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Preview: Toronto vs. Chicago Fire – prediction, team news, lineups



Preview: Toronto vs. Chicago Fire – prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday’s Major League Soccer clash between Toronto and Chicago Fire, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

On Saturday, Toronto will host the Chicago Fire at BMO Field in the first match of a two-game homestand for the Canadians in MLS.

In their previous domestic affair, the Reds squandered a 2-0 lead, playing to a 2-2 draw with DC United, while the Fire came from behind to defeat the Los Angeles Galaxy 2-1.

Match preview

© Reuters

Even though Toronto are currently on a three-match winless run domestically, morale is high for this team at the midway point of the MLS campaign.

Overall, the first half of the regular season has been a massive success for this club, with the Reds claiming 24 points in 2024, two more than they had at the end of the previous campaign.

John Herdman has been able to get his players to buy into a fun and flexible system, often employing a 3-4-2-1 formation, which has proven effective.

That formation seems well-suited to this group, who have scored 26 goals in 17 league fixtures, equalling their entire output from the 2023 regular season.

TFC have regressed a little at BMO Field in recent outings though, losing two of their previous three league fixtures in Toronto, conceding three or more goals in each of those defeats.

The Reds have been hugely successful versus the Fire at BMO Field, though, unbeaten in their last 12 home matches played against them in this competition.

Chicago Fire FC head coach Frank Klopas on May 30, 2024© Reuters

Chicago began the month of June positively, ending a nine-match winless run in MLS with a narrow victory over the LA Galaxy.

During that winless stretch Frank Klopas‘ men failed to find the back of the net on five occasions, while they have scored just 17 goals after 17 domestic encounters this year, the second-fewest in MLS.

On the positive side, though, the Fire have picked up five points from their previous three league contests, which is the same number as they collected in their eight MLS matches played before that.

In each of their previous three domestic affairs, the Fire came back to earn at least a point despite conceding the opening goal, and they have now picked up eight points when doing so over this campaign.

Heading into this upcoming fixture, they are second from bottom in the Eastern Conference with 15 points, four below Nashville SC for the final playoff spot.

While they have held Toronto off the scoresheet in each of their last three meetings, the Fire have not claimed three points at BMO Field since 2012 (2-1).

Toronto Major League Soccer form:

Toronto form (all competitions):

Chicago Fire Major League Soccer form:

Team News

Toronto FC head coach John Herdman yells on February 24, 2024© Reuters

In their draw with DC the Reds were missing Prince Owusu because of tightness in his calf, Brandon Servania is out for the season after rupturing his ACL and Shane O’Neill is dealing with a quad issue.

Leading goalscorer Federico Bernardeschi, along with Nicksoen Gomis, will be suspended for this encounter, Lorenzo Insigne is back after missing their previous match to witness the birth of his child in Italy.

Richie Laryea and Jonathan Osorio are likely to be called up to the Canadian national team for the upcoming Copa America and may not be available this weekend, while Sean Johnson may not play either, as he is expected to be named to the US squad for that tournament.

Bernerdeschi netted his team-leading seventh of the campaign in their previous encounter and assisted on their opener, which came courtesy of Derrick Etienne after just two minutes.

In their victory versus LA, the Fire were without Federico Navarro due to a knock, Andrew Gutman and Chase Gasper were sidelined with hamstring strains and Tobias Salquist was unavailable due to an MCL injury.

Xherdan Shaqiri left the team early to join Switzerland ahead of the Euros, while Sergio Oregel could be back after being called up to the American U-19 squad during the international break.

Hugo Cuypers scored for a second match running in their previous encounter, with the winner coming courtesy of Brian Gutierrez.

Toronto possible starting lineup:
Gavran; Petretta, Long, Rosted; Franklin, Longstaff, Flores, Coello; Etienne; Insigne, Etienne

Chicago Fire possible starting lineup:
Brady; Arigoni, Souquet, Teran, Czichos, Dean; Gutierrez, Acosta, Herbers; Haile-Selassie, Cuypers

SM words green background

We say: Toronto 2-1 Chicago Fire

Toronto could be missing some solid contributors, but they are facing a Chicago side that look out of sync and unorganised behind the ball, which is why we believe the Reds will return to winning ways.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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