Chicago Fire vs. New York City FC | 2018 MLS Match Preview
Chicago Fire vs. New York City FC
2018 MLS Regular Season — Week 18
Toyota Park — Bridgeview
June 30 - 8 pm ET
WATCH: ESPN+, MLS LIVE on DAZN (Canada)
Following a 2-1 win over Toronto FC in Domènec Torrent’s debut as head coach, New York City FC will be looking to reverse their road form from the first half of the season when they head to Toyota Park to meet a Chicago Fire side that is unbeaten in their last four with three consecutive draws.
Since losing the first meeting between the two clubs, New York City FC are unbeaten against the Chicago Fire (3W-3D), averaging 2.2 goals per game, per Opta.
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Aleksandar Katai struck in the ninth minute, but Chicago (5-7-5) were unable to tack onto that early lead and settled for a 1-1 draw with Seattle Sounders FC after Clint Dempsey netted his first goal of the year in the 22nd minute Saturday at CenturyLink Field.
“I think the pieces are fitting together better and I think the guys now know better each other. I’m talking about the new players, who had opportunity to play, who actually needed time to get on the same page with the old guys,” Veljko Paunovic said. “It’s getting to the point where we are understanding much better each other and now the team actually plays more as a team.”
- Suspended: D - Johan Kappelhof
- Suspended after next caution: D - Kevin Ellis
- International duty: None
- Injury Report: OUT: M - Djordje Mihailovic (right ACL surgery), F - Michael de Leeuw (left ACL surgery), D - Matt Polster (MCL surgery), GK - Patrick McLain (hamstring injury), D - Drew Conner (right calf injury)
Projected Starting XI
(4-3-3, right to left)
GK: Richard Sanchez — Diego Campos, Jonathan Campbell, Brandon Vincent, Jorge Corrales — Brandt Bronico, Dax McCarty, Bastian Schweinsteiger — Luis Solignac, Nemanja Nikolic, Aleksandar Katai
- Notes: Brandt Bronico has three assists in four appearances in June, tied for the most of any MLS player. … The Fire are unbeaten in their last four matches, which includes the current run of three straight draws (1W). They have not drawn four consecutive league games since doing so in six straight from March-Apr. 2014.
New York City FC
It wasn’t a great first half for Torrent, who saw his team fall behind on a Victor Vazquez goal and his captain go off injured as David Villa left in the 28th minute with a right knee injury. But Torrent made some tactical tweaks and Jo Inge Berget netted a second-half brace as NYCFC (9-3-4) are now three games without defeat and have lost once in their last six.
“We have to play a little quicker,” Torrent said. “Sometimes in the first [half], we passed the ball and nothing happened. Everybody knows we have a player like Jo, he’s able to play like a striker, sometimes we play quick, long ball, set the ball and attack and attack quickly. It’s the best way.”
- Suspended: None
- Suspended after next caution: None
- International duty: M - Rodney Wallace
- Injury Report: OUT: M - Yangel Herrera (ankle surgery), D - Cedric Houtondji (hamstring injury), D - Ronald Matarrita (hamstring injury), F - David Villa (right knee injury)
Projected Starting XI
(4-3-3, right to left)
GK: Sean Johnson — Anton Tinnerholm, Sebastian Ibeagha, Alex Callens, Ben Sweat — Alex Ring, Ebenezer Ofori, Maxi Moralez — Jesus Medina, Jo Inge Berget, Ismael Tajouri-Shradi
- Notes: Berget’s brace last weekend made him the third different NYCFC player to record one in 2018, tied for the most players with a brace on a single team. … This will be the Cityzens’ first league road game in more than a month (most recent: 3-1 loss to Houston on May 25). They are winless in their last five MLS matches away from home (3L-2D), conceding 2.8 goals per game.
- Overall: Chicago Fire 1 win, 9 goals … New York City FC 3 wins, 13 goals … 3 draws
- At Chicago: Fire 1 win, 5 goals … NYCFC 1 win, 5 goals … 1 draw
- Last meeting at Chicago: Chicago Fire 1, New York City FC 1 (Sept. 30, 2017)
Referee: Chris Penso
Assistant Referees: Jeremy Hanson, Oscar Mitchell-Carvalho
4th Official: Rubiel Vazquez
VAR: Caleb Mendez