | 2018 MLS Preview and Prediction

Major League Soccer: Chicago Fire vs LA Galaxy

Toyota Park – Saturday, April 14th 2018 – 15:30 ET (20:30 BST)

UK TV Coverage: Live on Sky Sports Football

Chicago Fire vs LA Galaxy: Preview

Saturday afternoon sees Chicago Fire welcome LA Galaxy to Toyota Park. There is plenty of interest in this one, with Bastian Schweinsteiger facing off against former Manchester United teammate Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

The home side have picked up after a disappointing start to the 2018 season. Their back-to-back losses have been followed up with a draw and their first win of the campaign.

That 1-0 win came against Crew SC in a hard fought game. It’s not going to be an easy afternoon for Chicago this weekend, as their squad is still riddled with injuries. Much of the same fighting spirit from last weekend is going to be needed.

LA Galaxy are looking to get back to winning ways. They come into this one having lost 2-0 at home against Sporting KC. Despite that loss they still sit third in the Western Conference. It was a tough one to take given how many chance Galaxy created.

Cameras will once again be on Ibrahimovic, who is heading back to fitness and hoping for more involvement here. Both of his appearances have been off the bench, but whether he is ready to start from the off remains to be seen.

There are some questions surrounding The Galaxy defence, who have conceded five goals in their last two games. Given their recent form on the road they cannot afford to give Chicago easy chances.

Chicago Fire vs LA Galaxy: Team News

Chicago Fire

❌ Suspensions: None.

❓ Doubts: Mo Adams (left elbow), Jonathan Campbell (facial fracture) and Kevin Ellis (undisclosed).

🚑 Out: Djordje Mihailovic (right ACL surgery), Michael de Leeuw (left ACL surgery), Jorge Corrales (infection), Matt Polster (MCL sprain) and Luis Solignac (left quad).

LA Galaxy

❌ Suspensions: None.

❓ Doubts: Giovani dos Santos (hamstring) and Michael Ciani (groin).

🚑 Out: Bradford Jamieson IV (concussion).

Chicago Fire vs LA Galaxy: Key Stats

Chicago Fire’s MLS form: L/L/D/W

LA Galaxy’s MLS form: W/L/D/W/L

Key stat: Homesick – LA Galaxy haven’t won the road in their last 11 attempts.

Chicago Fire vs LA Galaxy: Prediction

Chicago Fire 2-2 LA Galaxy – The Fire look like they’re waking up after that sluggish start and are ready to climb the Eastern Conference. There is ground to make up – so a win here would be a more than welcomed result. LA Galaxy are still looking good in the West despite a couple of shaky results. It’s important that they can end a winless run on the road but a score draw looks a more likely outcome this weekend.

Chicago Fire vs Portland Timbers | 2018 MLS Preview and Prediction

Major League Soccer: Chicago Fire vs Portland Timbers

Toyota Park – Saturday, March 31st 2018 – 18:00 ET (23:00 BST)

UK TV Coverage: Live on Sky Sports Football

Chicago Fire vs Portland Timbers: Preview

Chicago Fire take on the Portland Timbers on Saturday evening, with both sides still looking for their first win of the 2018 season. Chicago have opened the season with back-to-back losses, while Portland have taken just one point from a possible nine.

The Fire have only played two games but the early signs are worrying. They fell 2-1 at Minnesota United last weekend but lost a crazy game at home to Sporting KC 4-3 in Week 2 to open their campaign. That result was the more concerning, given the fact they looked so poor defensively and that they came from 2-0 down to lead 3-2 with seven minutes left before caving in.

Head coach Veljko Paunovic does have a number of injuries to deal with, which isn’t helping the Fire’s cause. But the concern is that they are in danger of falling a long way behind in a competitive Eastern Conference before they can get their season going.

Portland entered last week’s game at FC Dallas in the same position Chicago are in now, with two losses from two outings. However, they bounced back from a 4-0 drubbing at the Red Bulls by coming from behind to earn a valuable point at Dallas. Sebastian Blanco’s fine strike ensured Giovanni Savarese picked up his first point as an MLS head coach and he’ll now be looking to build on that.

