The Chicago Fire will take the field for their second of six preseason friendly matches when they take on the Philadelphia Union at the IMG Academy on Thursday afternoon (Feb. 9, 12 pm CT | STREAM).
Note: Viewers must register for a FREE account on IMGAcademyTV.com to watch the stream.
Today's starting lineup (4-4-1-1): Jorge Bava; Michael Harrington, Johan Kappelhof, Joao Meira, Patrick Doody; Arturo Alvarez, Juninho, Dax McCarty, David Accam; Nemanja Nikolic, Michael de Leeuw.
Head coach Veljko Paunovic's side returns to action after a 1-0 victory against Florida Gulf Coast University on Saturday. Forward Nemanja Nikolic's first half finish of a Luis Solignac play into the box made the difference, as the Men In Red unofficially began their 2017 campaign with a win.
Highlights | Chicago Fire 1:0 Florida Gulf Coast
While Thursday's match represents Fire fans' latest opportunity to get a look at some of the club's offseason acquisitions, there figures to be a hefty amount of attention given to midfielder Dax McCarty's inclusion in the lineup. McCarty just arrived in preseason camp on Tuesday after nearly a month training with the U.S. Men's National Team in California, which included a 63-minute stint in the team's 1-0 friendly win against Jamaica last Friday. Whether he sees his first action in a Fire shirt on Thursday remains to be seen.
The match will additionally present Paunovic and co. with their first taste of MLS competition this season against a Union side that's coming off a 1-1 closed door scrimmage with D.C. United on Saturday. They'll be taking another look at a stable of new faces added in the last five weeks, which includes former U.S. Men's National Team defender Oguchi Onyewu, current USMNT pool player Fafa Picault and a trio of internationals in defender Giliano Wijnaldum (formerly of VfL Bochum), midfielder Haris Medunjanin (Maccabi Tel Aviv) and forward Jay Simpson (Leyton Orient).
These sides met three times in 2016, as Paunovic clipped two wins from the team he spent a year with as a player in 2011, which included his first win as head coach of the Fire back in early April at Toyota Park. For what it's worth, Chicago and Philadelphia met in last year's preseason as well, a match that resulted in a 4-2 Fire victory.
More from the 2017 Chicago Fire Preseason:
- Updated Chicago Fire training camp roster
- IsoCam | Follow Nemanja Nikolic through Chicago Fire training
- Watch | David Accam checks in from Chicago Fire preseason training
- Read | McCarty talks camp and culture after first Fire training session
- Read | VAR to be tested during Chicago Fire preseason matches