Chicago Fire vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC | 2017 MLS Match Preview
Chicago Fire vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC
2017 MLS Match Preview
Toyota Park – Chicago
Saturday, June 30 – 7 p.m. ET
WATCH: TSN1; MLS LIVE in US
Vancouver Whitecaps FC are trying to ascend into Western Conference contention, and this week the tall task is ending a Chicago Fire undefeated league run that the Supporters' Shield challengers have pushed to a 2017 MLS-best nine games (7-0-2). The Fire run includes a chance at an eighth consecutive home victory – something, per Opta Sports, that they've never before accomplished within a single season (though they did pull off the feat from Aug. 6, 2000-May 19, 2001).
With the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup around the corner, both teams have key players away on international duty. Chicago teammates David Accam and Dax McCarty will square off in a Saturday friendly; Vancouver's sending four players to Canada camp, most notably 16-year-old phenom Alphonso Davies.
The victories keep coming for Chicago, and the contributions are from all over the field. Last week was Accam's chance to play hero – and did he ever, demolishing Orlando City SC in a 4-0 rout. But his international exit means the baton is fresh for the passing, and the offensive spotlight is likely to fall (once again) on MLS Golden Boot leader Nemanja Nikolic, who even managed to sneak one in during Accam's big day.
- Suspended: NONE
- Int’l Duty: David Accam (Ghana), Dax McCarty (United States)
- Injury Report: OUT: F - David Arshakyan (right ankle), M - John Goossens (right ankle surgery), GK - Jorge Bava (left elbow tendinitis)
Projected Starting XI (4-3-3) GK: Matt Lampson – Matt Polster, Johan Kappelhof, Joao Meira, Brandon Vincent – Juninho, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Michael de Leeuw – Luis Solignac, Nemanja Nikolic, Daniel Johnson
Notes: Nemanja Nikolic leads the league with 33 shots on target. No other player has more than 30, and only 15 players have more than 20 shots on target this year.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
The 'Caps are in the midst of a sneaky-good run, making a (very) gradual climb toward the top of the West – robbing themselves of two points last week by allowing Minnesota to equalize from 2-0 down. They could get a boost from the return of forward Yordy Reyna, who's raring to take the field after missing four months with a foot injury. Head coach Carl Robinson cautioned Reyna isn't quite fit to start, but could be in line for a sprinkle of playing time toward the end of Saturday's match.
Overall, Cristian Techera has begun to assert his playmaking skill, and the potential for combination play between him, Reyna, Fredy Montero and Brek Shea in the attacking half has to be encouraging for Vancouver fans, who've pinned their hopes on many a supposed savior to develop into some kind of consistent scoring threat. Could be looking at a "sum of all parts" special.
- Suspended: NONE
- Int’l Duty: Sam Adekugbe (Canada), Alphonso Davies (Canada), Marcel de Jong (Canada), Russell Teibert (Canada)
- Injury Report: OUT: D - Brett Levis (ACL tear), D - David Edgar (PCL, MCL tear), D - Kendall Waston (hand surgery); QUESTIONABLE: M - Christian Bolaños (right shoulder sprain), D - Christian Dean (left foot stress fracture), F - Erik Hurtado (left foot fracture), M - Nicolas Mezquida (right high ankle sprain), F - Yordy Reyna (left foot fracture)
Projected Starting XI (4-1-4-1) GK: David Ousted — Jake Nerwinski, Andrew Jacobson, Tim Parker, Jordan Harvey — Matias Laba — Cristian Techera, Tony Tchani, Bernie Ibini, Brek Shea — Fredy Montero
Notes: Vancouver has won three of the last four meetings against Chicago (3-1-1). In their seven all-time meetings, the Whitecaps have only conceded multiple goals to the Fire once.
- All-time: Vancouver 4 wins (10 goals)…Chicago 1 wins (5 goals)…Ties 2
- At Chicago: Vancouver 1 win, 1 goal…Chicago 1 wins, 1 goal…Ties 2
Referee: Ismail Elfath
Assistant Referees: Kermit Quisenberry, Daniel Belleau
Fourth Official: Rubiel Vazquez