MLS Preview and Prediction: Chicago Fire vs Philadelphia Union

Competition: Major League Soccer – Chicago Fire vs. Philadelphia Union

Venue: Toyota Park – Saturday, April 2 – 17:00 ET (22:00 BST)

Match Odds: Chicago Fire 11/10 – Draw 12/5 – Philadelphia Union 12/5 

Match Preview

Chicago Fire host Philadelphia Union on Saturday evening following the international break, with the home side still in pursuit of their first win of the season.

Life under new coach Veljko Paunovic has started slowly but he has installed a new system, and with it, a stronger defensive work ethic which should start to yield results sooner rather than later.

Paunovic also trusts his younger players, proven by the fact rookie Brandon Vincent has played every minute so far in a wing back role and seems to be settling in well.

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Only time will tell how well the Fire adapt under their new boss but three points will be expected on Saturday.

Philadelphia Union have started 2016 with two impressive wins after an opening day defeat at the hands of FC Dallas. Since then they have managed to defeat Columbus Crew 2-1 away from home, before blowing away New England Revolution 3-0 before the international break.

Much of their early success is down to the consistency of new recruits Chris Pontius and Keegan Rosenberry who have fit in well thus far. CJ Sapong is providing a good platform for the team to build on in attack and Jim Curtin will be delighted with what he has seen to this point.

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Things are looking up for the Union who still have Maurice Edu to come back into the fold later in the season, and who knows, they could be pushing for the playoffs come September.

These two sides met three times last year, with each winning once. The most recent meeting saw the pair play out an exhilarating 3-3 draw in Philadelphia, though Chicago won the lone meeting at Toyota Park 1-0.

Team News

Chicago Fire will be without Patrick McLain, while Sean Johnson and David Accam are both doubts but should be fit enough to make the squad come kickoff.

Philadelphia Union are still without Maurice Edu for the foreseeable future. Tranquillo Barnetta, Vincent Nogueira and Cole Missimo are all doubts but will hope to recover in time to feature.

Key Points

Chicago Fire’s form: L/D/D

Philadelphia Union’s form: L/W/W

Key Stat: Chicago are unbeaten in six-straight MLS meetings with the Union. A run that stretches back to August 2013.

Key Player: CJ Sapong  The Union striker has been in excellent form early on this term and has played a crucial part in recent wins, scoring twice last time out against New England. We expect this form to continue in what is certainly a winnable game for Philadelphia.

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Score Prediction

Chicago Fire 1-2 Philadelphia Union – Chicago are yet to register a win this term, while Philadelphia have won two on the bounce. We’re expecting the Union to edge this one, but a very open and exciting match could be played out at Toyota Park on Saturday evening.

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

Competition: Major League Soccer Regular Season – Chicago Fire vs. New York Red Bulls 

Venue: Toyota Park – Sunday, October 25 – 19:00 ET (23:00 GMT)

Match Odds: Chicago Fire 23/10 – Draw 14/5 – New York Red Bulls 1/1

Match Preview

Chicago Fire host New York Red Bulls on Sunday night in the regular season finale. The Fire will regrettably finish bottom of the Eastern Conference regardless of their result on MLS Decision Day.

Their position in the table is justified down to the fact they are the only team in MLS to have a points-per-game ratio of under 1.00.

With one win in eight, this season has ended on a sour note and they will be hoping to at least give their fans something to cheer about on the final day.

Chicago Fire’s record in MLS: P33 – W8 – D6 – L19

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New York Red Bulls have run away with the Eastern Conference this year after consistent performances throughout this term.

Currently battling FC Dallas for the Supporters’ Shield, a prize they won in 2013, the Red Bulls know that a win would more than likely see them lift the silverware due to a superior goal difference.

And with three wins in their last four, New York will feel extremely confident of securing their second Supporters’ Shield in three years here.

New York Red Bulls’ record in MLS: P33 – P17 – D6 – L10

Photo: Denise McCooey

Photo: Denise McCooey

Team News

Chicago Fire are without Adailton, Eric Gehrig and Sean Johnson who have suffered season ending injuries. Ty Harden is a doubt with an adductor strain but could feature.

New York Red Bulls are missing three senior players with Chris Duvall, Roy Miller and Anatole Abang all missing through injury.

Key Points

Chicago Fire’s last five: L/L/L/W/L

New York Red Bull’s last five: L/W/W/L/W

Key Stat: Chicago have won only once in their last eight matches in MLS.

Key Player: Sacha Kljestan – The USMNT star has been a standout addition to MLS this season and has transformed the Red Bulls’ midfield. Expect him to be key on Sunday.

