BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Two teams with hugely contrasting form meet at Toyota Park on Saturday, as the stuttering Chicago Fire host a resurgent FC Dallas (8:30 pm ET, MLS LIVE).
Dallas (12-7-6, 42 pts) arrive in Chicago on an impressive run of six wins in seven games, which has propelled them into third place in the Western Conference, just three points behind leaders the Seattle Sounders.
In contrast, the Fire (4-6-14, 26 pts) have struggled for consistency with just one victory in seven games seeing them languish second from bottom in the East with ten games to play.
With just two home wins at Toyota Park all season, head coach Frank Yallop says his side are “due” a victory in front of their own fans. But that will be a tough prospect against Oscar Pareja’s FCD side.
“Dallas themselves are flying right now," Yallop told reporters this week."They’re a good side, well coached, well drilled, dangerous side that have a ton of confidence and that’s always dangerous too. But we feel confident that we can get a good home win. We’re due one for sure.”
Yallop will be without long-term absentee Patrick Nyarko (knee) and Mike Magee (hip), although Nyarko is close to a return to action after taking a full part in training for the first time in three months this week.
“Mike’s struggling, to be honest,” Yallop said of joint top scorer Magee, who also missed last week’s 2-2 draw at Toronto FC. “He’s got a problem with his right hip so it’s throwing everything else out. I spoke to him this morning again and he just wants to get it right. He hasn’t trained properly, he’s been missing practice so we’ve given him time to sort out what he had and hopefully he’ll be ready for next week.”
Thankfully, Yallop does not believe the injury will keep the reigning MLS MVP out for too long, and he expects him to be available for next week’s trip to face the New England Revolution.
He added: “It’s not a long term thing, it’s more of a letting it settle down, get him straightened up and looked at and hopefully he’ll get the all-clear from our medical staff and he’ll be ready for us for the following weekend.”
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“Castillo is on fire, so we’ve just got to be on our game," Yallop said. "They did the business with 10 men against Salt Lake, who are a very good side, so take nothing away from Dallas. They’re a good side and it’ll be a tough game.”