The Timbers are preparing for the fourth of five-straight away games to open the 2018 season. They would love to get a win here, taking their points tally to four from four games. However, they haven’t won any of their last six away games in MLS.

This will be the ninth clash between the two sides and Chicago are still looking for their first win over Portland. The Timbers have won four of the previous eight games, with four ending all square. Their last two meetings have ended level, including last season’s entertaining 2-2 draw at Providence Park.

Chicago Fire vs Portland Timbers: Team News

Chicago Fire

❌ Suspensions: None.

❓ Doubts: Grant Lillard (knee)

🚑 Out: Matt Polster (knee), Djordje Mihailovic (knee), Michael de Leeuw (knee), Jonathan Campbell (facial fracture), Jorge Corrales (infection).

Portland Timbers

❌ Suspensions: Lawrence Olum (red card)

❓ Doubts: Jeff Attinella (right thigh)

🚑 Out: Vytas (right thigh), Roy Miller (left Achilles).

Chicago Fire vs Portland Timbers: Key Stats

Chicago Fire’s MLS form: L/L

Portland Timbers’ MLS form: L/L/D

Key stat: Chicago Fire have scored in a club-record 33 consecutive MLS home matches. In that time, they’ve posted an 18-5-10 record.

Chicago Fire vs Portland Timbers: Prediction

Chicago Fire 2-2 Portland Timbers: The past two games between these two have ended all level and that looks likely to be the outcome on Saturday evening too. The Fire will be desperate to get at least a point on the board but know they have defensive problems to address. Portland, meanwhile, will be looking to build on last week’s result at Dallas. Both sides have issues to address but that should lead to an open and entertaining clash.

Chicago Fire vs Sporting Kansas City | 2018 MLS Match Preview and Prediction

Major League Soccer: Chicago Fire vs Sporting Kansas City

Toyota Park – Saturday, March 10th 2018 – 18:00 ET (23:00 GMT)

Chicago Fire vs Sporting Kansas City: Preview

MLS is back for Chicago Fire after their week one bye. They start their 2018 campaign by welcoming Sporting Kansas City to Toyota Park.

After an impressive 2017 regular season, where they finished up third in the Eastern Conference, Chicago Fire fell at the first hurdle in the playoffs.

This season Veljko Paunović will be hoping to take his side into the playoffs again and reach the latter stages of the postseason competition. He has strengthened his squad in the hope of continuing to head his side in the right direction.

Sporting Kansas City didn’t start their 2018 campaign in the fashion they would have wanted to. They lost 2-0 to NYCFC in a surprising home defeat. Now they have to bounce back.

However, Sporting KC struggled on the road in their last eight games of 2017. They failed to pick up a win in any of those ties. The last time they made the trip to Bridgeview (2016) they lost 1-0, so the SKC faithful will be hoping history doesn’t repeat itself.

The pressure will ramp up on Peter Vermes and his side if they fail to take a positive result this weekend. They are at the foot of the Western Conference after week one and could potentially find themselves four points adrift of the playoffs if they lose this game.

Chicago Fire vs Sporting Kansas City: Team News

Chicago Fire

❌ Suspensions: None

❓ Doubts: None

🚑 Out: Djordje Mihailovic (right ACL surgery), Michael de Leeuw (left ACL surgery) and Jonathan Campbell (facial fracture)

(Take a look at all Chicago Fire’s key transfer business this winter by clicking the image above)

Sporting Kansas City

❌ Suspensions: None

❓ Doubts:  Brad Evans (lower back) and Khiry Shelton (leg bruise)

🚑 Out: None

Chicago Fire vs Sporting Kansas City: Key Stats

Chicago Fire’s MLS form: N/A

Sporting Kansas City’s MLS form: L

Key stat: Homesick – Sporting KC have not won any of their last eight MLS outings on the road.

Chicago Fire vs Sporting Kansas City: Prediction

Chicago Fire 1-1 Sporting Kansas City – Given that it is Chicago’s opening game there is going to be a buzz around Toyota Park, so the expectancy for them to deliver will be high. Sporting KC need to pick up a point at the very least here but that is by no means going to be an easy task. A draw looks a likely outcome for this one.

