With two unexpected results under their belt, Chicago Fire are looking for a rotating ball as they host Orlando City for the final game of their four-game stadium. But that can be a big test. Their two former rivals are separated by absence, while Orlando comes up with a mistake that works well with one of the best defenses. But even they are responsible for injuries and absence. Let’s see who is available.
Unexpectedly, the players called up for the CONCACAF Gold Cup are already leaving their clubs. This means that for the Chicago Fire, Francisco Calvo will not be available during the tournament. Orlando City will miss Daryl Dike from the Gold Cup and will still miss Pedro Gallese who led Peru to the Copa America semi-finals. They recently defeated Paraguay, who are expected to send Gaston Gimenez back to Chicago. In terms of actual injuries, Carlos Teran would still be injured by Fire and Orlando is still dealing with injuries to Joao Moutinho and the recent signing of Alexandre Pato.
Here are three things to look for in this game:
Inside or outside?
The obvious question when it comes to mid-week game and short breaks is: who stays and who goes? The question is asked quite differently for each team. The Chicago Fire, who just took a brilliant victory, will want to keep their team straight; but Orlando City have just fallen from a three-match victory and lost at home to the New York Red Bulls.
At this point, I don’t think they will change their appearance much in this. True, the Chicago Fire looked much better without Gaston Gimenez on the pitch, so it’s hard to discuss his return in the starting XI. And on the big day of Ignacio Aliseda along with Fabian Herbers and Alvaro Medran, they must remain united. And for Orlando, they already had a good team. They just ran to the guard who had a good evening.
It’s a Blitz!
My favorite thing to look at when it comes to a profitable team or not is the action areas. Basically, how much time does the ball spend in each of the three areas of the stadium? One of the biggest issues I mentioned with the Chicago Fire is that when the ball is nearing its end, things fall apart almost immediately. That’s why I insisted that Fire just push the ball to the other side and I hope to win there. Simply put, it’s just a lot of pressure. You can visualize data through action areas, temperature maps and by following defensive actions.
Surprisingly, the Fire had worked hard to crush their opponents and put them in a bad end. The only team that Fire struggled with was the Philadelphia Union, but I can’t stress enough how this game counts any analysis. But it is defensive measures in the last third that show that the Fire was pushing harder against Atlanta than any other team.
Winning the ball in the last third gives you the greatest chance of resistance that leads to the goal. Aliseda took this opportunity in the final game and I hope others in the attack will do the same against Orlando.
Something here that has never existed before
I can talk about things that seem all day long, but the most important thing for the Chicago Fire right now is that they finally feel good. What we saw last season is that the Fire under coach Raphael Wicky is a very loose team. When they get hot they become very hot and when they are cold they are kept. The important thing is speed and while last season was a huge success, none of them seemed like those three goals against Atlanta.
This is the first opportunity for many players on this team to finally feel comfortable in Chicago. Last weekend it was Aliseda who showed that he feels at home and it could be an opportunity for more players to finally open up and start playing at the level they are supposed to play. Orlando will be a big test, but there is hope now. Something clicked.
Now we are waiting to see if this change is real or if it was just a good day.
XI is estimated
Chicago Fire (5-3-2-1): Bobby Shuttleworth; Miguel Navarro, Johan Kappelhof, Mauricio Pineda, Wyatt Omsberg, Boris Sekulic; Alvaro Medran, Fabian Herbers; Ignacio Aliseda, Przemyslaw Frankowski; Robert Beric
City of Orlando (4-2-3-1): Brandon Austin; Rodrigo Schlegel, Antonio Carlos, Robin Jansson, Kyle Smith; Junior Urso, Andres Perea; Nani, Mauricio Pereyra,