MLS Preview and Prediction: Montreal Impact vs Chicago Fire

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

Venue: Stade Saputo – Wednesday, September 23 – 20:00 ET (01:00 BST)

Match Odds: Montreal 4/5 – Draw 14/5 – Chicago 3/1

Match Preview

Montreal Impact host Chicago Fire on Wednesday night in what is set to be a key game in terms of playoff implications in the Eastern Conference.

Chicago are unlikely to still be looking at making the playoffs, but travel to Montreal with new interim head coach Brian Bliss looking to prove his worth following the departure of Frank Yallop this past weekend.

A third straight home win spelled the end for Yallop after what has been a thoroughly disappointing season for a Fire side that invested heavily through preseason. They have not won away all season and are unlikely to change that here.

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Montreal will see a game against the bottom side in MLS as an absolute must-win, especially in front of their own fans. They currently occupy the last remaining playoff spot in the East but have played the fewest game in the league so it’s their spot to lose.

Two home games in four days will test the squad but six points from the Chicago game and DC United on Saturday would all but guarantee a place in the postseason.

Didier Drogba grabbed his fourth MLS goal and first league assist in the 3-0 win over New England on Saturday. The Impact are now unbeaten in four and look to be in a very strong position.

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The home side has won each of the two previous matchups between these sides so far this season. Montreal claimed a 4-3 win in a thriller at the start of the month, while Chicago won 3-0 back in May.

Team News

Montreal Impact will be without Cameron Porter, Kenny Cooper, Patrice Bernier and Justin Mapp. Drogba should start up front again, while Ambroise Oyongo returns from suspension.

Chicago Fire start life without Frank Yallop with just one player ruled out as Adailton continues to struggle with a muscle problem. Gilberto and Kennedy are likely to feature, while Matt Polster returns from suspension. Brian Bliss’ team selection will be intriguing.

Key Points

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

Chicago Fire’s last five: W/D/L/L/L

Key Stat: Chicago Fire have now gone 22 away games in MLS without winning. Home sick.

Key Player: Didier Drogba – The powerful Ivorian netted his fourth MLS goal in the 3-0 win over New England last time out and will be relishing the prospect of playing against a Fire backline that has conceded 46 goals this term.

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Score Prediction

Montreal Impact 2-0 Chicago Fire – Hard to see Chicago’s fortunes changing, despite a change of head coach. Montreal look very strong and will use their home advantage to seal another three points, giving them another boost as they look to hang on to their playoff spot.


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

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

Venue: Red Bull Arena – Friday, September 11 – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST)

Match Odds: NY Red Bulls 4/9 – Draw 7/2 – Chicago Fire 11/2

Match Preview

New York Red Bulls host Chicago Fire in an all Eastern Conference tie this Friday night as they look to continue to pile the pressure on top side DC United.

Red Bulls come into the tie off the back of their 3-0 win over leaders DC United, which has put them in a really strong position at this stage of the season. They have three games in hand over DC and are just two points behind.

Jesse Marsch’s side will be feeling confident ahead of this one, but know no tie is an easy three points, but this is a great chance for them to continue pushing for top spot.

New York Red Bulls will be setting their sights on fighting all the way for the Supporters’ Shield. LA Galaxy are in the lead, four points ahead, but have played three games more. It is important for Marsch’s side to finish the season in the best form possible to give them every chance of winning the Supporters’ Shield, but also to ensure they are confident heading into the playoffs.

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Chicago Fire sit bottom of the Eastern Conference on 27 points and although making the playoffs seems unlikely they still have to believe anything is possible.

They come into the game off the back of their 4-3 loss to Montreal Impact, which has to be the most entertaining fixture of last weekend.

The Fire haven’t won on the road all season and it will be an extremely tough task to take all three points here. They can take confidence that they won the earlier meeting in the campaign between the sides, 3-2.

Fire fans will be hoping Kennedy Igboananike can reproduce the form he showed against Red Bulls in the 3-2 win, where he netted twice.

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Team News

New York Red Bulls only injury concern is to Chirs Duvall, who is expected to miss out. Connor Lade and Dax McCarty are both one booking away from suspension.

Chicago Fire have just the one injury concern too. Adailton is expected to be their only absentee. Matt Polster and Eric Gehrig are also both one caution away from suspension.

Key Points

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

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

Key Stat: Travel sick – Chicago haven’t won a regular season game on the road all season, drawing five and losing eight.

Key Player: Bradley Wright-Phillips – The Red Bulls forward has hit form at the right time. He netted twice in his last outing and has now scored 13 goals in 25 regular season appearances this campaign.

