ExLink - 09/16/18 - CHIvORL

Chicago Fire vs. Orlando City SC | 2018 MLS Match Preview

Chicago Fire vs. Orlando City SC
2018 MLS Regular Season — Week 29

Toyota Park — Bridgeview
Sept. 16 — 5 pm ET


Two teams looking to end long winless streaks meet in the Week 29 finale when Orlando City SC meet the Chicago Fire on Sunday evening.

This is the second meeting this season, with the Fire winning 2-1 in Orlando on May 26. After Cristian Higuita canceled out Aleksandar Katai’s early goal, Alan Gordon came off the bench to score the winner eight minutes from full time.

The Fire have won the last two meetings by a combined score of 6-1. They had six goals in their first six games against Orlando (2L-4D), per Opta.

Chicago Fire

Chicago (6-15-6) return to action after a 24-day layoff since a 1-1 draw with Columbus Crew SC on August 23 that snapped an eight-match losing streak.

Since that point, the Fire played Bayern Munich in the Bastian Schweinsteiger testimonial in Munich on August 28 and have been on the training ground for 10 days.

"We're extremely motivated and eager to get back to a game," Djordje Mihailovic said. "I know we have a lot of space to make up in the playoff run but we're all really motivated and believe that we can do it."

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: M - Jorge Corrales
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: D - Matt Polster (MCL surgery), GK - Patrick McLain (hamstring injury), M/D - Diego Campos (left MCL injury); QUESTIONABLE: D - Jonathan Campbell (left adductor injury), F - Luis Solignac (right adductor injury)

Projected Starting XI
(3-4-2-1, right to left)
GK: Richard Sanchez — Johan Kappelhof, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Brandon Vincent — Nico Hasler, Dax McCarty, Brandt Bronico, Raheem Edwards — Djordje Mihailovic, Alesandar Katai — Nemanja Nikolic

  • Notes: Nemanja Nikolic has six goals in his last eight appearances for Chicago, as many as he had in his first 16 appearances this year. … The Fire snapped an eight-game losing streak with a 1-1 draw to Columbus in their last game on Aug. 23. They have just one win in their last 13 MLS games (8L-4D).

Orlando City SC

In one of just four matches in an abbreviated Week 28, Orlando (7-17-3) fell to Sporting Kansas City, 1-0, at Children’s Mercy Park Saturday. It was the Lions’ sixth loss in their last eight games.

Dom Dwyer had a pair of golden chances to level against his former team, but Tim Melia denied him on both occasions.

“They’ve changed, they’ve been playing with a back three and they obviously have good players,” James O’Connor said of the Fire. “We’ve watched a few of their games already, I think they have players that can hurt you. I think the biggest thing, and even going back to the KC game, the big moments when they pop up in the game, you need to take them. The transition moments become really important.”

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: M - Sacha Kljestan, F - Dom Dwyer
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: GK - Mason Stajduhar (Localized Ewing Sarcoma), D - Chris Schuler (groin injury); QUESTIONABLE: D - Lamine Sane (quad injury)

Projected Starting XI
(4-2-3-1, right to left)
GK: Joe Bendik — Scott Sutter, Shane O’Neill, Carlos Ascues, Scott Sutter — Will Johnson, Uri Rosell — Cristian Higuita, Sacha Kljestan, Yoshi Yotun — Dom Dwyer

  • Notes: Sacha Kljestan is averaging 0.3 assists per 90 this season, on pace to be his lowest total since moving back to MLS in 2015. … Orlando City have just one win in their last 18 MLS games (15L-2D). They have just eight points in league play since May 1, seven fewer than any other club.

All-Time Series

  • Overall: Orlando City SC 2 wins, 9 goals ... Chicago Fire 2 win, 12 goals ... 4 draws 
  • At Orlando: Orlando City SC 0 wins, 3 goals ... Fire 1 wins, 4 goals ... 3 draws 
  • Last meeting at Orlando.: Orlando City SC 1, Chicago Fire 2 (May 26, 2018)


Referee: Allen Chapman
Assistant Referees: Nick Uranga, Peter Manikowski
4th Official: Daniel Radford
VAR: Caleb Mendez