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Score Prediction

Chicago Fire 0-2 New York Red Bulls – The Red Bulls are hunting the Supporters’ Shield and Chicago are confined to last place in the MLS standings. We can only see one outcome.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Montreal Impact vs Chicago Fire

Competition: Major League Soccer – Montreal Impact vs. Chicago Fire 

Venue: Stade Saputo – Saturday, September 5 – 20:00 ET (01:00 BST)

Match Odds: Montreal Impact 1/1 – Draw 5/2 – Chicago Fire 13/5

Match Preview

Montreal Impact welcome Eastern Conference rivals Chicago Fire to the Stade Saputo on Saturday night as the Canadian side look to push on for a playoff spot.

Montreal come into the game having lost their last three in MLS by a solitary goal. More worryingly, in a crucial point of the season they have only managed two wins in their last seven.

All could be on the way up though as reports early in the week suggest that Didier Drogba could be in line for his first start in the Montreal Blue after previously coming off the bench in a loss to Philadelphia Union.

Montreal Impact’s record in MLS: P23 – W8 – D4 – L11

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Chicago are in the middle of another season of struggle as they are still searching for their first away win of the season, which is embarrassing for a club with an abundance of attacking talent.

With one win in five, they have demonstrated consistent negative results and have left themselves with it all to do if they are to make the playoffs with just eight games to play.

They are currently the only side not to win away in MLS and defensive frailties have left Frank Yallop disappointed time and again.

Chicago Fire’s record in MLS: P26 – W7 – D6 – L13

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Suffering with a weak squad, the Fire look set to miss out on the playoffs yet again this year and that will be a major disappointment for the organisation after such a busy preseason.

Team News

Montreal Impact will be without Cameron Porter, Kenny Cooper, Hassoun Camara and Ignacio Piatti through injuries. Didier Drogba is doubt with a toe injury but should be fit to start his first game for the Impact. Maxime Crepeau, Ambrose Bitolo, Eric Miller, Johan Venegas, Kyle Bekker are all on international duty and Laurent Ciman is suspended.

Chicago Fire are missing defenders Adailton and Ty Harden through injury. Joevin Jones, Matt Polster Daniel Cyrus, Collin Fernandez and David Accam are all on international duty.

Key Points

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

Chicago Fire’s last five: L/D/L/W/D

Key Stat: Chicago Fire haven’t won away in their last 20 matches in MLS.

Key Player: Dominic Oduro – Three goals in his last five appearances highlight the importance of Oduro in the Montreal attack. His eye for goal could cause Chicago huge problems on Saturday night.

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Score Prediction

Montreal Impact 2-1 Chicago Fire – Both sides are out of form and may see that as a chance to open out the game and have a go of it. Montreal being the home side should see them edge it as Chicago’s poor run on the road looks set to continue.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Chicago Fire vs Seattle Sounders

Competition: Major League Soccer – Chicago Fire vs. Seattle Sounders

Venue: Toyota Park – Saturday, July 11 – 20:30 ET (01:30 BST)

Match Odds: Chicago Fire 21/20 – Draw 5/2 – Seattle Sounders 5/2

Match Preview

It’s bottom versus top of the Western Conference this weekend as Chicago Fire host Seattle Sounders on Saturday in a game both sides will see as winnable.

Chicago Fire have failed to set the league alight so far, and a visit from a strong Seattle side is far from what they need right now, but with Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins missing for the visitors they will see it as a chance to pick up three points.

However, with no win in five, the Fire are in a bad patch of form that suggests Seattle will be favourites.

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Chicago Fire’s record in MLS: P16 – W4 – D3 – L9

Seattle come into this one as a team missing three key men, and a blip in form suggests they are suffering without them.

Having lost their last three away from home, Seattle will be desperate to continue to pick up points as they hunt back-to-back Supporters’ Shield titles.

Seattle Sounders’ record in MLS: P19 – W10 – D2 – L7

They still remain top of the Western Conference and a victory will ease the absence of Martins and Dempsey for at least another week.

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Team News

Chicago Fire will be without Shaun Maloney and Jeff Larentowicz through injury. David Accam is a doubt with a hamstring strain and may not feature. Joevin Jones is away on international duty.

Seattle Sounders are missing keeper’ Stefan Frei and Obafemi Martins through injury and Andres Correa is a doubt for the clash. Brad Evans, Clint Dempsey and Marco Pappa are all away at the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Key Points

Chicago Fire’s last five in MLS: L/L/L/L/D

Seattle Sounders’ last five in MLS: W/L/L/L/W

Key Stat: Chicago Fire have never beaten Seattle Sounders when playing at home. 

Key Player: Harry Shipp – Young, creative midfielder, Shipp has been a revelation since joining the Fire and will be the pinnacle if the Fire are to win. 

