The red-hot Chicago Fire welcome Atlanta United to Soldier Field Saturday looking for a fourth-straight win. If things go well elsewhere around the league, the Fire could end the weekend in a playoff spot for the first time since the beginning of the season.
While Chicago’s found recent success, it was a rocky start getting here. In fact, the last time these two teams faced off, it was Atlanta that came away 4-1 winners back on May 7. The Fire have blown a number of games this season, but that Atlanta match was the one time the Fire were never truly in it from the opening whistle.
“We are not the same team that we were then, but it’s a game that we look back on and said listen, if there was game we never was really in it, that was it, and we want to make amends to our fans and ourselves and continue this momentum,” Fire head coach Ezra Hendrickson said.
Goals may be tough to come by for Atlanta. The Fire have played 11 games at Soldier Field this season and have only conceded eight goals, securing seven clean sheets. Gaga Slonina is tied for second in MLS in clean sheets in 2022, with nine. Only NYCFC’s Sean Johnson (11) has more.
Gastón Giménez is listed as questionable for the Fire, so the Fire will more than likely roll with Mauricio Pineda in central midfield again. When Pineda plays more than 45 minutes this season, the Fire are averaging 1.53 points-per-game. When Pineda plays 45 or less, the Fire are earning just 0.67 points-per-game. Pineda isn’t flashy, but he’s clearly helping the team.
“Yeah, that’s an interesting stat,” Pineda told CHGO. “I think it’s obviously a great feeling. I think any time I’m on the field, I try to do as much as possible to help the team. It isn’t necessarily all just because of me. Obviously some results go one way or the other whether I’m on the field or not. But yeah, any time I get the chance to be on the field I try to do as much as possible to get, first, three points. That’s the most important.”
Get there Early for the Doubleheader
With Lollapalooza in full swing, the Fire are asking fans to arrive early for the match, to make sure they don’t miss kickoff. Parking lots will open at 1 p.m., and be sure to swing by our CHGO tailgate sponsored by Revolution Brewing, which will be up and running in the Waldron Deck around 2 p.m.
Fire-Atlanta is the first match of a Chicago soccer doubleheader, with the Red Stars and San Diego Wave kicking off at 7 p.m. One ticket gets you in to both matches.
“I think for the city, it’s good to showcase both teams in a similar stage on a similar date on the same night,” Hendrickson said. “I think it bodes well for all involved. They are going to benefit as well as we are. So I’m all for it and I’m looking forward to Saturday night. I think it will be a great atmosphere for the fans.”
How to Watch
Chicago Firevs. Atlanta United
MLS Match Day #23 | Saturday, July 30 | Soldier Field, Chicago
Kickoff: 4 p.m. CT
Streaming: CF97 Live (available for free at ChicagoFire.com or the Chicago Fire mobile app for fans watching within 75 miles of Soldier Field)
Out of Market Streaming: ESPN+
Talent: Tyler Terens (play-by-play), Tony Meola (color commentator)