On Saturday, D.C. United will continue their three-game MLS road trip as they head to SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview, Illinois to take on the Chicago Fire. After losing last week to Atlanta United, the Black-and-Red dropped into the No. 3 spot in the Eastern Conference Standings. But they’ll be looking to reclaim the No. 2 spot with three points over this familiar foe. Here is everything you need to know about D.C. United’s latest opponent.
The Chicago Fire are 5-10-8 this season, sitting in the No. 10 spot in the Eastern Conference with just 23 points in 23 games. They started off the season in decent form, but their performance on the field has since declined. In their last five MLS matches, the Fire have just one win, one draw, and three losses. They definitely have a bit of a home-field advantage, with a 5-2-5 record at SeatGeek Stadium compared to a 0-8-3 record on the road. But against D.C. United, the Chicago Fire will be looking to earn just their second win since mid-May.
Players to Watch
The Chicago Fire are close to breaking even when it comes to goals scored and goals allowed, with a goal differential of -1. Their main attacking player is CJ Sapong, who joined the team this season in a transfer from the Philadelphia Union. Sapong leads the team with nine goals and two assists. He struggled in June but has done better in recent matches, scoring two goals in the team’s 5-1 win over Atlanta United and adding another tally in the team’s 2-2 draw against the Columbus Crew last week. Nicolas Gaitan is another player who has been performing well in the attack recently: he has four goals and eight assists this season, with two of those goals and three of those assists coming in the month of July.
Former D.C. United goalkeeper David Ousted started the season as the Chicago Fire’s man between the posts, but since May 25th, they have moved on to Kenneth Kronholm, who was acquired in May from 2. Bundesliga side Holstein Kiel. Kronholm has yet to earn a shutout this season, with a 1-5-4 record since taking over the starting position. The Fire have also moved former Manchester United and Bayern Munich star Bastian Schweinsteiger to the center back position, alongside Johan Kappelhof. But clearly something isn’t working there: the team hasn’t been able to keep a clean sheet in MLS since early May.
The Chicago Fire and D.C. United met at Audi Field earlier this season. Sapong opened the scoring early in that match, with Mihailovic adding another goal just two minutes later. The Black-and-Red went down 2-0, but they bounced back at the end of the first half with a goal from Segura. In the 61st minute, Segura added another goal, tying the game, and in the 81st minute, Acosta gave D.C. United the lead. But the victory was snatched from the Black-and-Red’s jaws at the last moment, with a goal from Calvo for the Chicago Fire. The game ended in a 3-3 draw.