Well here we go again. Watching the Vancouver Whitecaps (0-1-4) feels almost tiring these days, even for a noted optimist such as myself. But they’re up against the only slightly less uninspiring Chicago Fire (1-2-2) so maybe this is their week!
Where: idk, somewhere in Chicago
When: 5:30 PM PT
TV: TSN 1/3/4
In many was the Fire are a very similar team to the Whitecaps. They keep about the same amount of possession, have about the same pass accuracy, and have about the same number of shots per game. Both teams have conceded 9 goals in 5 matches, though the Fire have managed to score 7 goals to the Whitecaps 4.
The Fire play a 4-2-3-1. Bastian Schweinsteiger and Marcelo play as the centre backs and both are quite comfortable on the ball. In front of them are Dax McCarty who links defence to attack and Superdraft pick Mo Adams as the destroyer. Homegrown Djordje Mihailovic plays as a #10. C.J Sapong plays as a sort of wide target man on one side and Aleksander Katai is a more traditional wide player. Nemanja Nikolic is the striker. It’s a slightly more direct style, looking for the runs of Nemanja Nikolic in transition or for the big physical presence that is C.J Sapong. Last week against TFC they scored both their goals by capitalizing on comical attempts to play out of the back (do we know of any teams that do that a lot?). Despite mostly having all the hallmarks of a bang average MLS team, the Fire have done a good job of limiting the number of scoring chances their opponents get. They concede just a little over half the shots per game that the Whitecaps do (the ‘Caps currently concede more total shots than anyone). In short the fire are the sort team, stylistically, who could really give the ‘Caps troubles.
But wait! There is a path to victory! Although the Fire don’t give up a ton of shots, the shots they do give up tend to be of pretty high quality. Almost 20% of their shots against are in the 6 yard box. They also struggled mightily with the physical presence of Jozy Altidore so perhaps someone like Joaquin Ardaiz, if Marc Dos Santos chooses to go back to him, could cause them trouble. It will all come down to if the Whitecaps are able to finish their chances when they come, which has obviously been a problem so far.
- OUT: M - Michael Baldisimo (left ankle contusion)
- OUT: D - Jasser Khmiri (left knee injury)
- OUT: M - Andy Rose (facial fracture)
- OUT: M - David Norman Jr. (right foot surgery)
- OUT: D - Andre Reynolds II (thigh injury)
- OUT: D - Jorge Corrales (groin injury)
- OUT: M - Raheem Edwards (knee injury)
- OUT: M - Przemyslaw Frankowski (groin injury)
- OUT: F - Fabian Herbers (groin injury)
Chicago: Ousted; Gutjahr, Marcelo, Schweinsteiger, Kappelhoff; Adams, McCarty; Sapong, Mihailovic, Katai; Nikolic
Vancouver: Crepeau; Adnan, Henry, Godoy, Nerwinski; Erice, Teibert, Felipe; Hwang, Montero, Venuto.
Vancouver has enough chances to get a result but ultimately Chicago is more clinical and gets a 1-0 victory.