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New York City FC vs. Chicago Fire | 2018 MLS Match Preview

NYCFC vs. Chicago Fire
2018 MLS Regular Season — Week 31

Yankee Stadium — Bronx
Sept. 26 — 7 pm ET
WATCH: ESPN+, MLS LIVE on DAZN (Canada)

New York City FC have another chance to clinch a berth in the MLS Cup playoffs — and win for only the second time in the last 10 games when they host a Chicago Fire squad that is unbeaten in their last three.

NYCFC squandered a chance to book a playoff spot when they drew the Montreal Impact, 1-1, on Saturday, while the Fire earned a 2-2 draw against the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium.

This is the second meeting this season, with the Fire winning 3-2 at home on June 30. After Nemanja Nikolic opened the scoring on six minutes, Ismael Tajouri-Shradi and Jo Inge Berget struck four minutes apart to put the visitors in front, 2-1, at the break. Aleksandar Katai bagged a brace inside of five minutes early in the second half to lift the hosts to victory.

This will be the ninth-ever meeting between the two clubs. NYCFC have won three of the previous eight games, with two draws and two losses. There has been an average of 3.4 goals per game across these eight matches, per Opta.

New York City FC

NYCFC (14-8-8) opened another stretch of three games in eight days with a 1-1 draw against the Impact at Stade Saputo Saturday night.

Scoring has suddenly become an issue for NYCFC, who took the lead on a Rudy Camacho own goal in the 17th minute. However, 10 minutes later Michael Azira leveled for the Impact, as the Cityzens were eliminated from Supporters’ Shield contention.

“We played much better [than] the last three or four games away. The performance has been much better,” Dome Torrent said. “We had the control of the game, but they used the counterattack, especially the last 15 minutes in the first half. They decided to defend deep. They are a dangerous team when they make a counterattack. We knew that. But we controlled them well. The most important thing for us is we kept the ball, we controlled 70 percent of the game.”

  • Suspended: D - Alex Callens
  • Suspended after next caution: M - Tommy McNamara, M - Yangel Herrera
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: M - Yangel Herrera (ankle injury), D - Cedric Hountondji (hamstring injury); QUESTIONABLE: M - Jesus Medina (hamstring injury)

Projected Starting XI
(4-3-3, right to left)
GK: Sean Johnson — Anton Tinnerholm, Maxime Chanot, Sebastian Ibeagha, Ben Sweat — Alex Ring, Ebenezer Ofori, Maxi Moralez — Ismael Tajouri-Shradi, David Villa, Valentin Castellanos

  • Notes: In the 16 games that Tajouri-Shradi has started for NYCFC this season, they average 2.0 goals and 1.8 points per game. In the 14 matches that he has not started, those fall to 1.4 goals and 1.5 points per game. … NYCFC have won just once in their last nine matches (4L-4D) and have been outscored 15-10 along that run.

Chicago Fire

It’s back-to-back positive results for the Chicago Fire (7-15-7) after returning from Munich, who dented the Revs' playoff hopes with a 2-2 draw at Gillette Stadium Saturday night.

Katai scored the lone goal of the first half before Scott Caldwell leveled in the 62nd minute. Five minutes later, an own goal by Michael Mancienne gave the Fire their second lead of the game. However, Cristian Penilla equalized in short order in the Fire’s third straight match without defeat.

“I’m satisfied with the point, completely satisfied with the team play and performance so far,” Veljko Paunovic said. “Our team, our boys did a fantastic game. In difficult moments also we were capable of coming back and I think the team improved a lot since the last couple of months and I’m happy with the spirit we have right now.”

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: M - Jorge Corrales
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: D - Matt Polster (MCL surgery), M/D - Diego Campos (left MCL injury), M - Mo Adams (right hamstring injury), F - Luis Solignac (right adductor injury), D - Christian Dean (right hamstring injury), D - Grant Lillard (left quad injury); QUESTIONABLE: M - Bastian Schweinsteiger (undisclosed injury)

Projected Starting XI
(4-2-3-1, right to left)
GK: Richard Sanchez — Nico Hasler, Johan Kappelhof, Jonathan Campbell, Brandon Vincent — Dax McCarty, Brandt Bronico — Aleksandar Katai, Djordje Mihailovic, Michael de Leeuw — Nemanja Nikolic

  • Notes: Dax McCarty had two assists in Chicago’s 3-2 victory over NYCFC earlier this year. He has two goals and two assists against NYCFC all-time. His 0.5 goals+assists per 90 average against NYCFC is his third highest against any one opponent since the start of the 2010 season. … Chicago are winless in their last nine road games (6L-3D) and have been outscored 21-11 along the way. It has been 17 road games since the Fire kept a clean sheet (1-0 win over Montreal on September 2 of last year).

All-Time Series

Officials

Referee: Jair Marrufo
Assistant Referees: Adam Garner, Jeremy Kieso
4th Official: Robert Sibiga
VAR: Mark Geiger

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Current Form

NYCFC
L
D
L
L
D
D
Chicago
L
L
L
D
W
D

Season Stats

New York City FCChicago Fire
30Games Played29
14Wins7
8Losses15
8Draws7
52Goals43
39Goals Conceded54
368Shots237
156Shots on Target117
410Fouls committed338
309Fouls suffered268
68Offside75
173Corners129

Goals Scored

01234+TotalAvg
NYC481242521.7
CHI412931431.5
01234+Avg
NYC145322.1
CHI263311.7
01234+Avg
NYC347101.4
CHI266001.3

Goals Conceded

01234+TotalAvg
NYC99741391.3
CHI381062541.9
01234+Avg
NYC771000.6
CHI354121.6
01234+Avg
NYC226412
CHI036502.1
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