2018 Key Transfers: Chicago Fire

As the 2018 MLS season closes in, we will run through the key additions and losses for all 23 teams over the course of the winter transfer window. There have been a number of key signings and significant trades which should ensure the new season is as exciting as ever before. Today we look at all Chicago Fire’s key transfers and what it could mean for them in their 2018 MLS campaign…

Chicago Fire were impressive during the 2017 season. Finishing in the top three was a major improvement on the previous year, although they did fall short at the first hurdle in the playoffs. Now it is time for Veljko Paunović’s side to kick on and see if they can reach the playoffs for the second season on the bounce. There have been some high profile departures from the squad with as many as 13 shown the exit door. The Fire have added five new faces so far but it would be a surprise to see their business stop there…

Key signings

Grant Lillard: Tipped as one of the best college soccer players over the last four years, Grant Lillard is an exciting prospect for Chicago. The 6-foot-4 central defender is rated highly by General Manager Nelson Rodriguez who feels he can become a dominant player. Lillard featured in an Indiana University side that conceded just seven goals in 25 games, so it is clear he has the potential to be a future star. While he may not be expected to be a regular starter in his rookie season, he will no doubt be utilised and coming up against some of the best attacking sides in MLS is only going to help him improve his qualities.

Rafael Ramos: Another defender with the potential to make an impact for Chicago. Rafael Ramos is a name familiar to MLS having been at Orlando City since their introduction to the league back in 2015. He’s made 37 appearances in his MLS career so far and at just 23 there is plenty of time for him to become a regular feature of the Fire backline. Providing healthy competition for Matt Polster will be beneficial to improving Chicago’s squad depth.

Jon Bakero: When talking about having a name to live up to, there might not be a huge amount of people who can tell you much about Jon Bakero. He is the son of former Spanish international and Barcelona attacking midfielder Jose Mari Bakero. The 21-year-old is looking to follow in the footsteps of his father and make a name for himself, and while he has not yet played in Europe, his inception into MLS has an impressive back story. He was awarded with the Hermann Trophy as the NCAA’s top player for 2017 and the Class Award during his senior college year. His commitment to college soccer has shown his desire to succeed and signing through the SuperDraft is a clear indication of his efforts paying off. Bakero is going to be one to keep an eye on…

Aleksander Katai: The Serbian has come in on loan from Deportivo Alaves. As a versatile option in either attacking midfield or on the wing he is seen as a positive addition to the Chicago squad and someone who can help fill the void left by recent departures.

Notable Departures 

John Goossens: The loss of John Goossens might not come as too much of a surprise for many, however he will be a player Chicago will miss having in the squad – highlighted by the number of times he featured for the Fire last season. The midfielder made 24 appearances in the 2017 campaign, starting 15. He was an important member of the squad who surprisingly was their second-highest assist provider with four, while he added three more goals himself.

Joao Meira: Chicago’s top four appearances makers were defenders and Joao Meira was one of them. A fundamental part of their backline, he started 27 of his 30 games in 2017 but is now a free agent. After 58 appearances with Chicago during his two seasons with the club he signed a contract with Lorca FC in the Spanish Segunda, although his contract has since been terminated after the side failed to meet their previously agreed terms, leaving him in limbo.

David Accam: The biggest departure from Chicago has to be David Accam – their top scorer in the 2017 campaign. The winger, who as we all know has blistering pace and the ability to create something from nothing, has moved on to Eastern Conference rivals Philadelphia Union. He will be a huge miss for the Chicago starting XI and is yet to be replaced with a like-for-like attacker in terms of quality and experience.

Arturo Alvarez: Another Chicago player who has left the club after two seasons is Arturo Alvarez. He has been traded to Houston Dynamo after featuring 25 times during the 2017 campaign. Alvarez netted three goals and provided a further two assists last season but struggled to be selected on a consistent basis having started just 13 games. Despite all that, he was a frequently used squad player who Chicago will be looking to replace with like-for-like experience given that he is about to begin his 15th MLS campaign.

Can Chicago Fire lure Bundesliga winger Jakub Błaszczykowski to MLS?

For many of the teams who haven’t participated in the latter stages of the MLS Cup Playoffs, the winter transfer speculation is already in full swing, as fans begin to wonder which trades will be made ahead of the 2018 campaign. Following Chicago Fire’s 4-0 Knockout Round defeat against New York Red Bulls at the end of October, they have already begun making enquiries about potential signings.

