ExLink - 10/28/18 - CHIvDC

Chicago Fire vs. DC United | 2018 MLS Match Preview

Chicago Fire vs. D.C. United
2018 MLS Regular Season — Week 35

Toyota Park — Bridgeview, Ill.
October 28 — 4:30 pm ET

Red-hot D.C. United can earn the right to host a Knockout Round match in the Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs with a Decision Day presented by AT&T win over the Chicago Fire Sunday at Toyota Park.

The Black-and-Red have won five straight games for the first time since 2007 and are unbeaten in eight consecutive following a 3-1 win over New York City FC to cap a seven-game homestand on Sunday, while the Fire suffered a 2-1 loss to Atlanta United at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

This is the second league meeting this season, with D.C. United winning 2-1 at Audi Field on Oct. 7. After canceling out Raheem Edwards’ opening goal with a 62nd-minute equalizer, Wayne Rooney scored the winning goal from the penalty spot 19 minutes later.

Chicago Fire

Chicago (8-18-7) made the 70,000-plus at Mercedes-Benz Stadium squirm a bit before Atlanta pulled out a 2-1 victory Sunday.

Franco Escobar opened the scoring with a left-footed strike in the ninth minute for his first MLS goal, but Michael de Leeuw leveled in the 24th minute with his second goal of season. It took the Five Stripes just two minutes, though, to take the lead for good on a Johan Kappelhof own goal.

"We are playing our last home game,” de Leeuw said. “We just want to give the fans something. We want to give the fans one last show, if you want to call it that.”

  • Suspended: D - Johan Kappelhof
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: F - Luis Solignac (right adductor injury), D - Christian Dean (right hamstring injury)’ QUESTIONABLE: D - Grant Lillard (left quad injury)

Projected Starting XI
(4-2-3-1, right to left)
GK: Patrick McLain — Matt Polster, Jonathan Campbell, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Brandon Vincent — Dax McCarty, Brandt Bronico — Michael de Leeuw, Djordje Mihailovic, Aleksandar Katai — Nemanja Nikolic

  • Notes: Aleksandar Katai has scored five goals from outside the box, tied for the fourth most by a MLS player since the start of the 2010 season. … Since a 4-3 loss to the Union on July 11, the Fire have allowed just five goals in five home games in league play (2W-2L-1D).

D.C. United

After winning just twice in their opening 14 games, D.C. United (14-11-8) went from the basement to a playoff berth in the Eastern Conference following a 3-1 win over NYCFC at Audi Field Sunday afternoon.

Luciano Acosta did the NYCFC defense dirty, slicing through five players, before cutting the ball back to Rooney for a tap-in to give United an early 1-0 lead. Acosta curled in a shot from outside the box to double the hosts lead in the 24th minute and Rooney added his second, and team-leading 11th of the season, from the penalty spot in the 74th minute after Alex Ring handled the ball.

A win over the Fire, coupled with an NYCFC win or draw against the Philadelphia Union, would guarantee hosting a Knockout Round match. It could also happen on a tiebreaker if the Union win at Yankee Stadium.

“I haven’t put a lot of thought into it, but on the surface, a home game is a big deal especially for a knockout game,” head coach Ben Olsen said. “That is all stuff I will ponder tonight over a quiet bourbon.”

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: D - Taylor Kemp (labrum surgery), GK - David Ousted (elbow surgery), D - Chris Odoi-Atsem (Hodgkin’s lymphoma), D - Vytas (hip injury), D - Oniel Fisher (knee surgery),  D - Kofi Opare (hip injury)

Projected Starting XI
(4-2-3-1, right to left)
GK: Bill Hamid — Paul Arriola, Frederic Brillant, Steve Birnbaum, Joseph Mora — Russell Canouse, Junior Moreno — Ulises Segura, Luciano Acosta, Yamil Asad — Wayne Rooney

  • Notes: This will be just the fifth road game for United since Rooney’s debut on July 14 (2L-2D). Their nine points in league road games this season would be their second fewest in a season since 2010. … Bill Hamid has a save percentage of 80.3 percent, on pace to record the fourth-best save percentage in a single season for a keeper in league history (min. 40 saves).

All-Time Series

  • Overall: Chicago Fire 20 wins, 86 goals … D.C. United 23 wins, 89 goals … 15 draws
  • At Chicago: Fire 11 wins, 46 goals … D.C. United 7 wins, 33 goals … 10 draws
  • Last meeting at Chicago: Chicago Fire 3, D.C. United 0 (Sept. 16, 2017)


Referee: Nima Saghafi
Assistant Referees: Ian Anderson, Peter Manikowski
4th Official: Joseph Dickerson
VAR: Jorge Gonzalez