Chicago Fire pulled off a miraculous turnaround last season as they ended their stint as the MLS bottom dwellers and finished 3rd in the Eastern Conference, and whilst they aren’t quite putting in the same level of performances it’s still a much better situation than they were in a couple of years ago.
Midweek saw them fall to a disappointing, if not entirely unexpected defeat away to Philadelphia Union, a result which makes it two wins and three defeats in their last five MLS outings. This leaves them outside the playoff zone in 8th position, but they are only five points off the top six and have plenty of talent in their squad.
San Jose Earthquakes aren’t looking forward with quite the same level of optimism as their opponents. They lost away to the out of form LA Galaxy last weekend and have won just two league games all season. One of those came on the opening weekend as well, leaving them with one win, three draws, and eight defeats from their last 11 outings in the MLS.
Unsurprisingly, this puts them on the back foot in the race for the playoffs. Obviously there is still plenty of football to be played, but after just 12 games they find themselves 10th in the Western Conference and nine points adrift of that all important top six.
Away from home it’s a similar story for the Earthquakes. They have won one of their seven trips away this year, losing four times in the process. That recent defeat to LA Galaxy, a side who have one of the worst recent home records in the MLS, will have hurt them badly as well.
Chicago Fire certainly aren’t in the greatest of form, but they will fancy their chances this weekend. Their opponents aren’t only in poor form, but with Anibal Godoy and Harold Cummings both called up to the Panama squad for the World Cup they are without two of their most influential players. Cummings has only missed two games in the back line this season and Godoy has played every minute in the centre of midfield.
This all makes a Chicago Fire win look like a good value offering, so that’s what we’re going for this weekend along with a 2-1 correct score predictions.
Chicago Fire Predicted Lineup: McLain, Kappelhof, Elis, Campbell, Johnson, Corrales, Schweinsteiger, Adams, Katai, Campos, Nikolic
San Jose Earthquakes Predicted Lineup: Tarbell, Lima, Ockford, Jungwirth, Salinas, Yueill, Amarikwa, Eriksson, Qazaishvili, Hoesen, Wondolowski
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Chicago Fire and San Jose Earthquakes have each won three, drawn one, and lost three of their last seven encounters with one another. Chicago Fire have won their last two home games against the Earthquakes too.
Defender Matt Polster, midfielders Jon Bakero and Djordje Mihailovic, and attackers Michael de Leeuw and Elliot Collier are out injured. Defender Luis Solignac returned from injury in midweek and could be fit enough to start, whilst Dax McCarty and Nemanja Nikolic are both hoping to shake off injuries.
Defender Yeferson Quintana and midifelder Eric Calvillo are both doubts for the visitors, whilst midfielder Jahmir Hyka is definitely out. Panama duo Harold Cummings and Anibal Godoy have both been called up to their World Cup squad too.