Returning from break, we look at the MLS schedule for the Chicago Fire
Despite a new head coach in Ezra Hendrickson and high-priced additions in Xherdan Shaqiri and Kacper Przybylko, the Chicago Fire find themselves at risk of allowing this season to slip away. They currently sit in last place in the Eastern Conference with a league-worst 11 points.
Though the Fire have played long stretches like a much better club than the standings reflect, Chicago hasn’t been able to stay out of their own way, seemingly inventing new ways to blow results in the final minutes. There must be a sense of urgency coming out of the international break, which hopefully allowed the club to reset and refresh, if they’re going to make the MLS Playoffs.
Upcoming Chicago Fire schedule
It starts this Saturday, June 18 as the Fire host D.C. United at 7:00pm. Chicago went on the road to Washington on March 12, earning a 2-0 victory in frigid conditions for their first win of the season. After consecutive 0-0 draws against Inter Miami and Orlando City to open the 2022 campaign, Stanislav Ivanov scored the club’s first goal of the season in the 32nd minute. Jonathan Bornstein was subbed on in the 71st minute and scored a goal 10 minutes later, sealing the result for the Fire.
D.C. United sits just one spot above Chicago in the Eastern Conference standings and represents a winnable game for the Fire. D.C. United has not won a match since a May 7 home contest against the Houston Dynamo, who Chicago will play on June 25.
Houston is currently in 7th place in the Western Conference with 18 points and an even goal differential (17 scored, 17 allowed). FiveThirtyEight projects just a 13% probability that Houston makes the postseason, even lower than the Fire’s current mark of 16%.
They dropped a 3-0 match at Real Salt Lake on May 28, their final MLS appearance before the international break. Paraguayan Designated Player Sebastian Ferriera has had a succesful transition to MLS, notching give goals and three assists in 12 matches. That said, this is another contest in which Chicago should be able to find at least one point.
The Fire will return to Soldier Field to close out the month of June, hosting Philadelphia Union for a 7:00pm kickoff on the 29th. Philadelphia will provide quite the challenge for Chicago as one of the stingiest defenses in MLS, allowing a league-low 10 goals through 14 matches.
Philadelphia is just one point behind NYCFC for the top spot in the Eastern Conference standings. They played a 1-1 draw at New England in their final match before the international break and will host FC Cincinnati this Saturday.
Postseason hopes are slim for Chicago Fire
Although the odds of making the postseason are currently slim, the Fire can completely change the outlook of their season with a strong month of June. Seven points in these three matches is not unrealistic and, at this point, is probably necessary. Due to the slow start to the season, each match from this point will take on increased significance as Chicago attempts to get back into the postseason picture.
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