Nashville SC bounced back from their loss to Toronto FC with a 1-5 win over Inter Miami CF. They wrap up their road trip today with a trip to Soldier Field to take on Chicago Fire FC.
Chicago Fire FC
There isn’t much to say about this Chicago Fire FC team. They currently find themselves in 12th place and have lost their last four matches. Raphael Wicky’s team will be looking to break their losing streak and get revenge from their 5-1 thrashing by the Boys in Gold.
Raphael Wicky has continued to use a 3 man backline that will go between a 3-5-2 or 3-4-2-1 as the situation dictates. The 3-5-2 is what I expect to see against Nashville as the two strikers will look to drag Nashville’s centerbacks out of position.
In the attack, Robert Beric has struggled in his second season with only three goals and one assist compared to his 12 goals last season. Fortunately, Luka Stojanovic has seen an uptick in attacking output leading the team with seven goals. Limiting Stojanovic’s opportunities will go a long way to shutting down the Chicago Attack.
The Boys in Gold bounced back in a big way on Wednesday night as they put in a thrilling 5 goal performance against Inter Miami CF. They now head back on the road as they go up against a struggling Chicago Fire team.
With the results from tonight, Nashville has the opportunity to build a significant gap between themselves and the likes of NYCFC and Orlando City. A win against Chicago gives them an eight-point gap over third place and keeps them in the hunt for a CONCACAF Champions League spot.
Coach Gary Smith has been able to leverage the entirety of his squad over the past few weeks and with three games in the next 7 days, he will need to use all of the squad.
Hany Mukhtar and C.J. Sapong are both in fantastic form but they both have to put in a lot of minutes. The question is, when will Coach Smith choose to give either one or both a much-needed break? Ake Loba has still seen limited minutes and could be an option if either Sapong or Mukhtar are rested. Against Miami, we saw Randall Leal make his return to the starting lineup, even bagging a goal in that return. Against Chicago, I expect to see Leal retain his starting spot playing underneath the two forwards.
In the middle of the pitch, Dax McCarty and Aníbal Godoy were reunited from the start and allowed Nashville to dictate play. While McCarty just returned to the starting lineup I actually expect Brian Anunga to come in and give McCarty a rest.
At the back, we say Alistair Johnston return to the Right Wingback position as the inverted fullback experiment came to a close. We saw both the offensive and defensive qualities he brings to the position. Lovitz and Johnston will be supported by Dave Romney, Walker Zimmerman, and Jack Maher.
Score: Chicago 0 – 3 Nashville
Scorers: CJ Sapong, Randall Leal, Jack Maher
MOTM: Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction: Nashville have under 40% possession
Score: Chicago 0 – 1 Nashville
Scorers: CJ Sapong
MOTM: CJ Sapong
Bold Prediction: Nashville is out-possessed but manages more shots on target
Score: Chicago 1 – 3 Nashville
Scorers: CJ Sapong, Hany Mukhtar, Randall Leal
MOTM: Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction: Hany Mukhtar with a goal and two assists.
Score: Chicago 1 – 2 Nashville
Scorers: CJ Sapong, Daniel Ríos
MOTM: CJ Sapong
Bold Prediction: Nashville rescues a stoppage-time winner as things get stretched with both teams chasing a win.
Teams: Chicago Fire FC (12th) vs Nashville SC (2nd)
Power Rankings: Chicago Fire FC (24th) vs Nashville SC (4th)
Odds: Chicago (+175), Draw (+225), Nashville (+145) via BetMGM
Date: Sunday, September 26
Time: 12:00 PM central, Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois
TV: MyTV30, ESPN+ (out of Market)
Radio: 94.9 The Game 2 (English); El Jefe 96.7 (Spanish)
Forecast: 80°/65°. Mostly sunny. 0% chance of rain. 42% humidity