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Score Prediction

New York Red Bulls 3-0 Chicago Fire – Red Bulls to prove too strong for the Eastern Conference’s bottom side and come away with all three points as expected.

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 New York Red Bulls

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

Venue: Toyota Park – Wednesday, August 26 – 20:30 ET (01:30 BST) 

Match Odds: Chicago Fire 15/8 – Draw 12/5 – New York Red Bulls 5/4

Match Preview

Chicago Fire host New York Red Bulls on Wednesday night to kickoff Week 26’s MLS action in a game between two sides at either end of the Eastern Conference.

Chicago have endured a tough season that has failed to ever pick up. They sit bottom of the table and have the fewest points in Major League Soccer after 24 games. Frank Yallop’s side have won just one of their last seven and look like a team that knows it won’t make the playoffs.

A 1-0 home loss to the Colorado Rapids on Saturday was a real blow and they are now five points off Montreal Impact in sixth place with ten to play. Time is running out and the Fire’s performances are lacking the urgency they require.

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A clash with the league’s most in-form team will pose more problems and it’s difficult to see where the Fire’s wins will come from, especially with reports suggesting Shaun Maloney may have played his last game for the club as a transfer to Hull looks likely.

The Red Bulls are a side enjoying completely contrasting fortunes as they can do no wrong right now. A run of six unbeaten with five wins has catapulted them back into Eastern Conference and Supporters’ Shield contention.

A 3-0 win over Toronto in their last game only increased confidence and they are now five points behind rivals DC United, who they face on Sunday night, at the top of the East with four games in hand.

Jesse Marsch has his team back on track and a playoff berth looks to be guaranteed, with the Red Bulls now looking to maintain their form as the postseason approaches.

Photo: Denise McCooey

Photo: Denise McCooey

This will be the first meeting between the two this season. They will meet at Red Bull Arena in the return fixture on the final weekend of the regular season on October 25.

Chicago have won the past two meetings between the two and have not lost at home to the Red Bulls since 2005 so at least history is on the home team’s side.

Team News

Chicago Fire head coach Frank Yallop may not be able to call on Shaun Maloney anymore as the Scottish DP is believed to be closing in on a move to Hull City. David Accam is a doubt with an ongoing hamstring problem, while Gilberto may sit out again. Adailton is defintely out through injury.

The Red Bulls will have to play without Damien Perrinelle as the defender is suspended. Chris Duvall is out, while Kemar Lawrence and Ronald Zubar remain doubts. Shaun Wright-Phillips will be pushing for a start but will have to dislogdge Mike Grella from the side.

Key Points

Chicago Fire’s last five: D/W/L/D/L

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

Key Stat: New York Red Bulls have only ever won once at Chicago Fire in 15 attempts. That came in their first ever away game back in 2005 and they have now gone 14 straight without a win in Chicago.

Key Player: Sacha Kljestan – The Red Bulls midfielder has been excellent all season and he has two goals in New York’s last three road games. He picked up an assist in the 3-0 win over Toronto before this one and should be a real threat.

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Score Prediction

Chicago Fire 1-2 New York Red Bulls – The Fire will look to rally in their last home game before a gruelling four-game road swing but will prove too weak for the in-form Red Bulls here. New York look unstoppable right now and should face little trouble brushing Chicago aside as they look to win the Eastern Conference.

MLS Musings: Vancouver doing it with defence, Chicago’s road horrors continue

By Drew Farmer: Twitter – @CalcioFarmer

Vancouver’s defensive DP getting it done

Tied for the fewest goals in Major League Soccer this season (22), the Vancouver Whitecaps have surged to the top of the Western Conferences thanks to their defensive solidity.

Of course David Ousted and the back four have been good, but it has been the two pivots sitting in front of the backline that have prevented attacks from occurring. Defensive midfielder Matias Laba is averaging 5.2 tackles and 2.6 interceptions per game, according to Add in an 84% pass rate and Vancouver has a Designated Player worth every bit of his $325,000 salary in 2015.

Laba’s play and ability to control the game from central midfield shows the importance, if many times unspectacular and overlooked, a good defensive midfielder provides. Something MLS should invest more in.

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Six points seems so far away

After winning the previous week, Chicago Fire got back to losing ways last Friday, losing 1-0 to the Portland Timbers. Frank Yallop’s Fire have scored the third fewest goals in 2015, only Colorado Rapids and Yallop’s former team, San Jose Earthquakes, have scored fewer.

