Chicago is slipping back down into the basement sitting five points back of Columbus and Houston. They are bad and I mean just bad. The Fire have a poor offense compared to the rest of the league with only 36 goals for (only San Jose and Colorado have fewer) but the reason they average less than a point per match is the defense - a middle of the road instead of mediocre with 48 GA, averaging 1.65 GAA. Only New England has a worse GD on the season.
Before I dive into their roster, a small congratulations is in order for Chicago for having more road wins than Portland (though fewer points) picking up one win and two draws in 14 road matches.
Squad rotation will be crucial for the Fire after playing Friday in New York, traveling to Seattle, and then playing in Columbus this Saturday. Add in they are coming off a blow out loss, 4-1 to NYCFC, they'll want to make changes.
Offensively they’ve settled on an attack built on speed. David Accam and Arturo Alvarez flank Michael de Leeuw whos adapted beautiful to MLS in his withdrawn striker/CAM role. Former Rapid, Luis Solignac moved into his preferred number nine role with Chicago and it is paying dividends. Add in Matt Polster as the usually CDM that'll push forward in their 4-2-3-1, and it makes a formidable attack that lacks passing precision but has speed and surprising strength. Against Torres and Marshall, they would probably create one or two attacks with Solignac being the slowest of the forward quartet but against a potential pairing of Evans and Scott, Frei may be exposed a few more times. Likely only two of the four start but even by himself Accam can be a small handful. Expect Chicago to counter on the road and get two or three average to good chances, I don't see a goal in it but it's possible.
Defensively, Chicago has plenty of issues. Matt Polster gets caught to high up, leaving the back line exposed. Razvan Cocis is very quick to put his body into a challenge, against Roldan and Ozzie it'll likely yield nothing for him and against Lodeiro a foul will get called. Overall the back line is an absolute mess between inexperience, inconsistent pairings, keeper rotation, and just low-quality depth they give up goals like crazy. Jonathan Campbell, future star of the back line, has had great games and poor ones but he has matched up poorly (as has Kappelhof his partner) against highly skilled 10s. Morris likely won't turn him as bad as he did to Daniel Steres but playing off his back shoulder while Lodeiro springs him should yield goals. Wing play will be in Seattle’s advantage, which will only create more space for Lodeiro, Morris, Roldan, Ozzie, etc. in the middle and forcing either Campbell or Kappelhof to step up and expose the goal. Seattle should pickup where NYCFC left off, with Lodeiro playing the part of David Villa and Jordan Morris as Khiry Shelton.
Seattle should win this thing. Not only is Chicago a bad soccer team but with their road form and the Sounders need for points will lead to a blow out tonight 4-0.
Predicted Lineups: L-R
Chicago: Johnson, Vincent, Johnson, Kappelhof, Ramos; Polster, Stephens; Accam, de Leeuw, Arshakyan; Solignac
Sounders: Frei; Remick, Marshall, Torres, Fisher; Alonso, Roldan; Fernandez, Lodeiro, Gomez; Morris