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Sporting KC v Chicago Fire: Preview, Predictions, Stats, Injuries, Suspensions and Roster Changes

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Can Sporting string together a second win?

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MLS: Chicago Fire at Sporting Kansas City Peter G. Aiken

Sporting KC v Chicago Fire

When: Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 7:30 PM CT

Where: Children’s Mercy Park

How to Watch/Stream: Fox Sports Kansas City | Fox Sports Midwest | ESPN+ (out of market) | fuboTV (local)
How to Listen: Sports Radio 810 WHB | La Grande 1340 AM (Spanish)

Finally! Sporting Kansas City have pulled off a victory! That’s a bit dramatic as they had only lost two straight between wins but this is just the second win in the last eight games. And it’s as Sporting enter an “easier” stretch of their schedule with upcoming games against Chicago (x2), Nashville SC, FC Dallas and the Colorado Rapids (though despite those team’s records, I bet it’s anything but easy). This will be a test to see if Sporting have turned a corner with their recent win.

They’ll have to do it without Alan Pulido though as he has been confirmed to be heading out on international duty and he will miss several games between the two friendlies and then the subsequent quarantine once he returns. The question becomes, who will step up in his place. Johnny Russell appeared to injure his knee and attempt to play through it against the Houston Dynamo but he ultimately was subbed off. Plus, it’s short rest from here out for basically all the teams in MLS.

Wednesday will see the Chicago Fire come to town on the heels of an awkward draw with the Montreal Impact. Before that game though, Chicago had won back-to-back games against the Dynamo and Atlanta United winning by a combined 6-0 score line. That’s eight goals scored in their last three outings. Essentially, Chicago has played pretty good against bad teams and pretty bad against good teams. It’s not clear which of those categories that KC falls into, but they definitely have a somewhat suspect defense.

Interesting Stats

  • Sporting are 5-0-2 against Chicago in Kansas City over the last seven meetings.
  • Additionally, Sporting are a perfect 3-0-0 in the last three meetings with Chicago.
  • Chicago have only scored 20 goals for the entire season (15 games), of which eight came in the last three games.

What’s Changed for Chicago Since 2019?

Lots! They have a new coach — Raphael Wicky — joining from Swiss giant FC Basel. But it doesn’t stop at the coach. They have a new (but old) stadium in Soldier Field and they went through a poorly received rebrand where they dropped the fire department logo (one of the coolest, most unique logos in sports).

OUT: The big moves are Designated Players Bastian Schweinsteiger (retired) and Nicolas Gaitan (option declined). Additionally they dealt Dax McCarty to Nashville SC, traded Grant Lillard to Inter Miami and sent Raheem Edwards to Minnesota United. They also declined options on numerous other players including Aleksander Katai and backup goalkeeper Richard Sanchez, who is now with SKC.

IN: Chicago have reshaped their team with lots of new additions. The biggest may be striker Robert Beric via transfer from Saint-Etienne (France). He leads the team in goals with seven, which is what you want from your striker. The team has also made six other transfers from around the world: Miguel Angel Navarro from Deportivo La Guaira (Venezuela), Boris Sekulic from Gornik Zabrze (Poland), Ignacio Aliseda from Defensa y Justicia (Argentina), Luka Stojanovic from FK Cukaricki (Serbia), Gaston Gimenez from Velez Sarsfield (Argentina) and Carlos Teran from Envigado FC (Columbia).

In addition, Chicago have added seven new Homegrown signings and a few other pieces to fill some gaps. It strikes me as throwing a lot of stuff at the wall to see what fits, but clearly the team was very bad for a long time, so a rebuild seems necessary.

Injuries*

Sporting KC

OUT - Felipe Gutierrez (knee surgery), Luis Martins (unknown), Matt Besler (hamstring)

QUESTIONABLE - Richard Sanchez (unknown), Johnny Russell (knee)

*This will be updated throughout the week. The first update is with Thad’s tweet below.

Chicago

OUT - Kenneth Kronholm (Torn ACL), Luka Stojanovic (MCL Surgery), Jeremiah Gutjahr (knee injury)

QUESTIONABLE - Przemyslaw Frankowski (unknown)

Suspensions

Sporting KC - None

  • Suspended Next Yellow: None
  • Suspended with Two More Yellows: Ilie Sanchez, Alan Pulido

Chicago - None

  • Suspended Next Yellow: Francisco Calvo

Stats

Sporting KC

GOALS: Johnny Russell (6), Alan Pulido (5), Gadi Kinda, Khiry Shelton (4) Erik Hurtado (2), Roger Espinoza, Graham Zusi, Gerso Fernandes, Gianluca Busio (1)

ASSISTS: Pulido (4), Gerso, Busio (3), Luis Martins, Kinda (2), Roberto Puncec, Johnny Russell, Shelton, Jaylin Lindsey, Felipe Hernandez, Zusi, Espinoza (1)

Chicago

GOALS: Robert Beric (7), Fabian Herbers (4), Alvaro Medran, Mauricio Pineda (2), five with one (1)

ASSISTS: Djordje Mihalovic, Medran (4), Gaston Gimenez (3), Ignacio Aliseda (2), eight with one (1)

Form

Sporting KC - L / W / L / L / W (6 points)

Chicago - D / L / W / W / D (8 points)

Starting XI Predictions

Update: I made some (possibly ridiculous at times) predictions on a Starting XI.

Score Predictions

Despite the draw against Montreal this past weekend, Chicago have been playing pretty good. Eight goals in three games is nothing to sneeze at, though their competition was less than stiff. Then again, Houston was one of those teams and Chicago won 4-0 while Sporting KC squeaked by 2-1. And that was with Alan Pulido, who won’t be around.

The one thing potentially playing in Sporting’s favor is this is a home game. Sure, it doesn’t mean the same thing as it has in prior years but Chicago is struggling on the road. As in, they’ve yet to win a single road game. Same day travel isn’t working for them, but a flight from Chicago to KC is one of the shortest they’ll make all year.

No Pulido, short rest and a gimpy Johnny Russell doesn’t have me very confident. Prove me wrong Sporting KC!

1-1 Draw

What do you think? Predictions in the comments are welcome. Let’s chat about it.

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