MLS

Toronto FC v Chicago Fire – MLS

Toronto FC v Chicago Fire - MLS

Toronto have a number of defensive players missing for this game. Moor continues to be assessed after a heart problem was found on a scan in the build up to the last match, no return date set. First choice goalkeeper Irwin is still not fully fit, whilst Mavinga has an adductor strain which rules him out. Despite the attack not clicking, Altidore and Giovinco still have the backing of coach Vanney. With just 1 win in 6 games, Toronto have not made the start to the season that people expected. The pressure is on the team to start picking up results, with this game representing the first of 3 straight home matches. The short turnaround has been welcomed by players and coach, with a determination to start getting wins and pushing up the table. The attack has yet to click this season, despite the fact that Toronto are set up in an attacking formation. 3-5-2 is the system Toronto have used for a long period of time, the wing backs crucial in creating the width and getting crosses into the area. Falling behind would test the character in the team, with a lack of goals potentially leading to the team panicking and taking increased risks.

Chicago Fire will be without the services of Goossens who continues to recover from injury. The visitors had doubts last week over the availability of Accam, however, the winger managed to make an appearance off the bench and appeared to be moving well. The form of Schweinsteiger, McCarty and Nikolic means that they will continue in the line-up and be expected to cause problems. The visitors come into this game after a comfortable 3-0 success at home against New England. Results at home have been much better than on the road this season, with the players determined to replicate displays away. Chicago Fire have not won on their last 5 visits to Toronto, meaning a victory for the away side would be significant. Poor form from Toronto gives the visitors the chance of a win. Expect Chicago Fire to keep the ball for long periods in an effort to frustrate the home side. The greatest strength of the team is the composure in midfield, with experienced figures capable of keeping the ball under pressure. Given the poor start by Toronto, the visitors will be confident of success. Scoring first would enable the team to play on the counter and change approach.

 

Verdict & Prediction

Chicago Fire continues to impress, with performances much improved after a poor few seasons. The new signings have made an immediate impact on the squad, lifting the standards in training and in matches. The competition for places is intense at the moment and getting the best out of players. The 3-0 win last week was a commanding display, with the side clinical against 10 men. The players now want to replicate their performance on the road, as performances so far on their travels have been disappointing. A win at Toronto would be proof that Chicago Fire could be a surprise package. The unity in the team at the moment is excellent, with fans fully behind the players and coach. Paunovic has given the players confidence, allowing them to express themselves on the ball and create lots of chances. This open style of football has been relished by the players so far this season. Anyway, as much as I like Chicago this season, I simply don’t trust them on the road! I recommend a bet on over 2.75 goals.

Prediction: Over 2.75 goals
Odds: 1.92 Pinnacle, 1.88 SBOBET

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