Chicago Fire concluded the regular season with a respectable third position in the Eastern Conference table, but despite also being the third-highest scoring team in MLS, their goal difference numbers took a hammering due to a leaky defence. Strengthening at the back will be a priority if the team is to push further for honours next year, but management are also looking at bringing in key attacking players.

One such attacking option is winger Jakub Błaszczykowski, with rumours initially surfacing in July and seemingly gathering pace. In November, there was further speculation in his home country, with the Polish international reportedly pondering his future options. Although one move apparently being considered is a return to his former club, Wisła Kraków, there appears to be a growing belief he is seriously considering Chicago Fire as his next destination; partly due to having family already living in the Windy City.

Embed from Getty Images

However, such a move by Chicago Fire won’t be without inevitable difficulties. Błaszczykowski still has two years on his contract with current club, Wolfsburg, who have struggled to build any momentum in the Bundesliga so far this season. With more draws than either wins or defeats this term and sitting uncomfortably in mid-table, Bundesliga betting odds at 66/1 for a top-six finish have lengthened considerably, compared to the start of the campaign.

Wolfsburg could demand a transfer fee to release the 31-year-old from his contract, but after signing German midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger in March of 2017 from Manchester United, and with an option to extend his stay for another year, Chicago Fire have already shown they’re not afraid of splashing out on important signings. Błaszczykowski would undoubtedly be another important capture, if they can push it across the finishing line.

Something that could aid Chicago Fire in their pursuit of the Polish player, is his lack of action during the current Bundesliga campaign. Błaszczykowski has slipped down the Wolfsburg pecking order this season and also struggled with some injuries, making just five starts and two substitute appearances in the Bundesliga, plus two further appearances in the DFB Pokal. This is possibly a key factor contributing to the player pondering his future elsewhere.

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Undoubtedly the biggest hurdle facing the MLS club might be a desire to get a quick decision from the player. Ideally, they would want to have a move for Błaszczykowski done and dusted in the European winter transfer window, making him available for their 2018 preseason plans. Still a regular international with the Polish national team, their participation in the 2018 World Cup in Russia next summer could prove to be the deciding factor, at least in the mind of the player himself. He might feel his possibilities of featuring at the World Cup could be hampered, were he to accept an immediate offer from Chicago Fire, rather than stay in Europe and fight for his place at Wolfsburg for the remainder of the 2017/18 season. Much convincing and cajoling will be required on the part of the MLS club, if they’re to get their man any time soon. Otherwise, the speculation surrounding the future of Błaszczykowski looks set to continue for at least another couple of months.

MLS Playoffs Preview and Prediction: Chicago Fire vs New York Red Bulls

2017 MLS Cup Playoffs – Knockout Round: Chicago Fire vs New York Red Bulls

Toyota Park – Wednesday, October 25 – 20:30 ET (01:30 BST)

Match Odds: Chicago Fire 21/10 – Draw 5/2 – NY Red Bulls 23/10

Chicago Fire vs New York Red Bulls: Preview

The 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs are here. It all kicks off with the Chicago Fire hosting the New York Red Bulls in the first of four midweek Knockout Round games.

Both teams have reason for optimism heading into Wednesday’s game but only one side will remain in the playoffs come the end of play. This is expected to be the tightest of the four Knockout Round games, as the below projections highlight.

Chicago Fire deserve enormous praise for even reaching the postseason, let alone earning home-field advantage. They haven’t played a postseason game since 2012 and so you can expect a special atmosphere at Toyota Park.

Most the focus in the build-up to the game will be on Dax McCarty. The midfielder joined the Fire from the Red Bulls before the start of the campaign and will now be looking to get past his former side for a place in the Conference Semifinals.

Embed from Getty ImagesThey have the 2017 Golden Boot winner in Nemanja Nikolic. The Serbian striker netted 24 goals and played every single regular season game in his debut season. A strong showing in the playoffs would give the Fire a great chance at success.

The worry for the home side is that their form has been anything but solid heading into the playoffs. They’ve posted a 3-2-1 record over their last six and lost 3-0 at Houston on the final day of the regular season. But their strong home form still makes them narrow favourites here.

