ExLink - 05/09/18 - CHIvMTL

Chicago Fire vs. Montreal Impact
2018 MLS Regular Season – Week 11
Toyota Park — Bridgeview
May 9 - 8:30 pm ET

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It is a midweek clash between two teams look to move closer to the playoff line in the Eastern Conference.

After positive results on the road against the New York Red Bulls and Toronto FC, the Chicago Fire returned home, but suffered a 2-1 defeat to Atlanta United, while the Montreal Impact snapped a four-match losing streak with an emphatic 4-2 home win over the New England Revolution Saturday.

Chicago Fire   

After seeing success with Bastian Schweinsteiger as a sweeper, Veljko Paunovic moved the German icon up the field to play behind forwards Nemanja Nikolic and Aleksandar Katai in an altered 4-1-2-1-2 formation with an unchanged XI from a 2-2 draw against TFC a week prior.

Chicago (2-4-2) fell into a two-goal hole as Ezequiel Barco and Josef Martinez scored four minutes apart early in the second half. Kevin Ellis pulled the Fire within a goal with an impressive lob in the 61st minute, but there wouldn’t be any late-game equalizing dramatics this time around.

“I’m proud of the effort of our team, our guys,” Paunovic said after the game. “I think we played the mature game, I think we played the game against a very good team. I think we did a huge effort in the first half, we were the better team and we also had a good second half, except the two details that decided the game.”

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: M - Djordje Mihailovic (right ACL surgery), F - Michael de Leeuw (left ACL surgery), D - Matt Polster (MCL sprain), F - Luis Solignac (left quad), M - Jon Bakero (right ankle), GK - Stefan Cleveland (low back pain); QUESTIONABLE: M - Drew Conner (right gastric injury), D - Rafael Ramos (left ankle)

Projected Starting XI
(4-1-2-1-2, right to left)
GK: Richard Sanchez — Kevin Ellis, Johan Kappelhof, Grant Lillard, Brandon Vincent — Dax McCarty — Mo Adams, Elliott Collier — Bastian Schweinsteiger — Nemanja Nikolic, Aleksandar Katai

  • Notes: The Fire have won two of their last four games against the Impact (1L-1D), despite outscoring them by just one goal, 6-5 ... The Fire have conceded multiple goals in three of their five home games this year; they allowed multiple goals just four times in 17 league home matches in 2017 ... Four of Nemanja Nikolic’s five goals this season have come in the second half of matches; only Atlanta’s Miguel Almiron (six) has more.

Montreal Impact

Remi Garde made three changes from the team that fell 4-1 to Atlanta the week prior, with Victor Cabrera replacing Rudy Camacho in central defense and Raheem Edwards and Anthony Jackson-Hamel part of a three-man forward line, moving Ken Krolicki and Jeisson Vargas to the bench.

Jackson-Hamel scored the first of back-to-back goals in first-half stoppage time and put his team ahead 2-0 six minutes into the second half. Edwards and Ignacio Piatti scored three minutes apart to extend the lead to 4-0 before Wilfried Zahibo netted a late brace for the Revs.

It was a measure of revenge for the Impact (3-6-0), who were reduced to 10 men early and suffered a 4-0 defeat at Gillette Stadium last month.

“I like that we score goals, of course. The way we did it was very interesting,” Garde said after the match. “I told the guys at halftime we wanted to win the second half because we have been in good position in recent weeks without any positive conclusion.”

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: D - Zakaria Diallo (ruptured Achilles tendon), D - Kyle Fisher (tibia), M - Marco Donadel (gluteal muscle injury), M - David Choiniere (ankle surgery); QUESTIONABLE: D - Rod Fanni (thigh)

Projected Starting XI
(4-3-3, right to left)
GK: Evan Bush — Chris Duvall, Victor Cabrera, Jukka Raitala, Daniel Lovitz — Alejandro Silva, Samuel Piette, Saphir Taider — Raheem Edwards, Anthony Jackson-Hamel, Ignacio Piatti

  • Notes: Montreal have won just one of their last nine road games (8L), allowing an average of 2.3 goals per game over that span ... Ignacio Piatti has had a hand in 78.6 percent of Montreal’s goals in 2018 (11 of their 14 goals – five goals, six assists), No other player has had a hand in more than 60 percent.

All-Time Series

  • Overall: Chicago Fire 5 wins, 23 goals .. Montreal Impact 6 wins, 22 goals … 5 draws
  • At Chicago: Fire 3 wins, 13 goals … Impact 1 win, 8 goals … 3 draws
  • Last meeting at Chicago: Chicago Fire 2, Montreal Impact 2 (April 1, 2017)


Referee: Sorin Stoica
Assistant Referees: Andrew Bigelow, Oscar Mitchell-Carvalho
4th Official: Fotis Bazakos
VAR: Hilario Grajeda