Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Chicago Fire v Charlotte FC: Smith shrugs off road-trip worries

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 15 May 2024

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Charlotte FC boss Dean Smith believes “mentality” is the main issue for sides daunted by away trips.

Smith takes his team to face the Chicago Fire on Wednesday, with Charlotte having taken just one point from their five away games in MLS so far this season.

But Smith struggles to see why there is such a difference in confidence between home and away fixtures.

“Mentality,” said Smith when asked what the issue was.

“I believe some people, before they even leave, have accepted it’s going to be tougher. The only reason it’s tougher is because that’s in your head. Yes, you’ve got to travel, you haven’t got home fans or home advantage, but the pitches are still the same size, you’ve still got to get into your box and score a goal, and they’ve got to get in yours and you’ve got to defend your box.

“I don’t think there’s too much in it other than you have your fans behind you and home comforts. We should have had more points on the road, our performances merited more points but we’ve not taken chances on the road so far.”

Charlotte have won their last two games, both at home, while the Fire are on a five-game winless run.

“I’ve just been watching clips of them. It’s going to be a tough game, as everyone keeps telling me, it’s tough on the road,” Smith said.

“We’ll try to change that. They got beat at the weekend so it’s a bit of a tough time for them but we have to concentrate on ourselves.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Chicago Fire – Hugo Cuypers

The Fire have failed to score in three straight regular-season home games for the third time in club history. Cuypers is their top scorer, with three goals this term, and the onus will be on him to get firing again.

Charlotte FC – Patrick Agyemang

Patrick Agyemang scored Charlotte’s winner against Nashville SC last time out, making him the team’s leading scorer in MLS in 2024, with three goals to his name.

MATCH PREDICTION: CHICAGO WIN

While Chicago are made the favourites by Opta’s model, Charlotte have recorded back-to-back shutout wins. Charlotte have never won three straight regular-season matches without conceding a goal, something no team has managed to do in MLS in 2024.

Chicago are winless in five straight games and has just 10 points through their first 12 this season (W2 D4 L6). The Fire have had fewer points at this stage of a season only once before, taking nine points through 12 matches in 2020.

Charlotte have won three straight matches against the Fire after Chicago won the first meeting, 3-2. Charlotte have never won four straight meetings with a single opponent, though.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Chicago Fire – 41.1%

Charlotte – 29.9%

Draw – 29%

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

SoccerNews

Soccernews.com is news blog for soccer with comprehensive coverage of all the major leagues in Europe, as well as MLS in the United States. In addition we offer breaking news for transfers and transfer rumors, ticket sales, betting tips and offers, match previews, and in-depth editorials.

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