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Sink or Swim: Chicago Fire look to keep dwindling playoff hopes alive against CF Montreal

Patrick McCraney Avatar
August 26, 2022

With a win Saturday against CF Montreal, and a good amount of help elsewhere around the league, the Chicago Fire could close the weekend just two points out of a playoff position. A loss, though, coupled with some unfavorable results, could leave the Fire eight points back.

So, needless to say, it’s essentially a must-win for Chicago, who will be looking to bounce back from a dismal, listless 2-0 loss to NYCFC last weekend.

“We just know that we cannot put out another game like we did on Sunday,” Fire head coach Ezra Hendrickson said. “It was very embarrassing if I’m being honest at home. I’ve been around this league since ’97 and as a player, as an assistant coach and now as a head coach, there’s always one game and every team I’ve been on where the team just doesn’t show up. For whatever reason, it just doesn’t happen on that day.

“Normally you see that on the road and it was very surprising to me that being at home we showed up like that and as a coach, I take responsibility for that because it’s my job to get these guys ready to play and ready to be inspired to play, and ready to go out there and perform like we do in training and that didn’t happen on Sunday, so I take responsibility for that.”

The Fire will be without designated player Gastón Giménez, who had season-ending surgery on his hamstring this week. Mauricio Pineda is also listed as questionable, but Hendrickson suggested this week that Jairo Torres may get a start in a central midfield role. That could open things up for the Fire’s number one utility man, Fabian Herbers, to rejoin the starting XI.

“For me, the position, my strength was always to be very version tile and to play several positions,” Herbers said. “I’ve always throughout my career have played in different positions, so wherever the coach needs me, wherever he puts me, I’m obviously happy to play. I want to say my natural position is maybe the right wing but again, I’ve played on the left. I’ve played years prior on number 10. And I’ve played the 6 or the 8 as well. So I’m fine with that and I’m flexible and I’m just happy as long as I’m playing.”

You Know Who’s Coming Back

After agreeing to a deal this week to join AZ Alkmaar this January, Montreal playmaker Djordje Mihailovic is back with his current club. The Lemont native spent the beginning of his career with the Fire, before he was traded to Montreal in late 2020. It’s Djordje’s last chance to play before his hometown fans, and you know he’ll be amped up and ready to go, trying to put on a show. Mihailovic has seven goals and four assists so far in 2022.

The Fire will retain a 10-percent sell-on fee as part of Mihailovic’s reported $6 million move to the Netherlands.

How to Watch

Chicago Fire vs. Club de Foot Montreal

MLS Match Day #27 | Saturday, August 27 | 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 commentator), Tyler Terens (American icon/sideline reporter/fan of relegation candidates Liverpool)

Follow Us! @CHGO_Fire

Injury Report

Chicago

  • QUESTIONABLE: Mauricio Pineda (left foot), Carlos Terán (left lower leg)
  • OUT: Gastón Giménez (right hamstring), Stanislav Ivanov (right thigh), Miguel Navarro (yellow card accumulation), Wyatt Omsberg (left foot)

Montreal

  • TBA

Next Up for Chicago

Wednesday, August 31 | at New England Revolution | Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA | 6:30 p.m. CT, WGN

Saturday, September 3 | at Columbus Crew | Lower.com Field, Columbus, OH | 6:30 p.m. CT, WGN

Saturday, September 10 | vs Inter Miami | SeatGeek Stadium, Bridgeview, IL |  7:00 p.m. CT, WGN

Tuesday, September 13 | at CF Montreal | Stade Saputo, Montreal, QC, Canada | 6:30 p.m. CT, WGN

Saturday, September 17 vs Charlotte FC | Soldier Field, Chicago | 7:00 p.m. CT, WGN

Saturday, October 1 at FC Cincinnati | TQL Stadium, Cincinnati, OH | 6:30 p.m. CT, WGN

Saturday, October 9 vs. New England Revolution | SeatGeek Stadium, Bridgeview | 1:30 p.m. CT, WGN

Prediction

The Fire are slight favorites according to PointsBet (+135 vs. +190, with +250 for a draw). With this one back on the Soldier Field turf, we say it ends 0-0. Bet the draw.

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