The New York Red Bulls had been stuck in sixth place for what seemed like an eternity. They didn’t lock down a playoff spot as soon as they’d have hoped. But challenges from rivals faded and they’ve been able to prepare for the postseason for a couple of weeks.

Embed from Getty ImagesJesse Marsch’s men ended the regular season with a 2-1 win at DC United. They have only lost one of their last five and will arrive at Chicago looking to keep it tight and hit them on the break.

These two sides met twice during the regular season. The Red Bulls won 2-1 at Red Bull Arena early on in the season, before they drew 1-1 at Toyota Park in early September.

Chicago Fire vs New York Red Bulls: Team News

The big question mark heading into Wednesday’s game is the fitness of Bastian Schweinsteiger. He hasn’t started a game in almost two months but is officially listed as ‘questionable’. The Fire will definitely be without Jorge Bava, John Goossens, Daniel Johnson, Christian Dean and Michael De Leeuw.

The Red Bulls have four players ruled out for Wednesday’s game. Gideon Baah, Mike Grella, Connor Lade and Aurelien Collin are all sidelined through injury.

Chicago Fire vs New York Red Bulls: Key Points

Chicago Fire’s last five: L/W/D/W/L

New York Red Bulls’ last five: D/L/W/D/W

Key Stat: Chicago only lost two of their 17 home games during the regular season. They outscored their opponents 44-14 in that time.

Key Player: Dax McCarty – The combative midfielder will be the centre of attention on Wednesday night. His job will be to disrupt his former teammate Sacha Kljestan from controlling the game. If he succeeds, it’s more than likely that Chicago will advance.

Embed from Getty ImagesChicago Fire vs New York Red Bulls: Prediction

Chicago Fire 1-2* (AET) New York Red Bulls – This should be the closest of all four Knockout Round games. The Fire are a force at home and will be relishing the prospect of a playoff game for the first time in five years. But the Red Bulls are experienced at this level and know how to get the job done. This looks poised to go beyond 90 minutes but we see the Red Bulls as the more likely to advance, with this one looking like it could go all the to penalties.

Eastern Conference Predictions: MLS Week 32 – Playoff ranking battle continues

Eastern Conference Predictions: MLS Week 32 – With just two games remaining, the Eastern Conference top six has already been confirmed. Toronto FC have been crowned Supporters’ Shield champions, but there is still plenty for the rest of the top six to fight for ahead of the postseason.

The five Eastern Conference fixtures will kickoff at the same time on Sunday evening at 17:00 ET (22:00 BST). You’d be mistaken to think any of the teams in action will take it easy just because they have already secured a playoff spot. The battle for a second-placed finish goes on to secure a Knockout Round bye. Read on for all of this weekend’s Eastern Conference predictions: MLS week 32 is going to be an exciting one…

Toronto 3-1 Montreal Impact

The buzz around Toronto continues after being crowned Supporters’ Shield champions, but there is no time to take their foot off the gas. Montreal Impact have missed out on the playoffs in what has been an underwhelming season. The home side could be boosted with the return of Sebastian Giovinco, they’ll need him fit and inform if they’re to go the distance in the playoffs. Expect a TFC win.

Orlando City 2-2 Columbus Crew

Orlando’s 2017 campaign hasn’t been one to remember. Although they have missed out on the playoffs, this should be a special occasion. Kaka, who has been their captain since their inception to MLS, announced he will be leaving the club at the end of the season. This will be his final game. The Lions’ faithful will be holding out for him to sign off in style and make it a memorable ending. Columbus Crew will have no time for sentiment however, they’ll be looking to finish the season strongly as the playoffs loom.

New York Red Bulls 1-1 Atlanta United

This is possibly one of the most important fixtures in the Eastern Conference this weekend. Atlanta can still finish second. They trail NYCFC by three points with two games remaining. They’ll be hoping to secure second place to get the reward of a bye in what has been an incredible debut season. NYCFC will be holding out for their rivals to do them a favour. It was a healthy win last time out for Red Bulls. They look likely to finish 6th in the conference, but that won’t be a concern to them, with a playoff place secured.

