Wednesday, July 24, 2024

San Jose Earthquakes v Chicago Fire: Klopas lauds fighting spirit ahead of road trip

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 6 Jul 2024

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Frank Klopas has no intentions of ever giving up on Chicago Fire’s MLS playoff hopes ahead of their road trip to struggling San Jose Earthquakes.

The Fire fought back from two goals down to snatch a 4-3 thriller against Philadelphia Union last time out, climbing up to 13th in the Eastern Conference.

That win was the second time the Fire triumphed despite trailing by two goals in the last 10 minutes this season (also against CF Montreal in March), as they became the first team to achieve this multiple times in MLS history.

Chicago head coach Klopas lauded his side’s battling but urged the Fire to improve and group together when they head to PayPal Park.

“It’s great when it goes your way, but I’m not sure if we can keep doing this,” Klopas said. “We had some really good chances to put the game away but we didn’t do that.

“Everything is one game at a time, at some points it looked bleak. Never give up on this team, the character is strong and I believe in this group.

“It’s all about the team, we have to reach our goals as a group, not as individuals.”

San Jose are bottom of the Western Conference and unlikely to escape that position if their season is anything to go by.

The Earthquakes were defeated 2-0 by fellow strugglers St. Louis City in their last outing and are the second team in the post-shootout era (since 2000) with 16 losses in their first 21 matches of a season (Tampa Bay Mutiny in 2001).

PLAYERS TO WATCH

San Jose Earthquakes – Amahl Pellegrino

San Jose have had little to celebrate throughout a challenging season, and their hopes may rely on Amahi Pellegrino once again.

The Earthquakes man leads the club scoring charts this season, albeit with only five goals in MLS in 2024.

Chicago Fire – Maren Haile-Selassie

Maren Haile-Selassie has scored in four straight regular-season matches, the second Fire player to do so this year (Hugo Cuypers).

The only players with a longer streak in club history are Robert Beric (five straight in 2020) and David Accam (also five straight in 2017).

MATCH PREDICTION – DRAW

The Earthquakes may be on torrid form in MLS this year but their strong head-to-head record in this fixture suggests the draw as the most likely result.

San Jose have won three straight matches against the Fire, equalling the longest winning streak by either team in the history of the series (all competitions).

Chicago’s last win over the Earthquakes was a 2-1 home victory in June 2018, though the Fire may be quietly confident due to San Jose’s struggles.

The Earthquakes have lost six consecutive matches for the fourth time in club history and the third since the start of the 2018 season.

San Jose have never lost seven league games in a row, however.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

San Jose Earthquakes win – 36.3%

Draw – 26.2%

Chicago Fire win – 37.6%

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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