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Score Prediction

Chicago Fire 0-2 Seattle Sounders – Seattle are far from full strength but we expect them to have enough to surpass Chicago.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Chicago Fire vs Orlando City

Competition: Major League Soccer – Chicago Fire vs. Orlando City

Venue: Toyota Park – Saturday, June 6 – 20:30 ET (01:30 BST)

Match Odds: Chicago Fire 10/11 – Draw 5/2 – Orlando City 14/5

Match Preview

Chicago Fire will be looking to bounce back quickly as they host Orlando City on Saturday night. The Fire were beaten easily on Wednesday by Eastern Conference leaders DC United.

Chicago have had a torrid time of late, having only managed one win in their last six as inconsistency is once again hindering Chicago’s plans of making the playoffs.

A win would see them back into the top six however, and this is a big opportunity for Chicago to leapfrog their opponents in the standings.

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They beat Montreal Impact 3-0 at home last weekend in a fine display and Frank Yallop will be desperate to see his players put on a similar show in this one.

Chicago Fire’s 2015 MLS record: P12 – W4 – D2 – L6

Orlando City have struggled to establish a decent run of form thus far as they sit seventh in the Eastern Conference. Saying that, they are unbeaten in their last three.

But with just one win in seven, they have failed to convert good performances into wins, and their 4-0 win over LA Galaxy looks like an anomaly so far.

Orlando City’s 2015 MLS record: P13 – W3 – D5 – L5

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They haven’t won away since April 12th (2-0 win over Portland Timbers) so they will be searching to end that this weekend.

Team News

Chicago Fire are set to be without Patrick Nyarko, while Mike Magee is still a doubt following a lengthy layoff with a hip injury. Quincy Amarikwa is expected to continue up front on his own. Shaun Maloney will not feature as he is away on international duty with Scotland.

Orlando City have several players away on international duty. Brek Shea is with the USMNT, while Tyler Turner, Conor Donovan, Bryan Rochez and Estrela are also away. Kevin Molino remains out with a serious knee injury. Aurelien Collin and Tony Cascio are both doubts.

Key Points

Chicago Fire’s last five: L/D/D/W/L

Orlando City’s last five: D/L/W/D/D

Key Stat: Chicago have scored at least twice in their three matches in MLS.

Key Player: Kaka – Hard to see any one player being more influential to a team’s prospects than the Brazilian playmaker. He has been superb so far this season though his team are at times over-reliant on him.

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Score Prediction

Chicago Fire 1-1 Orlando City – This should be a tight contest with both sides looking to pick up at least a point to stay in the hunt for the playoffs in the Eastern. Expect a couple of goals but for this one to end as a draw.

TRANSFER ROUNDUP: United star to Bayern, Arsenal’s Barca raid & Palacios to MLS

Daily transfer roundup (Friday, May 29)

MLS Rumours

Wilson Palacios has been released by Stoke City and his next move is yet to be confirmed. The 30 year old has been in the Premier League since 2007 but a move to MLS is a possibility. (REPORT)

Premier League Rumours

Manchester United flop, Angel Di Maria, could be moving on to Bayern Munich after just one season to. The German giants are expected to dip into the market for a winger with both Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben heading into their last year of their contracts. (REPORT)

Arsenal are planning a raid for FC Barcelona duo Pedro Rodriguez and Martin Montoya. Both players are reportedly unhappy with a lack of playing time. (REPORT)

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Liverpool have reportedly made an offer for Inter Milan midfielder Mateo Kovacic as they look to fill the void left by Steven Gerrard’s departure to MLS. (REPORT)

Done Deals

Orlando City SC have announced goalkeeper Josh Ford will be joining Ft. Lauderdale Strikers, of NASL, on loan until June 18. (REPORT)

Chicago Fire have sent Mike Magee on a three-day loan to USL affiliate Saint Louis FC to get some playing time. (REPORT)

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Tottenham Hotspur have signed Austrian defender Kevin Wimmer from German side, Cologne, for an undisclosed fee on a 5-year deal. (REPORT)

Chicago Fire striker nearing return to action

Chicago Fire frontman Mike Magee has returned to full training and could make his return as early as next week when the Fire play Montreal Impact on May 30, as reported by Soccer By Ives.

The 2013 MLS MVP has been out since September last year and Chicago have struggled without him. The forward was a huge part of their 2013 campaign, in which he scored 15 goals in 21 appearances.

Frank Yallop has suggested that he will have his opportunity to regain his starting berth too, mentioning that Magee “looked good”.

“Obviously he’s still a little hindered by the moment,” Yallop said. “Mike’s a quality player, as we know. Once he gets healthy and fit, he’s very good.”

