The Chicago Fire return home to Toyota Park Saturday after a month long absence. The Men In Red will be attempting to halt a two-game losing skid while extending their unbeaten record at home. The Fire All-Stars managed to exit the midweek exhibition uninjured and are available for Saturday’s match against the New England Revolution. Chicago is 2-0 against the Revs in 2017, beating them 3-0 at home in April and squeaking out a 2-1 win at Gillette Stadium in June. The Revolution are currently sitting in eighth place in the eastern conference with 26 points after 21 games. The Revs are yet to win on the road this year. Saturday will be a battle of conflicting streaks, one club unbeaten playing at home facing a team without a win away from theirs.
Chicago Fire Look to Remain Unbeaten at Home Against New England Revolution
Chicago has managed just a single point in their latest three games. These three games were separated by the Gold Cup break with the single point coming on July 5th in Portland before the hiatus for the Gold Cup. Previous to the draw in Portland, the Fire were red hot having secured back-to-back 4-0 wins and had reached the summit of the MLS league table. Since returning to action on July 22 the Fire have lost twice: a 2-1 loss to NYCFC in Yankee Stadium and a similar looking 3-2 loss in Kansas City. Winger David Accam came off the bench in the second half in both of these losses. If Accam is still a Fire player come Saturday night, he should start the game against the Revs.
Nothing Beats a Rumor
The 2017 MLS summer transfer window has still yet to garner any new Men In Red but the talk of transfers has been abundant. There is apparently great interest from numerous clubs for All-Star snub David Accam, most notably from German and Turkish clubs. The Fire are reported to have been holding off on releasing the Ghanian winger until they can find a suitable replacement. Accam is in the middle of his most productive year with the Fire, having netted 12 goals and providing seven assists in just 19 appearances. Accam’s importance to the Fire was highlighted in their previous two matches in which the Fire lacked dangerous forward play until his second half inclusion. Chicago has reportedly been in the hunt to land Columbian playmaker Juanfer Quintero but with no success as of yet.
In an additional note, there was a statistic curiously brought to light by the Fire’s official website. In the Chicago Fire’s match preview they highlighted a not so flattering stat concerning Fire midfielder Juninho:
In 1,243 minutes with Juninho on the field this year, Chicago concede an average of 1.4 goals per 90 minutes played this year. In 759 minutes without him on the field, they concede only 0.5 goals per 90 minutes.
That’s an interesting note to highlight concerning their first-year player. Does it speak towards overzealous team statistician or a directed wake-up call to their Brazilian Midfielder?
All-Star Game in the Rear View
With the headaches of the All-Star exhibition behind him, second year Fire coach Veljko Paunovic will look to get his team hot again. His team is facing its first real dip in form and he will be tested to get them back to winning ways. Starting David Accam will be a key to completing the three-game season sweep over the Revs. The Ghanaian’s pace and skill regularly opens up space for the likes of Nemanja Nikolic to get into dangerous positions. The Hungarian striker will be eager to get back on the scoresheet after not scoring in the Fire’s previous two games.
The back line of the Fire will be tested by the resurgent Kei Kamara and the continued absence of injured left back Brandon Vincent. The second year player has been a solid piece of a much improved Fire defense. Vincent had played every minute of the 2017 MLS season until suffering an injury during pre-match warmups in New York. MLS veteran Michael Harrington was used as emergency replacement in New York. Patrick Doody has since been recalled from his loan assignment and played against Kansas City and is projected to play Saturday.