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Preview: Fire looking to bounce back against Toronto FC

Patrick McCraney Avatar
July 13, 2022

If two recent games between these teams are any indication, tonight’s match between the Chicago Fire and Toronto FC at Soldier Field (7 p.m. CT, WGN-TV) should at least be interesting.

Back in May in Ontario, the Fire outshot TFC 33-5, and managed to lose 3-2. And last time they met at Soldier Field last summer, the Fire outshot Toronto 31-4, and lost 2-1.

Both games left fans wondering wondering how it’s possible this team can wrestle a loss from the jaws of victory so often. It’s an issue that came up again last Saturday, when the Fire blew a 2-0 lead, losing 3-2 to the Columbus Crew. The Fire are clearly a bad team–the worst in MLS through 19 games. But, really? Seriously? This feels like we’re being clowned, over and over.

No Giménez tonight

He was, until recently, the most polarizing player on the Fire, but Gastón Giménez has actually been one of the team’s better players in 2022. Giménez is out tonight with a suspension for yellow card accumulation, so it will be interesting to see if his absence is noticeable for Chicago. Mauricio Pineda feels like the most likely guy to fill in, but he’s missed a lot of minutes recently, so he may not be match fit.

And, after last Saturday’s late red card, Miguel Navarro will miss tonight’s match, too.

Sockers v. Sockers battle

Two of the best soccer players to ever come out of the Chicago area face off tonight–the Fire’s Chris Mueller, and Toronto FC’s Michael Bradley. Both players spent their formative years at local powerhouse Sockers FC. For Mueller, who is from Schaumburg, it was an easy choice to play for his local club. Bradley joined Sockers when his dad, Bob Bradley, was busy winning trophies as head coach of the Fire.

Tiny Crowd tonight? We shall see.

The last match against the Crew saw an announced attendance of just over 15,000, and that was for a Saturday night match, with beautiful weather, a rival opponent, and post-game fireworks. What will we see tonight for a mid-week matchup against another bottom dweller? It’s not looking good. The subject of “should the Fire have left SeatGeek Stadium?” seems to be coming up a lot more often among fans. If the team is ever successful, the crowds will be large enough to justify the move back to Soldier Field. For now, it’s just a lot of empty seats.

How to Watch

Chicago Fire vs. Toronto FC

MLS Match Day #20 | Wednesday, July 13 | Soldier Field, Chicago

Kickoff: 7 p.m. CT

TV: WGN-TV

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: Arlo White (play-by-play), Tony Meola (color commentary), Tyler Terens (hardworking, gritty, handsome sideline reporter)

Follow Us! @CHGO_Fire

Fire Availability Report

  • OUT: Gastón Giménez (yellow card accumulation)
  • OUT: Miguel Navarro (red card suspension)
  • OUT: Wyatt Omsberg (left foot)
  • OUT: Javier Casas, Jr. (health & safety protocols)
  • QUESTIONABLE: None

Toronto FC Availability Report

  • OUT: Lorenzo Insigne (lower body)
  • OUT: Noble Okello (lower body)

Next Up for Chicago

Saturday, July 16 | Chicago Fire vs. Seattle Sounders | Soldier Field, Chicago | 7 p.m. CT, WGN-TV, CF97 Live

Saturday, July 23 | Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Chicago Fire | BC Place, Vancouver, BC, Canada | 7 p.m. CT, WGN-TV, CF97 Live

Saturday, July 30 | Chicago Fire vs. Atlanta United | Soldier Field, Chicago | 4 p.m. CT, WGN-TV, CF97 Live – Doubleheader: Chicago Red Stars vs. San Diego Wave to follow

Saturday, August 6 | Charlotte FC vs. Chicago Fire | Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC | 6 p.m. CT, WGN-TV, CF97 Live

Saturday, August 13 | Philadelphia Union vs. Chicago Fire | Subaru Park, Chester, PA | 6:30 p.m. CT, WGN-TV, CF97 Live

Prediction

Our friends at PointsBet have the Fire as heavy favorites tonight, -160 for Chicago vs. +400 for Toronto. Last time these teams met, the Fire lobbed more than 30 shots at Toronto, and still came away on the losing end. But, this one’s at Soldier Field. If ever there was a game the Fire should win, this feels like it. But would you feel comfortable betting on the Fire after the Columbus match?

We say this one ends 1-1.

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