New England Revolution 1-3 New York City

As mentioned, New York City are sitting second in the East. The Knockout Round bye is theirs to lose as things stand. This is New England’s last home game of the 2017 season. It hasn’t exactly been what the doctor ordered for the Revs faithful. They need to give their fans something to be cheerful of to sign off 2017 as their countdown to next season beings early. In all honesty, NYCFC should be looking to take three points here and likely confirm second place.

Chicago Fire 2-1 Philadelphia Union

Who would have thought this time last season Chicago would be in the playoffs a year later? The Fire have been impressive in 2017 and have rightfully booked their place in the postseason. Philadelphia have nothing left to play for other than pride. If it’s any conciliation to their fans, they can’t finish bottom of the East, as DC United have got that locked down. We predict Chicago to make it three games without a loss and pick up another home win.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Montreal Impact vs Chicago Fire

Major League Soccer: Montreal Impact vs Chicago Fire

Stade Saputo – Wednesday August 16 – 19:30 ET (00:30 BST)

Match Odds: Montreal 6/5 – Draw 12/5 – Chicago 2/1

Montreal Impact vs Chicago Fire: Preview

Montreal Impact take on Chicago Fire on Wednesday night as Week 24 kicks off with a midweek matchup. The Impact come into the game high in confidence, after winning 3-0 at Philadelphia on Saturday.

That result moved the Impact up to seventh in the East and five points behind Atlanta in the final playoff spot. Montreal have won three of their last five MLS games and have picked up form at the perfect time.

Mauro Biello’s side weren’t expected to make the top six after an underwhelming season. But their recent performances will have lifted the mood around the club. Ignacio Piatti and Blerim Dzemaili have been standout performers and could yet lead the Canadian side into their third-straight playoffs.

Chicago Fire were having an incredible season. But a recent dip in form has seen their hopes of winning a first Supporters’ Shield since 2003 fade. Saturday’s 3-1 loss at the Columbus Crew was their third in their last four games.

The Fire still have 11 games to play but they are six points behind Toronto FC coming into Wednesday’s match.

A win in Montreal would put them straight back into contention and would see them move back into second, ahead of NYCFC. But a loss would put their credentials into serious jeopardy. The likes of the Red Bulls, Columbus and Atlanta are all close behind, so Chicago can’t afford many slip-ups.

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Veljko Paunovic’s men haven’t kept a clean sheet in five outings. But Chicago know that they still have the tools to hurt any team. They won 3-0 at Montreal last season and a repeat result would settle any nerves starting to creep in.

The reverse fixture this season ended 2-2 a Toyota Park back in April. Both sides had a man sent off on that day, and both scored in stoppage time in a dramatic clash. Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla looked to have won it for the Impact in the 90th minute. But Luis Solignac ensured the points would be shared as he equalised in the 93rd minute.

Montreal Impact vs Chicago Fire: Team News

Ambroise Oyongo is still Montreal’s only injury absentee. Mauro Biello would probably like to name an unchanged side but he does have Saturday’s game against Real Salt Lake to consider as well.

Chicago Fire boss still has four players sidelined through injury. John Goossens, Jorge Bava, Brandon Vincent and Daniel Johnson are all out. Michael Harrington is a doubt as he’s been struggling with illness. Juninho has recovered from a knee injury and should be in line to start.

Montreal Impact vs Chicago Fire: Key Points

Montreal Impact’s last five: W/L/L/W/W

Chicago Fire’s last five: D/L/L/W/L

Key Stat: Montreal Impact have won five of their last six home matches in MLS. They’ve outscored their opponents 12-5 in that time.

Key Player: Ignacio Piatti – The fact is, Montreal are a better side when Piatti is in the team. The Argentine playmaker leads the team with ten goals, despite starting just 15 games this season. He has two goals and an assist in his last two outings and will look to keep his strong form going here.

Montreal Impact vs Chicago Fire: Prediction

Montreal Impact 2-1 Chicago Fire – This isn’t an easy game to call. Yes the Fire are out of form. Yes, they’ve been leaking goals. But they are still one of the East’s most well-rounded sides. However, Montreal are on a roll. They are looking for a third consecutive win and confidence seems to be growing with each game. If Piatti and Dzemaili are on song, they could once again prove the difference.