Chicago Fire FC hosts a struggling Vancouver Whitecaps side in an MLS clash of massive importance tomorrow. The Chicago Fire has picked up only one victory in the MLS 2020 tournament so far and Thursday's clash at the Soldier Field Stadium in Illinois represents the home side's only opportunity to qualify for the knockout stages of the tournament.
The Vancouver Whitecaps have lost both their matches in the MLS tournament and is yet to win a point. The Canadian side faces an uphill battle away from home and will have to put in a spectacular performance to trouble a desperate Chicago side.
Chicago started the tournament on a positive note with a 2-1 victory over the Seattle Sounders but a resounding defeat against a formidable San Jose outfit has left the Fire gasping for breath.
Vancouver, on the other hand, has one of the worst defensive records in the tournament and has conceded 7 goals in its last two games. While Chicago may not be the most prolific on teams in the final third, the Whitecaps must ensure that their leaky defence does not hand goals to Chicago on a silver platter tomorrow.
Chicago Fire vs Vancouver Whitecaps Head-to-Head
Vancouver has a superior head-to-head record over Chicago and has won five out of ten fixtures against the Fire in the past. The Whitecaps do not have a good defensive record this season and will have to play out of their skins to avoid defeat against Chicago.
A late Nemanja Nikolic penalty saved Chicago Fire's blushes the last time these two sides met in 2019. The home side will be confident ahead of the fixture and must secure an emphatic victory to improve its dismal goal difference.
Chicago Fire form guide in the MLS: L-D-W-L
Vancouver Whitecaps form guide in the MLS: L-W-L-L
Chicago Fire vs Vancouver Whitecaps Team News
Chicago Fire is one of the few teams in the MLS with a fully fit squad at its disposal and will have plenty of options to choose from ahead of the make-or-break fixture. The side's defence may seem some changes after a poor performance against San Jose but Raphael Wicky is likely to field a similar lineup.
Chicago put in a much better performance against the Seattle Sounders at the start of the tournament and is unlikely to alter its 3-5-2 formation. Robert Beric had a good game against Seattle and will have to be at his best in this MLS fixture.
Not Available: None
The Vancouver Whitecaps have one of the most depleted squads in the MLS 2020 tournament and the side has severely suffered from the absence of several important players. Lucas Cavallini, Andy Rose, and star striker Fredy Montero are unavailable for selection in the MLS due to personal reasons.
Georges Mukumbilwa is also not with the Whitecaps squad and Tosaint Ricketts has been sidelined with a medical issue. The Canadian outfit is fielding a second-string side against Chicago and will hope that its players can hold their own on the pitch.
Not Available: Lucas Cavallini, Andy Rose, Fredy Montero, Georges Mukumbilwa, Tosaint Ricketts, Bryan Meredith
Chicago Fire vs Vancouver Whitecaps Predicted XI
Chicago Fire Predicted XI (3-5-2): Kenneth Kronholm; Francisco Calvo, Mauricio Pineda, Boris Sekulic; Jonathan Bornstein, Medran, Gaston Gimenez, Fabian Herbers, Przemyslaw Frankowski; Robert Beric, Charles Sapong
Vancouver Whitecaps Predicted XI (4-5-1): Maxime Crepeau; Ali Adnan, Ranko Veselinovic, Jasser Khemiri, Jake Nerwinski; Leonard Owusu, Russell Teibert, In-Beom Hwang, Manuel Milinkovic, Cristian Dajome; Yordy Reyna
Chicago Fire vs Vancouver Whitecaps Prediction
The Chicago Fire cannot afford to drop points in this fixture and will no stone unturned to ensure that the Whitecaps' campaign meets with a disappointing end. The Chicago-based outfit holds all the cards in this fixture and is in a better position to claim the victory.
The Vancouver Whitecaps did well to score three goals against the San Jose Earthquakes and are perfectly capable of causing the home side a few problems in the final third. Chicago is desperate for a victory, however, and will likely take all three points from this MLS fixture.
Prediction: Chicago Fire 2-1 Vancouver Whitecaps
Published 22 Jul 2020, 16:56 IST