Saturday, July 24, 2021

Prediction: Chicago Fire vs DC United

Tom Dunstan in Free Soccer Predictions, MLS 20 Jul 2021

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Verdict: Chicago Fire win

Best Odds: 11/10

Bookmaker: Unibet

Two sides who are looking to make an immediate return to winning ways in midweek, Chicago Fire will host DC United in the early hours of Thursday.

Chicago Fire

Starting with the hosts, while Chicago might have found themselves enjoying a stellar purple patch when heading into July, The Fire came crashing back down to earth last weekend. Failing to build off of those thumping 3-1 and 3-0 victories against Orlando and Atlanta from earlier in the month, Head Coach Raphaël Wicky saw his side put in what was a season-worst display on Sunday. Eventually blown away at Nashville SC, they were hit with a 5-1 drumming and they still find themselves scrapping it out at the foot of the Eastern Conference. Knowing they’re still tipped as an outside shout to clinch a Final Series spot this year, Chicago will be glad to make a return to home soil in midweek. Last seen at Soldier Field picking up those eye-catching back-to-back wins, Thursday’s hosts have collected seven points from their last three MLS matchups at home. More impressive, Wicky’s side have bagged over 2.5 goals in each of those three contests.

Team News

Finally overcoming a long-term knee issue, Stanislav Ivanov could be in line to make his Chicago debut in midweek.

However, the duo of Carlos Teran and keeper Kenneth Kronholm are expected to miss out on Thursday.

DC United

As for the visitors, DC United make the trip to Soldier Field sat in a very similar position to their midweek opponents. Despite laying down what was a real marker in a stunning 7-1 romp against Toronto on home soil earlier in the month, Hernán Losada’s side failed to keep up that momentum last time out. Eventually hit with what was a deserved 2-1 defeat away at Philadelphia Union, The Black-and-Red are another side sat outside the Final Series spots in the Eastern Conference. Gaining a reputation from across the MLS this season for their inconsistencies, their new boss will have a headache over his side’s continued struggles on the road. The Washington-based outfit have recorded just a single point away from Audi Field in their last three attempts, a run that includes back-to-back defeats against Philadelphia and New York City. However, despite their issues on the road, it should be noted that Thursday’s guests did pick up a 1-0 victory when they last faced off against Chicago back in May.

Team News

Donovan Pines and Paul Arriola will be missing on Thursday as they are both away with the USA on Gold Cup duties.

Making his first appearance in almost a year last weekend, defender Steve Birnbaum should retain his spot in midweek.

Key Factors to Consider

    • When Thursday’s opponents last faced off back in May, DC United picked up a 1-0 victory on home soil.
    • However, DC have won just one of their seven MLS away fixtures this season, five defeats and one draw.
    • Five of their previous six matchups away from Audi Field have seen over 2.5 goals by the final whistle.
    • Likewise, Chicago’s last four MLS games have seen 19 goals.
    • The Fire have collected seven points from their last three home fixtures.

    Conclusion

    Putting in what was a woeful display away at Nashville over the weekend, there is no doubt that Chicago will be glad to make a return to home soil here. Despite getting hit with that 1-0 defeat when they faced off against Thursday’s guests back in May, they have continued to impress at Soldier Field. Last seen at home picking up back-to-back 3-0 and 3-1 victories against Atlanta and Orlando, they have also gained a reputation for their real flurries in the final third. Bagging a trio of goals in each of their last three straight home contests, DC United could face another tough test. Slumping back to losing ways with a 2-1 defeat against The Union over the weekend, the midweek guests have shown some real issues on the road. With just a single victory away from Audi Field so far this season, Chicago should be smelling a chance.

    Verdict: Chicago Fire win

    Best Odds: 11/10

    Bookmaker: Unibet

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Tom Dunstan


    Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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