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When questioned on the current forward situation at the Fire, Yallop had this to say: “Not one of our forwards have scored yet – centre forwards, if you’d like – so its up to these guys. When they get a chance, stick it in the net.”

With the two-time MLS Cup winner returning to the side, the Fire will have a well established goalscorer that can provide them essential experience to push them towards a playoff berth in the Eastern Conference.

How much have the Chicago Fire missed Mike Magee and can they make the playoffs this season?

MLS 2015 Season Preview: Chicago Fire

In the first of our MLS 2015 Season Previews, we take a look at what the Chicago Fire will be hoping for this year. We’ll have a new season preview up every day in the lead up to the season now so be sure to keep checking back for your team.

Chicago Fire will look to improve on what was a below par season in 2014 with the new-look squad that head coach Frank Yallop has put together. The Fire have splashed in order to improve their fortunes in 2015 following the marquee signings of Shaun Maloney, David Accam and Kennedy Igboananike to Designated Player contracts. And more additions are expected before the season gets underway.

Last season’s finish: Eastern Conference position: 9th – P34 – W6 – D18 – L10

What needs to change this year?

The Fire struggled last year with the amount of draws they accumulated and were very poor at hanging onto leads. Amazingly, Chicago managed to lose a total of 22 points from winning positions in 2014. This was the main reason for their league-high record of 18 draws (four more than any other MLS team). This season they will need to convert winning positions into points. A good way to secure these points is to find an out-and-out goalscorer, as Quincy Amarikwa only managed eight as their top scorer last season, and new DP’s Igboananike and Accam will be expected to find the net on a regular basis. It’s going to take a lot for the Fire to reach the playoffs in an even more competitive Eastern Conference this season.

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Key changes to squad:

Ins: Kennedy Igboananike – Forward (Designated Player), Shaun Maloney – Midfield/Forward (Designated Player), David Accam – Forward (Designated Player), Patrick Doody – Defender (Homegrown Player), Adailton – Defender.

Outs: Bakary Soumare – Defender, Patrick Ianni – Defender.

Key player: Shaun Maloney – Midfielder/Forward

Shaun Maloney will provide invaluable experience to a side that lacked inspiration last season when seeing off games. A creative forward who is adaptable in many formations, Yallop has made a good addition to his squad with Maloney. As a Designated Player he will command a key role in the team but do not be surprised if he plays multiple positions throughout the season as Yallop will want to use Maloney, and other versatile players like Harry Shipp, to his full advantage.

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One to watch: Harry Shipp – Midfield

A strong contender for MLS Rookie of the Year in 2014, Harry Shipp will want to follow up a solid first season by solidifying his spot in Yallop’s much-changed team. Shipp will benefit from the new additions and we fully expect him to still be a key player in a Chicago team that is out to prove a point this term.

Predicted finish: Eastern Conference – 7th

We expect a good showing from Chicago this season but we’re not convinced it will be enough for the playoffs as this is strongest the Eastern Conference has ever been. But as always, the MLS provides an entertaining watch, and anything can happen. The key will be how quickly all the new signings can gel together.

How do you think the Chicago Fire will fair in 2015?

Shaun Maloney completes Chicago Fire switch, set to be unveiled today

The Chicago Fire have completed the capture of Scottish midfielder Shaun Maloney from Wigan Athletic, as expected, and the 32-year-old joins the Men In Red as their third Designated Player.

Maloney leaves Championship strugglers Wigan after three-and-a-half successful years with the club, in a spell that saw him win the FA Cup in 2013.

The Scotland International made 91 appearances for Wigan, scoring 15 goals and adding 17 assists for the Latics, and he can’t wait to be a part of a new-look Chicago Fire team in 2015.

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“I’m very happy to be joining the Fire,” Maloney said after sealing the move stateside. “I owe a lot to the manager Frank Yallop and the owner Andrew Hauptman for getting this done.

“I certainly didn’t expect it to get done this quickly, so I appreciate the faith that they’ve shown in me. It’s a brilliant league and I’m really hopeful that I’m going to enjoy Chicago and be a big part of what the club is building.”

Maloney is the third Designated Player signing the Fire have made during the offseason as the Eastern Conference club look to bounce back in 2015 after a poor campaign last year.

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International strikers Kennedy Igboananike and David Accam have both been added as DP’s and Maloney will hope to be the man to give those two service.

Harry Shipp was the Fire’s most influential player last season and he will be able to learn a lot from the experienced Maloney, who will add another dimension to Chicago’s attacking play.

Maloney will be unveiled as a Chicago Fire player today at Toyota Park during a press conference set to begin at 3:15PM GMT.

Is Shaun Maloney a good signing for the Chicago Fire?