A huge match and a need to turn around fortunes for the Fire.
Chicago Fire (12-7-5, 3rd in East) vs. Toronto FC (13-3-8, 1st in East)
There are a couple of ways to look at Saturday’s match against Toronto FC. The first one is that this is coming at a bad time with injuries to Joao Meira, Matt Polster, and Brandon Vincent; David Accam a question mark with a hip injury; and the club having lost four of their last five (the win coming at home). The other way to look at this is this is why the Fire brought in Juninho, Dax McCarty, and Bastian Schweinsteiger. They have experience in winning big matches and one can hope that they can influence the others on the pitch on Saturday against Toronto.
TFC are unbeaten in their last six and have won five straight against the Fire in league play. They look in as stellar in form as they have been this season and lead the Supporters’ Shield table by four points over NYCFC and six over the Fire. Plus, they have the best away record in the league at 4-3-5.
The Fire are 10-0-1 at Toyota Park so far this season. With a depleted back line and a dip in form, it seems as though once again everything is going against the Fire leading into this “match of the season”. Then again, it is big games like this that the Fire brought in Juninho, Dax McCarty, and Bastian Schweinsteiger. They will have to be the positive influences in the locker room. Others who are called to replace the injured players need to step up. And finally, somebody needs to get the ball to Nemanja Nikolic who barely saw it Wednesday against Montreal. This could either be a continuation of the Fire’s decline this season which fans are fearing, or this could be the match that not only keeps the Fire in the race for the Shield, but gets everyone believing in the Fire once again. Their choice.
Kickoff for the match is at 7pm CT on CSN Chicago.
REFEREE: Jair Maruffo; SAR (bench): Jose Da Silva JAR (opposite): Danny Thornberry; 4th: Jose Carlos Rivero; VAR: Ramy Touchan
CHICAGO FIRE — OUT: M-John Goossens (ankle), G-Jorge Bava (elbow), D-Brandon Vincent (quad), M-Daniel Johnson (knee), M-Matt Polster (knee), D-Joao Meira, D-Matej Dekovic (adductor); QUESTIONABLE: F-David Accam (right hip)
TORONTO FC — OUT: M-Benoit Cheyrou (calf), D-Nick Hagglund (knee)
04/21/17: TOR 3-1 CHI