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Chicago Fire vs. Atlanta United FC | 2018 MLS Match Preview

Chicago Fire vs. Atlanta United FC
2018 MLS Regular Season - Week 10
Toyota Park — Bridgeview
May 5 - 8:30 pm ET
WATCH: TSN 1/3/4/5, ESPN+

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The Chicago Fire won at Red Bull Arena and rallied for a 2-2 tie at BMO Field against Toronto FC. Now comes the ultimate test as they take on a red-hot Atlanta United team that is unbeaten in seven straight.

The Five Stripes also rallied in Week 9, from an early deficit, to score four unanswered goals in a 4-1 win over the Montreal Impact Saturday afternoon.

This will be the third league meeting between the two clubs. The home team won both matches last season – a 4-0 win for Atlanta and a 2-0 win for Chicago, per Opta.

Chicago Fire   

It didn’t start out the way they wanted as Chicago (2-3-2) fell in a two-goal hole early in the first half. But the Fire rallied late — very late — with Alan Gordon scoring the dramatic equalizer deep into second-half stoppage time after Bastian Schweinsteiger pulled the visitors within a goal in the 69th minute.

That means Chicago, which opened the season with consecutive losses, have earned points in four of their last five games and secured four points from a pair of road games at two of the league’s toughest venues for visitors.

“We have a great opponent in Atlanta, it’s one of the best teams and another hard week for us, hard challenge and test for this group,” Fire coach Veljko Paunovic said after the match. “But this group is growing, this group is getting better, it’s building getting points and good results and capable of playing two away games against two very difficult [teams].”

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: M - Djordje Mihailovic (right ACL surgery), F - Michael de Leeuw (left ACL surgery), D - Matt Polster (MCL sprain), F - Luis Solignac (left quad), M - Jon Bakero (right ankle), GK - Stefan Cleveland (lower back pain); QUESTIONABLE: M - Drew Connor (right gastric injury), D - Rafael Ramos (left ankle)

Projected Starting XI
(5-3-2, right to left)
GK: Richard Sanchez — Kevin Ellis, Johan Kappelhof, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Grant Lillard, Brandon Vincent — Aleksandar Katai, Dax McCarty, Mohammed Adams — Nemanja Nikolic, Elliott Collier

  • Notes: Nemanja Nikolic is one of four players this season with 5+ goals and a shot conversion rate of at least 27 percent (Nikolic enters this weekend with five goals and a shot conversion rate of 31.3 percent). … The Fire have lost just one of their last five matches (2W-2D). However, they have won just once in their last four games at Toyota Park (2L-1D).

Atlanta United

Miguel Almiron might be one of the best players in MLS, but he’s not the best taker of free kicks on his own team. That honor goes to Kevin Kratz, who struck for a pair of golazos in the second half and Almiron struck twice as Atlanta United (6-1-1) rallied from an early 1-0 deficit to cruise to a 4-1 win over the Montreal Impact Saturday afternoon.

Almiron was named to the MLS Team of the Week presented by Audi for Week 9 and was voted the Alcatel MLS Player of the Week by the North American Soccer Reporters (NASR).

“It was a difficult game against a difficult opponent,” said Almiron. "They complicated things for us in the first half with a quick goal. They really closed down things for us in the first half. It was difficult for us to break through, but luckily in the second half, we were able to do it.”

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: D - Chris McCann
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: D - Jose Hernandez (quad strain), GK - Mitch Hildebrandt (left knee sprain), GK - Alec Kann (left knee)

Projected Starting XI
(3-4-1-2, right to left)
GK: Brad Guzan — Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, Michael Parkhurst, Chris McCann — Julian Gressel, Darlington Nagbe, Jeff Larentowicz, Greg Garza — Miguel Almiron — Ezequiel Barco, Josef Martinez

  • Notes: Almirón and Josef Martinez are tied for the league lead with six goals apiece. They are also first and second in expected goals (7.8 and 7.1, respectively). No other player has a xG of more than 5.5. … Since starting the season with a 4-0 loss at Houston, Atlanta is unbeaten in seven matches (6W-1D), outscoring foes 21-5 and scoring multiple goals in six of the seven games.

All-Time Series

  • Overall: Chicago Fire 1 win, 2 goals … Atlanta United 1 win, 4 goals … 0 ties
  • At Chicago: Fire 1 win, 2 goals … Atlanta United 0 wins, 0 goals … 0 ties
  • Last meeting at Chicago: Chicago Fire 2, Atlanta United 0 (June 10, 2017)

Officials

Referee: Drew Fischer
Assistant Referees: Apolinar Mariscal, Chris Wattam
4th Official: Rubiel Vazquez
VAR: Younes Marrakchi

Read More

Previous Meetings

Current Form

Chicago
L
D
W
L
W
D
Atlanta
W
W
W
D
W
W

Season Stats

Chicago FireAtlanta United FC
7Games Played8
2Wins6
3Losses1
2Draws1
11Goals21
12Goals Conceded9
53Shots95
30Shots on Target38
79Fouls committed88
64Fouls suffered85
23Offside18
38Corners35

Goals Scored

01234+TotalAvg
CHI12310111.6
ATL11213212.6
01234+Avg
CHI111101.5
ATL001133.6
01234+Avg
CHI012001.7
ATL111001

Goals Conceded

01234+TotalAvg
CHI12301121.7
ATL3310191.1
01234+Avg
CHI111011.8
ATL131001
01234+Avg
CHI012001.7
ATL200011.3
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