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Preview: D.C. United visits Soldier Field with the Fire in desperate need of a win

Patrick McCraney Avatar
June 18, 2022

For the second straight international break, Xherdan Shaqiri has returned with a leg injury that will see him miss action for the Chicago Fire. The Swiss star picked up a hamstring issue after playing a recent run of games for his country, and will not play for the Fire Saturday against D.C. United at Soldier Field.

It’s unfortunate, because the Fire find themselves in desperate need of three points, and this game should be very winnable. The Fire haven’t won since March 19 against Sporting Kansas City, one day shy of three months ago. While they sit dead last in the Eastern Conference with only 11 points in 2022, D.C. is just one spot ahead of them.

Other than two games–a 4-1 loss in Atlanta and a 3-0 loss in Minnesota, the Fire been in every other game this season. But, they’ve found ways to lose one-goal games in an almost comical fashion. When the defense is red-hot, the attack can’t score. When the offense is clicking, the defense is suddenly sloppy. When they need discipline, a player suddenly picks up a second yellow, and they’re down a man.

“We are very close, the last four games that we’ve played we have showed that we can play with anyone in the League,” Fire head coach Ezra Hendrickson said this week. “I don’t think there’s a team out there that is looking forward to playing the Chicago Fire even though we are in, you know, basically last place right now.”

A lot has changed since these two teams played back in March. The Fire walked away from that one 2-0 winners, with goals from Stanislav Ivanov and Jonathan Bornstein. Since then D.C. dumped head coach Hernan Losada for Chad Ashton, and the Fire have added Chris Mueller and Jairo Torres. D.C. is also on a long winless run, albeit not nearly as bad as the Fire. Their last victory came on May 7 over the Houston Dynamo.

There could be another big change coming for D.C., too. After taking part in the intercontinental playoff for Peru in the heartbreaking penalty loss to Australia (and lunatic goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne), multiple reports have D.C. United Designated Player Edison Flores potentially set to join Liga MX champs Atlas, Torres’ old club.

20,000+ expected

The Fire are expecting more than 20,000 fans for this one, and the weather’s looking gorgeous so there should be a good number of last minute buyers, too. If you’re going, plan on getting there a little early to avoid long lines getting in.

Zee Soccer Pod Derby

With D.C.’s Julian Gressel set to square off against Chicago’s Fabian Herbers, bragging rights are at stake on Zee Soccer Pod, the podcast the two German pals host together. CHGO talked to Herbers about the pod’s growing popularity in an interview this week.

How to Watch

Chicago Fire vs. D.C. United

MLS Match Day #15 | Saturday, June 18 | Soldier Field, Chicago

Kickoff: 7 p.m. CT

TV: Univision, TUDN (in Spanish, with English commentary available on SAP)

Streaming: Twitter (English)

Live Twitter Updates: @CHGO_Fire (make sure you’re following us!)

Fire Availability Report

  • OUT: Chris Brady (international duty)
  • OUT: Kendall Burks (right knee)
  • OUT: Xherdan Shaqiri (right thigh)
  • OUT: Miguel Navarro (health & safety protocols)
  • QUESTIONABLE: Jairo Torres (left hip)

D.C. United Availability Report

  • OUT: Adrien Perez (foot)
  • OUT: Moses Nyeman (thigh)
  • OUT: Chris Odoi-Atsem (ankle)
  • OUT: Theodore Ku-Dipietro (thigh)
  • OUT: Jacob Greene (thigh)
  • OUT: Hayden Sargis (illness)
  • QUESTIONABLE: Bill Hamid (illness)
  • QUESTIONABLE: Russell Canouse (thigh)

Next Up for Chicago

Saturday, June 25 | Houston Dynamo vs. Chicago Fire | PNC Stadium, Houston, TX | 7 p.m. CT, UniMas, TUDN

Wednesday, June 29 | Chicago Fire vs. Philadelphia Union | Soldier Field, Chicago | 7 p.m. CT, WGN-TV, CF97 Live

Sunday, July 3 | San Jose Earthquakes vs. Chicago Fire | PayPal Park | 8 p.m. CT, WGN-TV, CF97 Live

Saturday, July 9 | Chicago Fire vs. Columbus Crew | Soldier Field, Chicago | 7 p.m. CT, WGN-TV, CF97 Live

Wednesday, July 13 | Chicago Fire vs. Toronto FC | Soldier Field, Chicago | 7 p.m. CT, WGN-TV, CF97 Live

Prediction

This should be as winnable as it gets for the Fire. But with no Shaqiri, scoring chances may be hard to come by. Still, we’ll say it ends up 2-1 to the Fire.

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