All things considered, the Chicago Fire are still playing some of their best soccer of the 2021 season. After sitting in last place in the MLS a month ago, the Fire have relied on recent scoring explosions (relatively speaking) and new formations to revitalize the team. Now, the Fire have moved up to 12th in the Eastern Conference with 12 points. Of course, that isn’t outstanding by any consideration, but Fire fans will take the positive momentum. Coming to town tonight is Toronto FC, one of the few teams below the Fire in the standings. The two sides face off tonight at 7:00 PM CT.
The Second City Soccer crew takes a look at everything you need to know for the upcoming match this weekend.
Chicago Fire: 3-3-8 (12 pts.); -9 GD; 12th in the Eastern Conference
- Earlier in June, the Chicago Fire were riding a nifty two-game winning streak with 3-0 and 3-1 wins over Atlanta United and Orlando City, respectively. Then, the fourth-place Nashville SC blew the Fire out by a score of 5-1. Still, in the Fire’s most recent match, they played ninth-place D.C. United to a 2-2 draw, even though it came with a blown 2-0 lead in the final minutes.
- Raphael Wicky will miss his third consecutive match while dealing with a family matter in Switzerland. Frank Klopas will lead the team again tonight.
Toronto FC: 2-4-8 (10 pts.); -13 GD; 13th in the Eastern Conference
- Toronto FC was second in the Eastern Conference in 2020 but have taken a significant tumble in 2021.
- After losing six straight, with a 7-1 loss to D.C. United as the cherry on top, Toronto fired Chris Armas as head coach. Since then, Toronto has not lost (1 win and 2 draws) in three games with Javier Perez taking the lead.
Players to Watch
Chicago Fire: Bobby Shuttleworth
Bobby Shuttleworth has gotten some recent shoutouts from teammates for his play in goal and leadership. Then, five goals sailed past him against Nashville and two last-minute goals got by him against D.C. United, stealing a win from the Fire and turning it into a draw. Against Toronto FC, Shuttleworth should have an opportunity to put together a solid match and even pick up a clean sheet. His 68.8% save success rate won’t wow anyone, but a great performance could help build his confidence back up.
Toronto FC: Alex Bono
Let’s just make it goalkeeper against goalkeeper as the players to watch. Neither of these teams is particularly known for their stellar defense or scoring prowess. As such, goalkeeper play can make or break this match. On the season, Bono has a 61% save percentage with one clean sheet. In three matches last season, though, Bono was a clear 17-for-17 in save opportunities, and he is just a few seasons removed from residing in the 72-74% range. Bono could also use an excellent performance to get back on track.
Both of these teams are hungry for a win, but it feels like the Fire should have an upper hand here. Their play has improved vastly since the start of the season, and they have the home field advantage against Toronto. Look for a 2-0 victory for the Fire tonight.
Again, tonight’s match takes place at 7:00 CT at Soldier Field in Chicago. You can watch on WGN-TV or on the Chicago Fire website if you are within the designated market area. Vamos Fire.