Chicago Fire vs. Montreal Impact | 2017 MLS Match Preview
Chicago Fire vs. Montreal Impact
2017 MLS Regular Season
Toyota Park - Bridgeview, Ill.
Saturday, April 1 - 3:00 p.m. ET
WATCH: MLS LIVE in US | CTV, TVA Sports, TSN4 in Canada
The Chicago Fire and Montreal Impact return to MLS action after the international break with one team getting a new star player, while another may be losing one for awhile. Bastian Schweinsteiger touched down in Chicago on Wednesday and is available for selection on Saturday for the Fire, and his new team got a break as Ignacio Piatti is reportedly out several weeks with a groin injury.
The two Eastern Conference teams have had inconsistent starts to the season, with only one win combined between the two of them. Chicago were victimized in Week 3 by Atlanta United FC, after Johan Kappelhof was shown a red card early on. They had previously been one of the most exciting stories to start the season after a draw in Columbus and win against Real Salt Lake.
Montreal have yet to win a game this season but are coming in after two very different types of draws. In Week 2 they coughed up a 2-0 lead to the Seattle Sounders, with Will Bruin scoring the equalizer in stoppage time. A week later they earned a 1-1 draw at New York City FC thanks to an 68th minute goal from Dominic Oduro.
Schweinsteiger is the big news for Veljko Paunovic's team, but the German legend is unlikely to receive a significant amount of playing time against the Impact. Two players who will likely start for the Fire are Dax McCarty and Juninho. McCarty will be coming off international duty with the US national team and will look to build off their performance against RSL and place themselves as one of the top center midfield pairings in MLS.
The one change we should see in the Fire's lineup is Jonathan Campbell replacing Kappelhof after the Dutchman was shown red. The former North Carolina center back had a stellar rookie season but was pushed to the bench at the start of 2017. He will try and show why he deserves his starting job against Montreal.
- Suspended: D - Johan Kappelhof
- Int’l Duty: None
- Injury Report: OUT - M Matt Polster (right knee strain), M John Goossens (right ankle surgery), M Drew Conner (left lower leg); QUESTIONABLE - Michael de Leeuw (left hamstring)
Projected Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Jorge Rodrigo Bava – Michael Harrington, Joao Meira, Jonathan Campbell, Brandon Vincent – Dax McCarty, Juninho – Arturo Alvarez, Michael de Leeuw, David Accam – Nemanja Nikolic
Notes: Jonathan Campbell is likely to make his first start of 2017...Bastian Schweinsteiger's last appearance came on February 22 with Manchester United...Chicago’s Joao Meira is completing 90.1 percent of his passes this season, the highest percentage of any defender and the fifth-highest of any MLS player. (min. 100 passes attempted).
- Over 500 fans welcome Schweinsteiger to Chicago
- Armchair Analyst: Fire triple down on central midfield
- How the Fire landed Schweinsteiger
The reported absence of Piatti cannot be understated. Head coach Mauro Biello has built his team around the counterattacking ability of Piatti and without him, that whole strategy could fall apart. The Impact have precious little depth on the wing, with Dominic Oduro set to start on the right and Andres Romero dealing with a hamstring injury. Teenage midfielder Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla could see his first start for Montreal.
Without Piatti, Montreal could also make a formation change by putting two forwards up top, pairing Matteo Mancosu with Anthony Jackson-Hamel. Either way, Montreal will want a win against a conference foe that they are likely to be battling with for a playoff spot.
- Suspended: None
- Int’l Duty: None
- Injury Report: OUT – M Ignacio Piatti (groin injury), M Andres Romero (hamstring injury), M Shamit Shome (foot injury); QUESTIONABLE - M Patrice Bernier (calf injury), D Laurent Ciman (knee injury)
Projected Starting XI (4-3-3): Evan Bush – Chris Duvall, Hassoun Camara, Victor Cabrera, Ambroise Oyongo – Marco Donadel, Calum Mallace, Hernan Bernardello – Dominic Oduro, Matteo Mancosu, Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla
Notes: Patrice Bernier has created eight chances (including assists) this season. The rest of the Montreal Impact have combined for 12 created chances.
This series has been pretty evenly matched in the past, with the Impact owning one more win than the Fire.
- ALL-TIME: Montreal lead 5-4-4 (Impact - 17 goals, Fire - 20 goals)
- AT TOYOTA PARK: Fire lead 3-1-2 (Fire - 11 goals, Impact - 6 goals)
Referee: Ismail Elfath
Assistant Referees: Frank Anderson, Corey Parker
Fourth Official: Geoff Gamble