The Fire is still, somehow, only six points away from Montreal Impact in the hunt for the last spot in the MLS Playoff race. Yet, those six points seem so far away and nothing that Chicago has done to this point makes one think the team can reach the postseason.

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Chicago is the only team not to win on the road this season – losing seven away games and scoring a league low eight goals away from home.

With 12 games left to play in 2015, Chicago will play seven on the road. Six of those seven come against teams fighting for a postseason place or for a higher playoff seed. If the Fire makes the playoffs, it will truly be a miracle in the Windy City.

New York City and Jason Kreis

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Real Salt Lake surprised MLS in 2007 when it hired former player Jason Kreis as head coach. Kreis had literally just retired from playing when he became coach. His hire was the first of the current wave of former MLS players quickly becoming head coaches.

Kreis had some success, which with Real Salt Lake, was something new and exciting. In nearly seven seasons, Kreis achieved a 43% win percentage, tallying 102 wins and winning the MLS Cup in 2009.

Kreis gets a lot of respect from peers, pundits and fans. Looking at his MLS record with RSL, Kreis’ last four seasons were his most successful, including a runners-up performance in the MLS Cup 2013.

Kreis is now the man tasked with leading NYCFC’s high-priced DP’s to the promised land. But he is now coaching three players that have done everything in the game and some are questioning whether they are on the same page?

After falling behind to the Red Bulls on Sunday, NYCFC capitulated and were awful in defence as the Red Bulls picked them apart. First a low cross from near the touchline wasn’t dealt with, which defenders should have cleared or the goalkeeper should have claimed, then New York City stood around as Mike Grella dribbled past Frank Lampard and laid off a pass to Felipe to score the Red Bulls’ second goal.

The question is, is Kreis actually the man to lead the Blues forward?

Sporting Kansalona City

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For the second time Sporting KC has signed a former Barcelona youth player. The last time they did that, Oriol Rosell blossomed into a top midfielder and moved to Portuguese giants Sporting Lisbon.

Now the club has dipped into La Masia, Barcelona’s famed academy, again and signed Jordi Quintilla. The Spaniard spent last season in France’s Ajaccio in Ligue 2. The attacking midfielder played 20 times, but was unable to register a goal or assist. Sporting KC will expect Quintilla to add to their attacking flavor as the club make a run for both the US Open Cup and the MLS Cup.

Listen to Drew on Radio Yorkshire MLS Monday

Follow Drew Farmer on Twitter @Calciofarmer. Drew Farmer is a Manchester, England-based journalist/blogger that writes for World Soccer Talk. Drew has contributed to Radio Yorkshire MLS Monday, Forza Italian Football, Bleacher Report, MLSGB and Soccerly. Originally from southwest Missouri, Drew covers Italy’s Serie A, British football and the USA’s Major League Soccer.

MLS Preview and Prediction: DC United vs Chicago Fire

Competition: Major League Soccer – DC United vs. Chicago Fire

Venue: RFK Stadium – Wednesday, June 3 – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST – Thursday, June 4)

Match Odds: DC United 23/20 – Draw 23/10 – Chicago Fire 12/5

Match Preview

DC United welcome Chicago Fire to RFK Stadium on Wednesday night as they look to continue their 16-game unbeaten home run.

DCU come into this one off the back of a 2-1 home win over Philadelphia Union last weekend. Ben Olsen‘s side are four points clear at the top of the Eastern Conference but are one point behind Seattle Sounders in the race for the MLS Supporters Shield.

DC put their three game streak without a win to bed after beating the Union and Olsen will be expecting his side to regain the form which saw them go on an eight-game unbeaten run earlier in the season.

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Chicago Fire come into the game after ending a four game run without a win. The Fire put three past Montreal Impact without response and confidence will be high again in the camp.

Frank Yallop‘s side are sitting sixth in the Eastern Conference and cannot afford another lengthy spell without a win.

The Fire are yet to win on the road this season and it doesn’t get much more difficult than Wednesday’s tie as DC are on a 16 game unbeaten home run.

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It hasn’t been the best start to the season for Chicago, but if they can take a positive result from this one they could kick-start a good run of form.

Team News

DC United will be without Eddie Johnson, Fabian Espindola, Luis Silva, Nick Deleon and Michael Farfan through injury. Davy Arnaud and Bobby Boswell are one booking away from suspension.

Chicago Fire will be without Patrick Nyarko through injury, while Shaun Maloney is on international duty with Scotland.

