Chicago Fire Preview
It’s been a long couple of weeks for the Lions fans. A tough loss at home against LAFC, a loss of a top defender in the league, and an underwhelming realization that we could have more points than we do. Conceding four to a team that probably only deserved one leaves a sour taste in your mouth, and a CB sidelined for 3-4 months is salt in the wound. I’m hoping things can clean up when Orlando returns to the sunshine state and takes on the Fire again. It’s a rematch of a boring match at Soldier Field, this one taking place in Florida at 1pm EST on Saturday, April 9th.
Somehow, someway, the Chicago Fire are undefeated to start the season. Last weekend, they had a 0-0 draw with FC Dallas. With two wins and three draws, they’ve already kept four clean sheets and the defense has been ballin’ out. Sporting Kansas City were the only team to score past them in a 3-1 win for Chicago. With our offense potentially starting to click, it could be a good day to upset this strong start Chicago has found to the season.
Orlando City Stats
2-2-2, Top Goal Scorer: Urso/Pato, Top Assister: Pereyra, LDWLD
Chicago Fire Stats
2-3-0, Top Goal Scorer: Przybylko, Top Assister: Shaqiri, DWWDW
1. Life without Antonio Carlos
This is not a life I want to get used to. Orlando City announced that center back Antonio Carlos will be out for about 3-4 months after being fouled by Rodriguez from the LAFC game. Surgery is not required, but the time out is still much longer than Lions fans would have liked to see. Very troubling news for Orlando fans and players. Not only has he been one of the best players this season, he has been one of the best center backs in the league. He has played 468 minutes and started in every game for the Lions. He has made 6 tackles, 8 interceptions, 38 clearances and 4 blocks. His strong presence on the field will be missed and Schlegel will have a job to do while Carlos recovers.
I’m sick of writing about this guy. Last time I remembered he was carrying Stoke City on his back and with him gone they haven’t sniffed the Premier League in quite some time. The thing that is so dangerous about Shaqiri is his movement, and we saw that last time out against the Fire. He has an eye for a pass and an incredible touch, however, he needs to get more involved in the scoring department. Without Antonio Carlos around to keep an eye on him, I am quite worried.
Quick give and go passes and 2.4 key passes per game make him the most dangerous player on the pitch not wearing the Orlando purple. This is a really big game for Araujo. He has been sharp in recent games this season and while Urso loves to go box to box, someone is going to have to stay home and be disciplined to keep an eye on Shaqiri. I’m relying on Araujo to do that. When Orlando’s attack breaks up, they have to be careful and make sure there are no transition counter attacks with Shaqiri in the middle of it.
3. Shoot, Shoot, and Shoot Again
According to my review article last time, the Lions finished with 0 shots on target with the Fire at their house last time. There were a lot of reasons for this, and the main one being that the Fire thought we were playing rugby instead of soccer. Michel was a bum last time against them, so I’m hoping he doesn’t touch the field. This time, I want to see the Lions be more creative and not be scared to fuck something up. I’d rather see Torres and Pato try something and have it not come off, then to see backwards passes. I just want ONE shot on goal, that’s better than zero! But let’s get creative attacking today, and hopefully we can leave with 3 points.
A Look at the Fire (Again)
~ 4-2-3-1 format with a really strong defense and an offense that has not clicked to potential, but still has quality individuals
~ DRAW merchants, it’s going to be important that Torres and Pato are able to break down the defense
~ Shaqiri is the dangerous man in the offense, with most of the offensive flow going through him
~ Chicago has a 17 year old keeper in goal right now. He looks really composed, but we need to get in his head early and often
I think the Lions win this match, 3-2. I’m going for another great game attacking with some leaky errors in the back. To be honest, it’s expected with Antonio Carlos back there. The defense is going to be a bit shaky and I’m bracing myself for impact. However, I’m hoping that beautiful, beautiful Duck is there to save the day. VAMOS!