ExLink - 04/28/18 - TORvCHI

Toronto FC vs. Chicago Fire | 2018 MLS Match Preview

Toronto FC vs. Chicago Fire
2018 MLS Regular Season - Week 9
BMO Field - Toronto
April 28 - 3 pm ET
WATCH: CTV, TSN, ESPN+

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Toronto FC will have the difficult task of picking themselves up after their devastating defeat on penalty kicks in the Concacaf Champions League final and shifting focus to the MLS regular season.

Meanwhile, the Chicago Fire head to BMO Field full of confidence after handing the New York Red Bulls their first home loss of the season last Saturday.

Toronto have won six straight in MLS play against the Fire. They had won three of their first 20 matches against Chicago (9L-8D), per Opta.

Toronto FC

After coming agonizingly close to capturing the CCL title, only to have a Marky Delgado sitter sail over the bar in second-half stoppage time, Toronto return from Guadalajara with the grueling tournament behind them.

But what toll did the CCL take? TFC come home bruised and battered, physically and mentally drained.

“I have no complaints for my team,” TFC coach Greg Vanney said in his post-match press conference. “We worked hard. This tournament has been a grind and we battled the entire way, all the way to the end. Congratulations to Chivas, they won. I've got nothing to say to my guys other than I'm proud of them.”

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: D - Nick Hagglund (hamstring); QUESTIONABLE: M - Victor Vazquez (back spasms); PROBABLE: D - Chris Mavinga (abdominal discomfort), D - Gregory van der Wiel (Achilles), F - Jozy Altidore (foot), D - Justin Morrow (calf strain), D - Drew Moor (undisclosed)

Projected Starting XI
(3-5-2, right to left)
GK: Alex Bono — Gregory van der Wiel, Jason Hernandez, Jullian Dunn-Johnson — Auro, Marky Delgado, Michael Bradley, Jonathan Osorio, Ashtone Morgan — Jordan Hamilton, Sebastian Giovinco

  • Notes: Toronto have conceded three goals in the first 15 minutes of games this season, tied for the most in the league. They allowed six goals in the opening 15 minutes of matches in the 2017 regular season. … The Reds have lost four of their first five matches this season (1W), getting outscored 11-4 in the process.

Chicago Fire

Was it the definition of a smash-and-grab victory? Does it even matter? The Fire (2-3-1) conceded possession and were outshot 22-4, but they were more clinical in putting away their chances and came away with a 2-1 win over the Red Bulls Saturday.

Aleksandar Katai opened the scoring with a stunning strike, latching into an Aaron Long headed clearance to beat Luis Robles with a full volley from just outside the 18-yard box. Chicago then hit the Red Bulls on a counter, with Katai being pulled down by Robles in the box and Nemanja Nikolic putting away the decisive penalty kick in the 69th minute.

On the other end, Richard Sanchez was brilliant, making nine saves en route to being named to the MLS Team of the Week presented by Audi for Week 8.

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: D - Jorge Corrales (infection), F - Michael de Leeuw (left ACL), M - Djorjde Mihailovic (right ACL), M - Matt Polster (right MCL), F - Luis Solignac (left quad)

Projected Starting XI
(3-4-3, right to left)
GK: Richard Sanchez —  Johan Kappelhof, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Grant Lillard — Kevin Ellis, Mo Adams, Dax McCarty, Brandon Vincent — Elliot Collier, Nemanja Nikolic, Aleksandar Katai

  • Notes: In the 29 games in which Bastian Schweinsteiger has played in, the Fire have a passing accuracy of 75.2 percent in the opponent's half, as opposed to 68.7 percent in the 11 games he has not played in since the start of last season. … Chicago have lost just one of their last four MLS matches (2W-1D) after losing four straight (inc. playoffs).

All-Time Series

  • Overall: Toronto FC 9 wins, 42 goals … Chicago Fire 9 wins, 41 goals … 8 ties
  • At Toronto: Toronto FC 7 wins, 28 goals … Chicago Fire 4 wins, 24 goals … 3 ties
  • Last meeting at Toronto: Toronto FC 3, Chicago Fire 1 (April 21, 2017)

Officials

Referee: Alan Kelly
Assistant Referees: Brian Dunn, Logan Brown
4th Official: Nima Saghafi
VAR: Kevin Terry Jr