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.

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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.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Chicago Fire vs Philadelphia Union

Competition: Major League Soccer – Chicago Fire vs Philadelphia Union

Venue: Toyota Park – Sunday, March 29 – 17:00 ET (22:00 BST – Live on Sky Sports 1)

Match Odds: Chicago Fire 6/4 – Draw 23/10Philadelphia Union 7/4

Match Preview

Chicago Fire host Philadelphia Union at Toyota Park on Sunday evening in an all Eastern Conference clash as both sides look for their first win of the 2015 MLS campaign.

The Fire have had a slow start to the season, losing their first three games and they already find themselves rooted to the foot of both the Eastern Conference and Supporters’ Shield standings.

Philadelphia suffered their first defeat at home to FC Dallas last weekend having previously tied their opening game at home to Colorado before an entertaining 3-3 draw with Real Salt Lake a week later. The Union are currently seventh in the Eastern Conference.

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Chicago have struggled to find the net in the early stages of this season but Harry Shipp did manage to notch their first goal during the 2-1 defeat at San Jose last time out.

Head coach Jim Curtin has only seen his Philadelphia side pick up one win out of their last ten games in MLS if you carry over from last season’s fixtures, and they will be desperately trying to pick up three points against a Chicago side that appear to be there for the taking.

The Fire have an even worse recent record in MLS, with just one win in their last 12 games and head coach Frank Yallop has got a lot of work to do in order to turn things round.

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The last meeting between these two was a 1-1 draw back in October. In-fact, all three of last season’s games between Chicago and Philadelphia ended in a tie.

Team News

Chicago Fire will be without long-term absentee Mike Magee. Midfielders Patrick Nyarko and Razvan Cocis are also out, while Shaun Maloney and David Accam are away on international duty. The Fire have signed midfielder Víctor Pérez on-loan from Spanish side Real Valladolid, so he could make his debut.

Philadelphia Union have survived the international duty exodus, but do have a long list injuries. C. J. Sapong, Cristian Maidana, Eric Bird, Sheanon Williams and Conor Casey are all out. Goalkeeper Andre Blake is also unlikely to return to the squad following knee surgery a month ago. Zach Pfeffer will miss out through suspension.

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Key Points

Chicago Fire’s form: L/L/L

Philadelphia Union’s form: D/D/L

Key Stat: There has never been a goalless draw between these two sides.

Key Player: Fernando Aristeguieta – With two goals from his opening three games, he is Philadelphia’s main goal threat and Chicago have got a job on their hands trying to contain him.

Score Prediction

Chicago Fire 1-2 Philadelphia Union – Chicago Fire have had a poor start and the Union should edge out their first victory of the season and heap more misery on Frank Yallop’s men.