Key Points

DC United’s last five: W/L/D/L/W

Chicago Fire’s last five: L/L/D/D/W

Key Stat: DC United are undefeated in their last 16 MLS games at home.

Key Player: Chris Rolfe – The experienced forward netted from the penalty spot last time out and will be hoping to build on his tally of four goals so far this season.

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Score Prediction

DC United 2-1 Chicago – DC to continue their unbeaten home run in a tight tie with a narrow win against their Eastern Conference rivals. There could be goals in this one but expect home advantage to count.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Columbus Crew vs Chicago Fire

Competition: Major League Soccer – Columbus Crew vs. Chicago Fire

Venue: MAPFRE Stadium – Friday, May 22 – 20:00 ET (01:00 BST)

Match Odds: Columbus 4/5 – Draw 13/5 – DC United 100/30

Match Preview

Columbus Crew take on Chicago Fire in the first of this week’s Friday night fixtures at MAPFRE Stadium with both looking to bounce back after disappointing defeats last week.

The Crew lost 2-0 at San Jose after playing with ten men for much of the game and will hope the return home can inspire them to record a fourth straight win.

Gregg Berhalter’s side beat Seattle Sounders 3-2 two weeks ago and will be looking to record a fifth win of the campaign against the Fire this week.

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Columbus have not won away from home this year, and with two road games coming up next, it’s important the Crew try to take all three points from their game on Friday.

Chicago Fire are without a win in three now, after going on a winning streak of three prior to that, and Frank Yallop will need to try and steady the ship quickly as they look to move back into a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Chicago have not won on the road this season, losing three of their four, with the only draw coming in last weekend’s 2-2 draw at New York City FC. Though they should have won that game after leading 2-0 against an NYCFC team with just ten players.

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A trip to Columbus won’t present the Fire with an easy task though as they have lost their on their last two trips to Ohio, without scoring a goal.

Last season saw them play twice in MLS, with the Crew winning the home game 2-0, before a 1-1 draw at Toyota Park in August.

Team News

Columbus Crew will be without Mohammed Saeid after he picked up a red card last week. Wil Trapp will miss out once again through concussion, while Matt Lampson is struggling with a hamstring strain. Kei Kamara and Federico Higuain will continue to play in attack and will look to cause the Fire defence damage.

Chicago have three injury worries heading into the game as Mike Magee, Patrick Nyarko and Matt Watson are all likely to miss out. Magee has returned to training and will not be too far away from a return to action now so he could even feature here.

Key Points

Columbus Crew’s last five: W/W/L/W/L

Chicago Fire’s last five: W/W/L/L/D

Key Stat: There have been a total of 21 cards in the last six meetings in all competitions between these two, with two of those a red.

Key Player: Kei Kamara – The powerful striker has seven goals already this season and has four in his last three home games. Expect him to be a threat.

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Score Prediction

Columbus Crew 3-1 Chicago Fire – Columbus have scored at least three goals in their last three home meetings and will likely prove too strong for Chicago this weekend. The Fire have struggled on the road and will come unstuck in this one once again.

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 Preview and Prediction: New York City FC vs Chicago Fire

Competition: Major League Soccer – New York City FC vs. Chicago Fire

Venue: Yankee Stadium – Friday, May 15th – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST – Saturday, May 16th)

Match Odds: New York City FC 13/10 – Draw 12/5 – Chicago Fire 2/1

Match Preview

New York City FC welcome Chicago Fire to the Yankee Stadium on Friday night in an all Eastern Conference MLS clash.

New York City’s tough start to life in MLS showed no signs of letting up at the Red Bull Arena on Monday as they lost 2-1 to the Red Bulls in the first ever New York derby.

That defeat was their fourth consecutive loss and they are now without a win in eight (D2, L6) – they’ve won just once from their opening ten games.

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Jason Kreis has seen his side score just seven times this season which is one of the main reasons that NYC find themselves 8th in the Eastern Conference and beginning to lose pace in the race for the playoffs already – only Montreal Impact have scored fewer goals (3), although they have only played five games compared to NYC’s 10.

Chicago Fire arrive in New York after a run of three straight wins has been halted by a defeat to Sporting Kansas City followed by a 2-1 loss at home to Real Salt Lake last time out.

The Fire have nine points from their first eight games and are currently sixth in the Eastern Conference but have lost all of their games on the road so far this season.

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Frank Yallop will be telling his players that this is one of the few away games this season that he will demand a positive result given the poor form of their opponents, and Chicago will hope to capitalise on New York City’s lack of confidence.

