The regionalized MLS regular-season schedule continues this weekend as New York City FC hosts Chicago Fire with both teams coming off a mid-week win in the Eastern Conference. The game will take place at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey since NYCFC doesn’t have access to their usual home, Yankee Stadium, this summer. Kickoff is set for Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN+.
The Fire and NYCFC have 11 meetings in their history and the Fire have never won as the road team. Last year NYCFC won 1-0 at home and the teams drew 1-1 in the Chicago suburbs. In six games played in NY/NJ the Fire have zero wins, two draws and have been outscored 11-4.
Chicago Fire Outlook: Gain Momentum
The stands were empty but the Chicago Fire made an emphatic 15-year return to downtown Chicago with a 3-0 thumping of FC Cincinnati at Soldier Field on Tuesday night. Alvaro Medran and Ignacio Aliseda both scored their first career MLS goals in the win while Fabian Herbers added his first goal of 2020. The win ended a three-match losing streak for the Fire as Bobby Shuttleworth collected his first clean sheet since 2018.
The Fire moved into ninth place in the East with the win and they can potentially jump into the top six with a win at NYCFC. But last season the Fire had just two road wins all year with a -11 goal differential in 17 games outside Illinois.
Newcomer Robert Beric is the leading scorer on the season with two goals while five other players have one goal each. Shuttleworth was forced into action after Kenneth Kronholm tore his ACL in training earlier this month. Kronholm had started the first five games of the season, including all the games in the Orlando tournament, with eight goals allowed.
NYCFC Outlook: Small Steps
The Boys in Blue bounced back from a 1-0 loss to RBNY to grab a 1-0 win over first-place Columbus Crew Monday night at Red Bull Arena. The three points were desperately needed for the preseason Eastern Conference favorites as they slid up to 11th place in the standings. Alex Ring scored the only goal of the game in the 59th minute off a Crew bad backpass and Sean Johnson earned the clean sheet.
NYCFC has struggled to score this season after leading the East in goals in 2019. They have just three goals in seven-regular season games plus four tallies in the two knockout round games in Orlando. Jesus Medina leads the way with three total goals, two in Orlando. Ring, Ismael Tajouri-Shradi, Valentin Castellanos and Maxi Moralez have the other goals on the season.
Johnson has two clean sheets and two wins this season with 30 saves in seven regular-season starts. Of the teams with at least six games played this year, NYCFC is the lowest scoring team in MLS and their -4 goal differential is tied for third-worst in the league.
Chicago Fire at NYCFC Betting Lines By Scoresandstats
Chicago Fire to win: +514
NYCFC to win: -227
Over/Under: 2.5 goals (O -120, U EVEN)
This is a big chance for the Fire to kickstart their rebuild by picking up three points away from home, a rare occurrence the last few seasons. On paper NYCFC is the better squad but they just haven’t put things together on offense to inspire much confidence. The Fire haven’t earned a point on the road against the Boys in Blue since 2016 but this game has 0-0 or 1-0 written all over it.
Head to our favorite pay per head booke site at a1pph.com and take the Under 2.5 Goals (Even)