After a long international break, D.C. United is back in MLS action on Saturday when they visit Solider Field to take on the Chicago Fire

The Black-and-Red are eager to make their return to the pitch and begin climbing the table with a third of the season under their belts. 

The two teams met for the first time this season in March at Audi Field. While the matchup will feel familiar, the conditions and context surrounding it will be much different. The home leg culminated in a 2-0 defeat in what proved to be one of the rainiest, coldest nights of the year in the Capital. Now, with the summer heat starting to take hold in Chicago, they’ll face each other once more, on the national stage, with some slight but impactful changes to their rosters. 

As Major League Soccer celebrates its unity and diversity on Juneteenth weekend, D.C.United and Chicago Fire FC take the field at 8:00p.m ET, with live coverage on MLS Twitter, TUDN, and UniMás. 

Scouting Report  

Chicago added Swiss star, Xherdan Shaqiri, just before the start of the 2022 season. The 2-time Champions League winner was expected to be a dominant force in MLS, but so far has failed to produce for Chicago. 

Chicago has scored a league-low 13 goals this season with their last win coming in March against Sporting Kansas City. Since then, they haven’t seen the win column in 10 consecutive matches, one match shy of the longest drought in club history. In their final outing before the international break, they fell 3-2 to Toronto despite leading in the second half. Putting the result aside, it was one of the better offensive performances from the Fire. For Kacper Przybylko, the feeling of hitting the back of the net should instill some confidence as he gears up to face one of the teams he’s scored on the most during his MLS career. 

D.C. will have his number circled heading into Saturday but on the opposite end of the pitch, the Chicago Fire backline will have its hands full with a new threat and reinvigorated D.C. United offense.  

In that first match with the Fire, D.C. United were without their new DP forward, Taxiarchis Fountas. The Greek international arrived to the club in April and emerged as one of the most impactful signings in MLS this season

He and Norwegian striker, Ola Kamara, have become a dangerous duo. Together, they combined for 11 goals in the first twelve matches of the season. The pair ranks first (Fountas) and second (Kamara) in goals per 90 minutes in MLS this season. They’ll look to find their form again against a struggling Chicago defense. 

Last Time Out 

D.C. United was left with a bad taste in their mouths heading into the international break after falling 4-1 to rival New York Red Bulls.  

During his pre-match press conference on Thursday, defender Brad Smith told reporters that going into the break after a defeat is difficult, but with most of the team staying in D.C., it allowed them to switch gears and turn their focus to putting together a more comprehensive performance in Chicago.  

With every setback, there is added motivation to make things right at the next opportunity. D.C. United has had to wait over three weeks for that next opportunity, but head coach Chad Ashton said on Thursday that the time away yields two major benefits – time to decompress and added motivation. “In the long haul I hope [the Red Bulls defeat] is a very motivating factor for us moving forward… It’s difficult to wait for the next game that long, so the guys are hungry to get back on the field.” 

Saturday will be about replacing that bad taste with the taste of a momentous performance capped off by 3 points. 

Celebrating Juneteenth 

This weekend D.C. United and Major League Soccer will take time to learn, reflect, and give back as the Nation commemorates Juneteenth. While we celebrate the emancipation of enslaved African Americans, we also acknowledge that the historical struggle out of which the holiday was born, is ongoing today.  

Judah Middleton’s Juneteenth – inspire numbers will adorn the backs of every player in the league. Packaged in commemorative boxes that feature Langston Hughes’s poignant poem “Freedom,” the match worn jerseys will be auctioned off, with all proceeds going to organizations supporting and uplifting Black communities in the markets of MLS clubs. D.C. United native and Black Players for Change member, Bill Hamid, selected Serve Your City/Ward 6 Mutual Aid as the beneficiary of D.C. United’s jersey auction.

Next Home Match 

After Chicago, the Black-and-Red return to Audi Field to take on Nashville SC, Saturday, June 25th at 5:00p.m ET.