The two sides met just three weeks ago in a game that saw Chicago Fire run out as 1-0 winners at Toyota Park thanks to a goal from David Accam.

Team News

New York City will be without long term absentees George John and Tony Taylor, while Javier Calle and Adam Nemec are both doubts after missing the New York derby on Monday because of injury.

Chicago Fire’s Mike Magee and Patrick Nyarko both remain out, while Matt Watson has concussion so could miss the game.

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Key Points

New York City FC’s last five: D/L/L/L/L

Chicago Fire’s last five: W/W/W/L/L

Key Stat: These two sides are the lowest scoring teams in MLS, other than Montreal Impact, with just seven goals each.

Key Player: Harry Shipp – The Chicago midfielder has been one of their most impressive players so far this season with one goal and three assists to his name. He will be hoping to shine once again.

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Score Prediction

New York City FC 1-1 Chicago Fire – This has all the makings of a very tight and tense game. With both sides struggling for goals this season, combining the fact that Chicago have lost all their away games and New York City aren’t picking up many points, this will probably end all square.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Chicago Fire vs Real Salt Lake

Competition: Major League Soccer – Chicago Fire vs. Real Salt Lake

Venue: Toyota Park – Saturday, May 9th – 15:00 ET (20:00 BST)

Match Odds: Chicago Fire: 6/5 Draw: 9/4 Real Salt Lake: 23/10

Match Preview

Chicago Fire go into battle with Real Salt Lake at Toyota Park on Saturday afternoon, looking to get back to winning ways after last week’s defeat at Sporting Kansas City, in what was their first loss since March 22nd.

Real Salt Lake themselves are on a four-game winless run after a 0-0 draw at home against LA Galaxy on Wednesday night in the first of two games they have played this week.

Chicago Fire were on a three-game winning run until that was halted last week away in Missouri. Their three wins all came at Toyota Park, giving them huge confidence ahead of this tight encounter. After this one Chicago face two away games as they head to The Yankee Stadium to face New York City FC and then the MAPFRE stadium to face Columbus Crew in two important Eastern Conference ties.

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Prior to that Chicago Fire failed to register a win in their opening three with defeats to LA Galaxy, Vancouver Whitecaps and a loss to San Jose Earthquakes left them reeling, but what a turnaround it has been for The Fire, giving head coach Frank Yallop eight wins now since he has taken over.

The Fire currently sit in the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference and would aspire to be there come the end of the season, after last season’s disappointing 9th place finish.

Real Salt Lake are playing their second game this week following a draw at home to MLS Cup holders LA Galaxy. A real contrast to last season with no win in four now means they are in a lowly seventh place in the Western Conference, with their last win coming at San Jose back on April 5th.

Just one win away this season, coupled with plenty of draws leaves the Claret and Cobalt looking out of shape and outside the playoff places.

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Since that win in San Jose, Real Salt Lake have scored just the once. And although they will look at the draw with the Galaxy as a good point, failing to secure three points in this one could further hinder their chances of finishing in a respectable position come the end of October.

In the last five meetings between the two, there has been one Fire win, one RSL win and three draws.

Last season’s lone meeting between the two saw Real Salt Lake grab a 3-2 victory at Toyota Park.

Team News

Chicago Fire will be without Mike Magee as he still recovers from hip surgery and Patrick Nyarko who is also likely to miss the rest of the season after a torn ACL. Doubts have been raised over Michael Stephens too who could also miss out with an ankle injury. David Accam is suspended after picking up a red card at Sporting Kansas City last weekend.

Real Salt Lake still miss Joao Plata and Chris Schuler, who continue to recover from long-term injuries, while Javier Morales is out with concussion. Like Chicago Fire injury doubts lay within Sebastian Jaime (right tibia) and Boyd Okwuonu (shoulder injury).

Key Points

Chicago Fire’s last five: L/W/W/W/L

Real Salt Lake’s last five: D/L/L/L/D

Key Stat: Chicago Fire have only scored six goals this season but have won three games, compared to Real Salt Lake’s two wins from seven goals scored.

Key Player: Nick Rimando – For the second time in a week this man could be the key player. His  stoppage time penalty save against the Galaxy earned his team a point and his presence in goal and voice on the pitch is so vital in a crunch fixture like this.

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Score Prediction

Chicago Fire 0-1 Real Salt Lake – The Royals are long overdue a win and could really do with all three points. They have to win and have last season’s victory to look at to act as a stepping stone for further success. Chicago will have been disappointed by last weekend’s defeat and may struggle to bounce back immediately.